How fast can you build a betting company and develop a compliant product in a heavily regulated market?
The Nice Little Betting Company is a new betting company that was founded in 2021. TNLBC is very different from traditional betting companies, as it has no hidden agenda to make you spend more than you can afford or to attract unhealthy gambling behavior. Their products are exciting but sustainable for their customers.
Building a startup is always a tricky task, but starting a betting company with a small team is even harder. The gambling industry is heavily regulated and there are many important and necessary procedures that have to be in place before you're allowed to let your customers play.
We knew that one of the biggest challenges we would face would be the compliance issues. Starting a new gambling company and building all the tech needed to be compliant with Swedish gambling laws is an enormous task. We got introduced to Serialized and already after the first meeting we immediately saw a great fit for what we set out to build.
We had an early version of the backend build after just a couple of weeks, and we could continue to add features, both for the app and for our backoffice. We’re really happy with what Serialized provides.
What is Sidekick?
SideKick is a new way to experience football. Players receive nine questions during each half and the players with the most correct answers wins the total pot. The buy-in for a game is set to a fixed amount of 50 SEK. There is no way to increase your chance of winning by putting in more money. Sustainable and fun gambling!
The TNLBC team had the challenge of delivering a compliant gambling platform and a mobile app within a short timeframe and a limited budget.
The development team wanted to build a thin and serverless API to make it more cost-effective and easier to scale. The team saw Serialized as a great match since it provides the need for the core questions originally raised by the tech team:
- Tracking everything to be compliant with regulatory requirements.
- Simplify integration with third-party providers such as Swish and BankID.
- Provide a platform for building a mobile app driven by business events.
- Enable reporting and post-processing of events.
Event sourcing and tracking
Any gambling company is required to keep track of all monetary transactions. Additionally, there are many legal requirements related to the player's behavior to consider. Changing deposit and session duration limits as well as gambling activity must all be recorded to help players avoid unhealthy behavior and provide required data to the authorities.
An important requirement for the TNBLC stakeholders was to use safe and well-established standards for user authentication and payments. In Sweden, BankID is the standard e-identification system for serious apps requiring personal information and Swish provides a simple, safe mechanism for Swedes to make payments using their phone.
Both BankID and Swish integration required the team to develop a webhook API. To connect the SideKick mobile app with these providers, the payments and login processes were tracked using Serialized Aggregates. This provided the team with good insight into both interesting KPIs over payments- and login-related data as well as error tracking for failed callbacks from the providers.
Driven by events
The decision to use Aggregates and Events to store all player and backoffice actions led to a number of benefits. The team could easily and iteratively build a query-API for the mobile app using Projections based on what events were stored in the backend. Some examples of views in the app that the team developed using projections:
- Displaying a newly published game on the main screen.
- Displaying new questions to players at virtually the exact same time.
- Developing the player's game and transaction history screen.
To better drive player retention and growth, the team recently added push notifications to SideKick. The implementation uses Firebase which is triggered by Serialized Reactions which provide the support for scheduling and triggering of what should be sent, at what time and to which users.
Summary and timeline
The development of the SideKick mobile app and the TNLBC backend APIs, including backoffice tools for administrators, started during the summer of 2021.
All the necessary third-party integrations were completed before the end of 2021. In early 2022 Spelinspektionen issued a license for commercial gambling and in March 2022 the first contest was played and a lucky winner won the pot!
The successful launch of TNLBC and SideKick is a great example of using Serialized to build a modern scalable product in a highly regulated domain.