Ahead Of MA Launch, Betr Signs Cavinder Twins — Who Have Huge Under-21 Following
Ahead of its Massachusetts launch, Betr is hoping to cash in on the popularity of Haley and Hanna Cavinder. The micro-betting platform has signed an exclusive media partnership with the twins.
However, the Cavinders have a fanbase of millions that includes a large swath of youth under the legal betting age in Massachusetts. So, the Betr deal may raise some eyebrows among advocates of gambling protections for persons under 21. The former Miami basketball players are 22.
Six MA online sports betting apps have launched, while Betr is aiming to launch some time this month.
The reach of the Cavinders
The Cavinder twins finished their college basketball careers this season after the Miami Hurricanes reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The 5-foot-6 guards from Gilbert, Arizona, only played one season for the Hurricanes after transferring from Fresno State.
They spent three seasons with Fresno State, and while there, began building a massive social media presence with brand deals from companies such as Boost Mobile, Crocs, Venmo and even WWE.
Transferring to Miami provided the sisters with a larger stage and more money. In fact, during their college basketball careers, Haley and Hanna Cavinder ranked among the top 10 highest-earning NCAA athletes with over $2 million in NIL deals.
Lots of followers under 21
On TikTok, the sisters have 4.4 million followers and hundreds of thousands more on their joint and individual Instagram and Twitter accounts. The largest group of US-based TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 19, at 32%.
A glance at the comment sections of the twins’ social media accounts gives the impression that many of their followers are young men in the demographic responsible gambling initiatives want to protect.
Shortly after the NCAA Tournament ended, the Cavinders announced they would not be returning to Miami.
Given their social media footprint, it’s no surprise that a sports betting company like Betr would be among the brands in line to seal a deal with the sisters. Betr co-founder Jake Paul, a YouTube star and celebrity boxer, is a social media sensation himself, and the company boasts about its reach on its social channels.
“Betr gives us the ability to accelerate the growth of the Cavinder Twins brand in a focused and truly authentic manner,” Haley and Hanna said in a press release about the partnership. “We love sports, thrive on competition, and enjoy creating and bringing ideas to life. Betr truly makes The Cavinder Twins and our brand that much better and bigger.”
Betr and Massachusetts
As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission hammered out regulations for sports betting before online wagering went live in March, it became clear that preventing underage gambling was among the commission’s top priorities.
It led to the MGC investigating the practices of Barstool Sportsbook, to ensure the operator was not actively promoting betting to those under 21. Eventually, the MGC approved Barstool’s license application.
Betr has also been in the commission’s crosshairs. The operator is among the 10 online sportsbooks the MGC granted a license. However, the sportsbook has yet to launch in the state.
In January, the MGC put Paul on the hot seat and voiced concerns about the operator’s interactions with underage gamblers and having an athlete as the face of the platform. While one commissioner, Jordan Maynard, suggested that the intense questioning of Paul may have gone too far, his colleague, Eileen O’Brien, disagreed.
A former lawyer with the criminal bureau at the Massachusetts Attorney General, O’Brien retorted: “I don’t think I went too far, and I don’t think anyone on this commission went too far. Suitability is a serious issue. I’ve been here five years, and I know these can be very uncomfortable situations, and I laud everyone who candidly answers the questions.”
Concerns over young audience demographic
Betr is the only sportsbook that didn’t receive unanimous approval from the five-member MGC, with O’Brien casting the dissenting vote. The self-described “naysayer” of Betr didn’t hold back in her criticism.
“I have concerns about the demographic and tying of a sports celebrity to a group that is in that vulnerable age group,” she said. “I wish we were seeing this applicant a little later on down the road. And so for those reasons I’m ‘nay.’”
MGC regulations prevent operators from advertising on any media, including social media outlets, that target minors. In addition, operators cannot place ads at events where more than 75% of the attendees are under 21.
In the meantime, Betr continues its preparations to launch some time this month. The platform went live in Ohio in mid-January.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 1-800-327-5050 or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling to speak with a trained specialist for free, 24/7