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Joining the insane social sports-betting crowd, Bunker Mode debuts its High Limit Sports app (exclusive)

Bunker Mode has launched its first mobile social sports-betting app, High Limit Sports. It is one more entrant in what has become a very crowded market.

In doing so, it is joining a raft of sports-betting companies that have debuted in the past month for the fall sports season. The app is aimed at simplifying sports betting for those who enjoy wagering without the risk of losing real money. The app is available now on iOS (Apple’s iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone) and will be out soon on Android.

Sports-betting games are taking off because there are huge numbers of fans who bet on sports now but don’t really have the ability to view their bets in real time on a “second screen” mobile device. Much like social casino games, social sports-betting games are taking off because social networks make it easier to bring together friends who want to make bets.

high limit sports 2The app is the first title from Bunker Mode, a San Francisco developer founded in January by game veterans Greg Dirrenberger, Jason Bredice, and Matt Pangborn. They want to remove the confusion, intimidation, and technical nature of betting in real-world sports books. It’s designed for people who want to join in on the office pool for “March Madness” as well as those who are pros.

“Our goal with High Limit Sports was to turn sports betting into a game, removing the complexity of the sports-book experience and replacing it with entertaining features that reward people for playing often,” said Dirrenberger, the cofounder and head of Bunker Mode’s studio. “We’ve created a mobile game that connects fans with their favorite team in an even deeper way while providing a great second-screen experience for tracking live sporting events.”

The game is a free-to-play mobile title that supports NFL, CFL, and NCAA football. More sports will be added later, starting with NBA preseason games.

Dirrenberger led mobile game development at Crowdstar, working on titles like Top Girl and Social Girl before leaving to cofound Bunker Mode. The company has 10 employees, and it competes with rivals such as Zynga, 888.com, PrePlay, ESPN, Bwin, Yahoo, and IGT. Among the start-ups that have debuted in the past month or so are RocketPlay, OHK Labs (SportsPicker Challenge), Pickmoto, Fanhood, Bragstr, and BetHubb.

Sean Ryan, the director of game partnerships at Facebook, recently concurred with us in an interview with GamesBeat that “sports fantasy apps are certainly an area that was underrepresented” on Facebook. Now more of the games are coming out in part because the social casino game market is already flooded with more than 100 games.

“We may be the 10th to come out this month, but the platform we are building will be a lot different,” Pangborn told GamesBeat. “We believe this is an underserved demographic, and we will be true to the casual sports game segment.”

He added that the company has its own proprietary technology and will have a unique approach to getting accurate data.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funds from investors including Alex Tai, who is a well-known competitive pilot. Dirrenberger and Bredice previously founded Alamo Squared in 2008 to make mobile games. Pangborn has experience in the real-money gambling business. While real-money gambling may be an option in the future, the team feels that the casual non-real-money sports-betting business is a big market unto itself.  The company may raise a round of funding early next year.


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