LuDawgs is definitely not your standard fantasy sports site. It is a discussion forum for fantasy players and gamblers of any sport (Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, etc.) to become profitable from the research they do for their fantasy addiction anyway. For every post you make in their forum, you earn a “Lute” amount based on length and value of the post. Then you can in turn, use this lute to wager any pretty much anything you can imagine. Once you have accrued enough Lute for your ego, you can cash it out to your favorite daily fantasy sports site like Draftday or DraftKings. Watch the video for instruction on how to use your newly earned Lute!
Here is what the owner, Lu himself, had to say…
It’s such a tough question to answer because it seems that we’re still evolving to a large degree. Maybe we should start with where LuDawgs came from and work towards what we’re becoming, which is a tremendous resources for both sports bettors and daily fantasy sports enthusiasts. Let us apologize in advance for the long-winded explanation. Grab a coffee…
When LuDawgs went “live” in March of 2011, at its core, it was a sports handicapping community, but it offered a twist to your traditional internet forum. The idea for the initial concept was derived to address a simple gap in the online sports handicapping arena. What we recognized in late 2010 was that there was a tremendous wealth of knowledge being shared through various social media that lacked the ability to be recognized by members of the greater community with financial rewards. Research, write-ups, statistical analysis, and logic was being leveraged for financial gain of the consumers and there was no streamlined way to give back small monetary tokens of appreciation for those efforts. On any other sports handicapping forum that you visit today, people celebrate wins with emoticons and smiley faces – but at LuDawgs.com, they are celebrated with cash tips from those who use that information for financial gain.
What you’ll notice if you take some time to browse the threads at LuDawgs is that we’ve integrated a streamlined, 2-click PayPal process where our users can send cash to one another to recognize contributions in the form of insight, research, breaking news and general service to the sports capping community and daily fantasy sports community. Tippers never have to leave the thread they’re in, it’s truly integrated and streamlined. A simple example would be that if OneSiteFantasy came on and gave us late breaking news that Syracuse was losing its key player for a matchup tonight and other people took that knowledge and used it when placing bets on Syracuse to not cover a point spread. Those who tailed that information and won money could send OSF a few dollars for his information. It’s optional, of course, but it’s there if people want to do so. It’s a cash tip, a gift of appreciation. No fees.
In just 12 months of operation we’ve seen over 12,000 cash tips sent through our PayPal API. We have over 600 members who have contributed nearly 120,000 posts. Those numbers are staggering for a start-up forum. You can imagine the difficulty associated with just getting a forum off the ground – it has to offer something unique in this day and age – there are several very well established sites in the market already. The difficulty lies in gaining participation when these types of sites “go live”. Picture a new member coming to a new forum where there are no posts. What is it that makes them want to stick around and build upon something where no one else has contributed? Typically these types of online solutions take years to gain the traction that we’ve enjoyed already in this early phase of our lifecycle. It’s our personal opinion that the ability to earn a few cash tips from others was enough to get things moving in the right direction, but we recognized that we had to continue to innovate and come up with new and exciting solutions to capture momentum and propel our brand forward if we wanted to be successful. We had an idea in mind, but we weren’t quite sure how we would fund the concept to make business sense…
…In steps daily fantasy.
We noticed in early 2012 that several of our members enjoyed discussing fantasy sports, and specifically, their affinity with daily fantasy sites. As a leadership team, we didn’t have much exposure to these types of concepts, but we were intrigued because of the discussions we were seeing. As stated, we were founded as a sports handicapping community, but in an effort to not box LuDawgs.com into a silo and force the conversations to be handicapping specific, we provided our members a “Fantasy Corner” which is simply a fantasy sub forum on our site. The response was tremendous. There were new threads posted discussing players, match-ups, salaries, performances and everything else you could imagine that offered angles on games each night. We allowed our members to post links to various sites and even created sticky threads to capture “freerolls” that were being offered by those sites. After all, daily fantasy sites weren’t necessarily in scope for us from a competitive/business perspective, so there was no reason to rule those links with an iron tyrant fist. We simply let our guys have fun with it. It wasn’t much later that we started being contacted by various fantasy sites who wanted to partner with LuDawgs offering affiliate memberships, your typical banner ad relationships. It was at that point that we recognized what could potentially fund the next concept that we wanted to roll out. That concept is betting on the site – but not gambling.
We’ve implemented a betting solution where our members can create a new thread, say in the NBA forum, see all of the various games listed for the day along with their odds, place their picks on those games, make a write-up as they typically would in a new thread, and we track their records related to outcomes. Initially it was going to be for bragging rights only, but we decided that in order for it to mean something we needed to incorporate the ability for or members to earn money.
Since depositing money into an account and using your deposit to place bets is illegal in the United States, we had to come up with an alternative approach. The approach we decided to use was to obtain site sponsors who would provide financial backing to our virtual currency. Since there is no consideration in terms of our members own money, this activity is not considered to be gambling. We want to give our members the ability to earn some of the sponsorship dollars we receive – after all, they’re the ones who are making the contributions, they should be able to get a cut, right?
What we’ve done is created our own board currency called “Lute”. Lute is earned by our members when they create new threads, reply to existing threads, or refer new members to LuDawgs.com. Lute is what our members risk in the betting solution on LuDawgs. Once a member has reached a certain amount of Lute, they’re be able to exchange their Lute for deposits into several different daily fantasy sites. What we’re trying to do is to provide members a free and fun way to play on different DFS sites without having to deposit any money of their own. After they play and “test run” these sites, they might find one that they really like and decide to deposit some of their own money. Currently we have 5 options available for cash out with respect to fantasy sites, but we we have several others who are interested in joining the team.
At LuDawgs you can bet your Lute on MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, NCAAF, MMA, Daily Fantasy Points by player, H2H Daily Fantasy match-ups (yes, we put a spread on those if you want to battle a friend…we’ll create the odds and everyone can bet on you or your buddy), basically anything. It’s so much fun and were really enjoying it thus far. Who knows what the next few months hold. We do have plans for some pretty amazing things – our only challenge is our ability to get them implemented fast enough!
If you want to learn more about LuDawgs and our culture, please sign up at LuDawgs.com and get involved in the community. As a result of all of the fantastic discussions that occur in our fantasy forums, LD members are now fixtures in the win columns at several different daily fantasy sites. We want to hear from you!