Shawn Lindsey has a degree in computer science from the University of Delaware. After graduation, he was offered a full-time position as a tennis professional. He is currently an instructor at the Greenville Country Club.
Now, nearly two decades later, Lindsey is getting back into the swing of things — but this time with web development.
Last fall, the Wilmington resident launched CappedIn, a website dedicated to handicapping professional sports leagues and teams from across the world. Lindsey built the social network for sports bettors in just a few months, he said.
“I’m trying to provide a new platform for sports bettors and handicappers,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey was itching to bring his development skills out from hiding and saw the realm of sports betting as ripe for innovation.
Two reasons, he said: One, sports bettors don’t have their own “social media outlet.” And two, he thinks more states will legalize sports betting in the next decade, making CappedIn a prime outlet for sports fans who want to make educated bets.
According to the American Gaming Association, four states — Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana — are exempt from a 1992 ban on sports betting. Gov. Jack Markell made sports betting legal in Delaware in 2009.
“In the next 10 years, this could be legalized in more places,” Lindsey said. “Imagine if I have the platform already built. I can turn that into a profit. I can provide a forum for sports bettors and handicappers to communicate.”
Handicappers on the site add their odds to a particular team or game. Each handicapper also has a profile on the site, which shows their track record of providing accurate or inaccurate predictions.
Handicappers predict games in popular leagues like the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA. But individuals are also providing predictions for hundreds of teams and leagues across the world.
Sports gambling is a huge market.
According to a study cited in a fascinating story by the New York Times, the amount of money spent on sports betting could range from $80 billion and $380 billion annually.
Lindsey said he is happy with the site’s progress so far.
During last year’s NFL season, the site hosted 15,000 unique visitors, Lindsey said. This happened, he said, because of clear headlines and good SEO practices.
A quick Google search of “Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville pick” — the Eagles’ season opener — shows CappedIn on the first page of results.
“My content is evolving and Google learns the information on the page is relevant. Nothing is static. It’s changing every 30 seconds,” Lindsey said. “I’m giving [sports bettors] exactly what they want and they stay for the other odds, too.”
Users on the site can, like Twitter, follow other users. Lindsey’s working to make a feature similar to Facebook’s “friending.”
He wants to build the platform more before seeking advertisers.
“If I monetize now, it will cheapen what I’m doing,” Lindsey said. “It’s a very specific niche social network. The revenue model is to get users and the money will follow.”