BookDogger brings a social side to internet sports wagers

There’s no way around it: fantasy sports are getting a little old. There are only so many years you can research running-backs-by-committee or the merits of a dominant red zone tight end before you want to move on to another challenge. But here’s the catch: way, way more than half of the fun of fantasy sports is dominating your best buds and then bragging to them about it all week (or year, if you luck in to actually winning your league). What are you going to move on to if the friends you wipe the floor with are still stuck in a rotisserie league?


Jason Cellura has your answer. Cellura is the founder of, a sports betting site that brings a social bent to internet betting.

“It’s not just sports betting, but a place to enhance the sports experience,” Cellura explained. “It provides a platform that is complimentary to activities people are already participating in.”

Activities like fantasy sports. BookDogger isn’t trying to replace fantasy, per se, but rather expand on it.

“There are 35-40 million fantasy players (in North America),” said Cellura. “And they’re always looking for the next competition, the next place to use their knowledge.”

BookDogger is still in a “modest beta” phase, but the plan is for a full public push in about two weeks, just in time for football season.

"Seventy-plus percent of fantasy sports players in the United States are fantasy football players,” said Cellura. “So it was absolutely important for us to push out before football season so we could tap into that.”

Traditional fantasy sports pit you against an opponent. BookDogger adds another competitor: Vegas lines. Fans will be able to create private groups and leagues of their own, and there will be a site-wide leaderboard where users can check their success against all other users, with monthly contests and prizes for the winners. Sports are competitive after all.

Cellura worked for six years in investment banking and the private equity world, but always had a desire to get into start-ups. A little more than a year ago, he got his idea.

“I spent 12-to-15 hours every Saturday watching college football and betting,” explained Cellura. “I realized Saturday’s were very lonely.”

So Cellura did what all start-ups do: he identified a gap in the market.

“There was no free-to-play platform for betters to have the same competitive socialization that fantasy games offer,” said Cellura.

The socialization aspect will be one of the centerpieces of BookDogger. In addition to the site-wide leaderboard, there will be walls and message boards for discussion and of course trash talk. Facebook and social media integration will also be huge, allowing users to share their successes with the world.

The ultimate goal for BookDogger is multi-pronged. There are of course the consumer-oriented social aspects, but there are also opportunities for some third-party partners. For example, coming to Chat Sports for news and then using the knowledge to play over at BookDogger.

Cellura says the most important thing for him throughout the building of BookDogger – and the best advice he can give – is to create and maintain relationships.

“I brought so many (relationships) from the financial world,” said Cellura. “That was huge in helping us secure the initial phases of capital.

“You have to have confidence. Identify the right connections; tell the right story – put on your sales hat, because it’s a dogfight. You have to have luck, but also fight for every scrap, leave no stone unturned. Sell your idea and yourself.”

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