SpaceBets is an online casino, but with a twist. 
It is built to generate funding and enthusiasm for grassroots space research.

 How does it work? is a betting pool where amateur or "outsider" space experiments compete with one another, and you bet on the winner.  If the team you bet on wins, you get money!  A percentage of all winnings also funds the teams' prizes, and covers expenses for Think Ansari X-Prize with a bookie.  
After each contest, all winning designs are open-sourced to keep the competition close and exciting.  Open-sourcing also lets the whole world benefit from any research done; so you, the public, can count that among your winnings.
  Over time as we run more competitions, the money we accumulate will fund bigger prizes and more ambitious challenges.  Simultaneously, our pool of public-domain technology will grow
in size and sophistication
  All competitions are unmanned; no risk to human life is allowed.

  Our master plan is to spark a civilian economic escalation all the way to the Moon.
 How can it work?
  In 2004 online gambling made a total of 6.4 billion dollars.  Divide that among the 2,000 online casinos of that year and you get an average yearly income of $3,200,000 per casino.
  So you might ask, if casinos make so much, why bother to fund space research?  Because: the Achilles' heel of online casinos is marketing.  Competition for customer attention so fierce that most casinos have to spend most of their profits just shouting loud enough to be heard over the other casinos.  We think this is because online casinos are too much alike.  Who can notice or even remember one blackjack game over another?  Our philosophy is that if we capture the public's imagination, especially in a bold and creative way, we will be very hard to forget.  We are creating a whole new marketing niche.
  Competing teams are encouraged to communicate with the public as much as possible.

For every dollar you bet, you stand to win
[(((total betting pool)-total_winning_bets)*0,60)+total_winning_bets]/total_winning_bets;

We keep
 (((total betting pool)-total_winning_bets)*0,40);
  Half that goes to the winning teams' prize, the other half to us.


What are the competitions?


The Teams
All teams are encouraged to have their own web sites, with webcams on their construction floors to generate public interest in their progress.  Every team may also solicit donations from the public, including bettors, so long as all team budgets are fully disclosed.
  Teams are encouraged to publicise themselves, as publicity draws in more bettors and so increases the prize money and overall profile of the contest.

Rocket Races


  Mail us your application and we'll send you a sealed GPS/altimeter and two sealed webcams.  The GPS/altimeter will ride on your rocket and log time-tagged position data to prove your vehicle went as high as you claim.  One webcam will also ride on the rocket, while the other will film the launch from the ground. 
  All launches will be televised live on our website (and archived) and winners announced on the competition deadline day.  All bettors will be emailed about the results, and winnings credited to the winners' accounts.
   Please clear all of your rocketing activities with your community - we will not be held responsible for any damage you do to yourself or others.  If in fact we find that you are behaving recklessly, you will be barred from competitions and forfeit any prize money coming to you.

Rocket Race Competition Classes

  Telepresence robots will be the most powerful catalyst to the industrialization of space.  They will allow 24/7 human talent to work in space at no risk to human life, and with none of the expenses of life support.  Telebots can "roll out the red carpet" for humans before we even show up in person, by building large living environments from lunar materials.  Telebot-constructed space ships may even
someday come for us before we ever need to go to them.
  Unfortunately robots are not attractive to politically-generated space funding.  People just don't get excited about robots, no matter how much potential they really have.  We aim to change that!  If a robot's success puts money in your pocket (or takes it out) that robot will take on a lot more human interest.  Compared to a slot machine, a telebot has a lot of personality!

  When we declare a telebot competition, we will provide you with specifications and examples of the type of environment your robot is supposed to work in.  We will not, however, provide you with an exact map of the environment your robot will finally be tested in.  Certain features will be randomized, within constraints that you will know, and you will just have to deal in realtime. 
  Because the exact environment is held secret until testing day, all teams must compete on the same day to prevent cheating.
  Once your telebot is finished, mail it to us with instructions on how to set it up (or come here yourself).  On competition day, each contestant will get 3 chances to accomplish his/her tasks before the contest is closed.
  As the telebot contestants improve, competitions will eventually be held in vacuum, in simulated lunar environments, with a 3-second delay to simulate remote control from Earth.



First we will manufacture large amounts of simulated lunar soil.  A wide range of soil types will be created to account for uncertanties about real soil composition.  Teams will then compete to build compact machines which can refine the soil into useful pure metals, and then form the metals into industrial building units such as screws, beams and -best of all- solar cells.
  Mass driver competitions will be exciting for everyone, as they involve the most powerful cannons ever imagined.  The winner will be the team to develop a mass driver which can accellerate metal BBs to lunar escape velocity (2.4 kilometers per second).  If there is a tie, the smallest or lightest mass driver will win.

(BTW there are real rocket clubs that compete for prizes. They just don't gamble.)

October 18 2005