Worldwide eSports Betting Market to Be Worth $6.7bn In 2018April 9, 2018 12:13 pm
The eSports market has attracted more and more interest over the past few years, with its worldwide revenues reaching close to $1 billion over the past couple of years, according to market intelligence firm Newzoo.
As the industry becomes increasingly popular, so does the number of people interested in placing wagers on games, with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimating that $6.7 billion will be bet on eSports in 2018, rising to as high as $13 billion by the year 2020.
eSports Betting Legality
There are currently eight main markets in the world offering legal eSports betting; the United Kingdom and Spain in Europe; Macau, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea in Asia; and Australia and New Zealand on the continent of Oceania.
As far as the US is concerned, the eSports industry falls into the same vague category as sports betting, which is controlled by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), and currently illegal outside the states of Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Further restrictions are place on the industry by the fact wagers are placed over the internet, with two other important pieces of legislation limiting such activities in the country, namely The Interstate Wire Act (1961), and The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (2006), with the latter prohibiting “gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
Currently, just Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have passed online gambling legislation, making online eSports betting legally questionable in other parts of the US.
In terms of the players themselves, games are often contested for using in-game items called skins. Nevertheless, gaming regulators have started cracking down on skin betting, as this is now being seen as a means by which iGaming operators and players alike can exploit loopholes in the law by using an alternative currency medium, instead of cash.
PASPA Game Changer
New Jersey is currently awaiting upon a decision from the US Supreme Court as to whether legal sports betting will be extended to the whole of the country, rather than just the four states already mentioned. There currently exists a strong sense of optimism that the 1992 law will be repealed, and if so eSports will be one of the industry’s most impacted by the ruling.
In fact, a number of states have already adopted sports betting bills in anticipation of a quick roll out post-PASPA repeal, with eSports wagering seen as a natural addition and feature of any future industry.
Unikrn Poised for Growth
Founded in 2014, Unikrn is an eSports betting firm based in Las Vegas, Nevada, but with offices based all around the world, including in Seattle USA, Sydney Australia and Berlin, Germany. The company’s founders are Rahul Sood and Karl Flores, but in recent years are number of high profile investors have also come on board, including the likes of Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Tabcorp, and Binary Capital.
While the company is currently licensed to offer real-money eSports betting in the UK and Australia, Sood has expressed his belief PASPA’s repeal will provide a massive windfall for his firm, and allow it to grow quickly. The American Gaming Association (AGA), on the other hand, says that the process is likely to be a lot slower and less straightforward than anticipated, with complicating factors including an immature market comprised mostly of underage fans, as well as a need for individual states to iron out their own legislation at a local level.
Nevertheless, Unikrn still views an overhaul of PASPA as providing a great opportunity for the industry as a whole, paving the way for the company to partner with land-based casinos, and use their geo-location technology and verification system to ensure all state laws are adhered to and enforced.