Unikrn Issued First Crypto-gambling License from Isle of Man

Unikrn Issued First Crypto-gambling License from Isle of Man

Online esports betting site Unikrn announced on Tuesday, Oct. 23 that it had been granted a license from the Isle of Man to conduct wagering activities using crypto-currency as well as other forms of real money. The company thus became the first-ever entity licensed by the Isle of Man to engage in crypto-based internet betting.

About Unikrn

Unikrn was founded in 2014 by former Microsoft exec Rahul Sood and Karl Flores, CEO of advertising agency Pinion Pty. Boasting such high-profile investors as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and actor Ashton Kutcher, the firm soon made its mark on the fledgling online esports wagering industry.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Unikrn hosts what it claims is “the most comprehensive sportsbook for esports on earth.” It offers lines on contests in popular competitive video games, like League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Dota 2. Its betting menu is extensive, covering not only wagers on the final outcome of matches but also things like the competitor to score the most kills on a particular League of Legends map and the exact final score. Commenting on the recent news, CEO Rahul Sood said in a post on Medium:

“I’m so excited to announce that we have been granted an Isle of Man license with regulatory approval for both crypto & real money betting that will span across 3 continents, and we are proud to announce that we have ready-to-launch product that wildly surpasses anything yet existing in esports and sports betting or in online gambling.”

Why Is Licensure Important?

As a US-headquartered organization, Unikrn is subject to quite a bit of regulatory scrutiny, perhaps more so than its rivals located in certain offshore jurisdictions. Therefore, it has taken steps to make sure it’s acting in a perfectly circumspect manner and in compliance with all relevant laws.

The company was originally only authorized to transact with real money customers in Australia and the United Kingdom. However, the acquisition of a license from the Malta Gaming Authority in October 2017 allowed the site to begin to offer its services to 80 percent of the European Union market. Now that it possesses a valid license from the Isle of Man too, Unikrn will expand into South America and Asia. With its IoM approval, Unikrn has become the first online esports sportsbook to be licensed to provide both crypto and real money betting services.

Regulatory Process

The Isle of Man, in contradistinction to such freewheeling jurisdictions as Curaçao and Panama, actually has very stringent requirements for its gambling licensees. These include Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations as well as measures designed to protect users’ funds. According to Sood, Unikrn successfully passed a full audit by the regulatory body and demonstrated its ability to follow all the stipulated guidelines.

New Innovations Coming?

In the wake of its license approval, Unikrn intends to deploy new functionality to its website. It has already begun rolling out its Unkirn Jet backend, which can supposedly process as many as 9,000 bets per second. Unikrn Jet incorporates blockchain technologies to enhance security and has already been tested using the in-house Unikoin Silver crypto-currency, which is basically play money. Unikrn Jet will now go live for other cryptos and fiat currency wagering.

Perhaps more interesting for ordinary bettors, however, is the new skill gaming section launched by Unikrn. Rather than risking money on the results of matches in which they’re not participants, users will now be able to take a gamble on their own performance in League of Legends, Dota 2 and Fortnite. This form of betting is legal in 41 U.S. states because it’s not counted as gambling under the relevant statutes.

Thus, Unikrn is positioning itself to enter the United States real money market. Once it gains a foothold with skill game wagering, it may also benefit from new opportunities as more and more states pass the legislation needed to permit sportsbooks to open. Fully legal USA sports betting in states other than Nevada became possible as a consequence of the May Supreme Court decision in the Murphy case. Unikrn’s traditional esports betting portfolio comfortably fits within most definitions of “sports betting,” and so the company will be able to make a strong play for licensure in any states where this becomes legal.

Unikoin Gold Expansion?

Unikrn is not just an avid user of crypto-currency but also a developer, having released its own Unikoin Gold token in November 2017. In all geographical areas where it allows wagering with real cash, it also lets customers bet with Unikoin Gold (UKG). It’s also possible to use UKG for video game skins trading and to enter raffles called “jackpots.”
Initial reception of UKG has been lukewarm, with its price on CoinMarketCap.com dropping from about $0.32 when it was first launched to around $0.04 today. However, Unikrn is still bullish on the future of Unikoin Gold and has announced a partnership with Bittrex to enable purchases of the token right on the betting platform itself. Bettors located outside the United States will be able to buy UKG with a number of convenient payment methods.