Video gamers across the US and worldwide will soon be permitted to bet on themselves during play, as authorities in the Isle of Man have given the green light to license the esports Unikrn live betting platform.
The move would permit players to legally place bets on competitive video games.
Video games have exploded in popularity in recent times, particularly the professional scene. Live streamers are now becoming celebrities in their own rights. Fortnite, a free-to-play battle royale game, has taken the world by storm.
One of the best streamers of this game is called Ninja. He is said to make millions of dollars every month by streaming Fortnite and has played with musician Drake and appeared on the cover of ESPN Magazine.
Rising Interest in Esports
Many people forecast that competitive video gaming will soon catch up with mainstream sports in terms of popularity. Many of the major sports such as American football are losing viewers and failing to attract a younger audience.
This is partly down to younger people being more exposed to video-gaming streamers and content creators from a young age. While it was see as a somewhat nerdy activity in the past, playing video games now is cool.
Competitive esports, as professional video gaming is called, is very popular in southeast Asia in particular. Entire stadiums fill up with fans who watch some of these events. Players can earn millions of dollars in prize money and endorsement deals.
Many mainstream TV networks are now looking at getting involved in this space, having seen the massive viewing figures the Twitch streaming platform garners on a daily basis for video gaming.
Unikrn’s Next Move
There has long been a gambling element associated with video games. Many online casino games are games in themselves, with a slots element to them. They have a theme, a storyline and gameplay.
Many platforms over the years have also allowed players to play video game matches against one another for money. However, most of these were not very legitimate or secure.
Now Unikrn is able to provide a legitimate and compliant platform for doing so.
On receiving its new licenses, Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood said: “There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering. It’s huge.”
With immediate effect, the platform will be made available to 20 different countries, in the form of numerous types of online products.
It will not be long before most of Europe and many major Asian countries such as South Korea have access to esports betting. Certain types will also be accessible by people living in the United States.
Previously, the platform was only allowed to offer esports real-money wagering to people in Australia and the UK.
In those nations that have legalized sports betting, the users of Unikrn can make their own odds for major competitions in the esports world and offer this to others.
Skills-based betting will also become available, meaning players can bet on themselves when they are playing popular games such as Call of Duty or Fortnite.
When the location and age of a user have been verified, they will be able to link their game with the platform. Unikrn will then create odds based on their profile in a certain game.
Players are able to make wagers through the online platform in the form of a mutual pool. When the next match has been played, they can go back and collect any winnings or place another bet.
For American residents, this form of skill-based wagering will be available in 41 different states initially, although no official launch date has been announced yet. No spectator betting for esports will be allowed in the US for the foreseeable future.
With the federal ban on sports betting having been scrapped following a Supreme Court decision in May, this could very well change. A national sports betting organization would need to be formed in order to help achieve this goal.
Unikrn offers a venue in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where players can place bets on themselves when playing in gaming events. The company has future plans to expand this type of offering into other casinos.
It is estimated that the sports market in the US alone could reach $9bn by 2020. Unikrn has been around since 2014 and its notable investors include Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban.
The platform is built completely upon blockchain and can cater for 9,000 transactions per second. Unikrn had its own initial coin offering (ICO) for its UnikoinGold token, but it faced a lawsuit after it was alleged it had been selling unregistered securities to people.