- Fantasy betting operator, eSportsPools lands world’s first virtual betting license
- eSports industry continues meteoric rise with analysts predicting billion dollar revenues by 2020
Fantasy league and betting site eSportsPools has landed the world’s first virtual betting license. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is the regulator responsible for issuing the license in what’s being hailed as a groundbreaking move in the fast-growing eSports market.
The development comes after the commission recently revised its rules, enabling it to regulate betting on virtual goods.
A transparent approach
“To date, eSports betting and the gambling of virtual goods has largely been a grey market, with a lot of unregulated operators failing to protect their customers,” said CEO Scott Burton. “We’ve always taken a more transparent approach, undertaking ‘know your customer’ checks to verify age and running a really clear game system.”
With eSports revenue on course to exceed $1 billion a year, the market is ripe for expansion and eSportsPools hopes to be at the vanguard of that movement. As a consequence of the license being granted, eSportsPools can now offer betting on virtual goods at its ESP.bet and esportspools.com sites, though the latter will remain free to play.
A growing market
As well as facilitating the sale of virtual goods, ESP.bet will also be able to accept cryptocurrency transactions in the form of Bitcoin as part of its license.
BitPay.com will broker these transactions, which will be fully integrated into the ESP.bet platform to provide a seamless user experience. eSportsPools might have been the first to acquire a virtual betting license, but many industry insiders expect this to potentially light the touch paper for many more to be issued in the coming months.
It’s a positive more for the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission which, as well as eSportsPools itself. Any industry first is always an important move, and to be at the forefront is a positive position to be in.
The eSports industry is reportedly firmly on the rise, with some analysts forecasting revenue to treble by 2020. As an example of this growth, eSports analysts Newzoo, released data earlier this year that showed revenue had risen from $130 million in 2012 to $465 million in 2017 – they predict it to reach as much as $1.5 billion by 2020.
The burgeoning industry is largely based around competitive computer gaming, specifically with titles such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Overwatch. These games – fought between professional players who themselves command large salaries – are held before live audiences and then further streamed to global audiences online.
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