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ICE London: Industry unification could boost eSports betting market, execs say

Updated by Ralph Trayfalgar

The presence of eSports in the online gambling industry is becoming more and more significant. From its origins in grassroots gaming communities, eSports has grown into a multibillion-dollar business with tournaments offering rewards in the seven-figure range. In the gambling scene, platforms like Rivalry, Loot.Bet, Luckbox, and others have even found incredible success focusing solely on eSports betting and not much else. 

At the recent ICE London 2022 conference, Luckbox CEO Thomas Rosander opined that a unification of the eSports industry could be beneficial to creating a more robust eSports betting market. However, such an opinion begs the question of whether eSports could even be unified under a single organization in a similar way as traditional sports leagues. 

According to Rosander, a single regulatory authority could oversee betting providers, publishers, and esports platforms in order to bring esports under one umbrella.

To some extent, this is already being done by the Esports Integrity Commission, also known as the ESIC, which has been one of the leading firms enforcing fair play throughout the eSports world. ESIC is already well known for having issued bans to eSports athletes and coaches who were found to have cheated in competitions. 

However, Rosander believes that publishers of these games – some of which have notably taken a hands-off stance towards the establishment of eSports leagues around their games – should be involved. 

Consumer verification a challenge

Others who spoke on the eSports panel at ICE London 2022 expressed concerns about other possible problems in regulating the business, particularly that of consumer verification. 

Implementing KYC checks to improve safe gambling, has been a challenge in determining if an eSports consumer is of legal age, especially when they participate in betting activities. ESIC had previously reported that the bulk of eSports players were young adults rather than teenagers and that this was still the case.

Rosander argues that a governing body that includes representatives from the publishing industry may be able to assist in this endeavor.

In order to better understand esports customers, Warren Tristram, president of Nuvei Lottery and esports head of gaming, highlighted the need for better KYC methods, particularly when they are engaged in betting and similar activities. However, the eSports betting industry remains optimistic that these challenges will eventually be overcome. 

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