Gambling On Strategy eSports Becoming A Big Business

It is now impossible to ignore not only the prominence, but also the staying power, of eSports. In the past month, Newzoo published data for eSports viewership on Twitch, which...

It is now impossible to ignore not only the prominence, but also the staying power, of eSports. In the past month, Newzoo published data for eSports viewership on Twitch, which indicates that eSports content makes up 21.3% of all hours spent on the platform. Furthermore, brands are buying in. Bud Light recently announced its first ever eSports program, titled “Bud Light All-Stars,” bringing together top eSports athletes from across North America in an effort to get involved in the growing space.

The next frontier, which is already taking shape, is gambling on eSports competition. It will not be an easy task for operators to exploit this opportunity. Wagering on eSports is still in its infancy, and it does not necessarily resonate with a cross-section of video game players and spectators.


One issue is that it is rather difficult to categorize and define eSports. It certainly goes well beyond video game competitions concerning sports-related franchises like Madden and NBA2K.

There are non-sports multi-player online battle arena (MOBA), shooter and strategy games that have attracted over 475 million hours of eSports content watched on Twitch from July to December 2015, according to Twitch. One company may have figured out how to make wagering on strategy games abusiness that others will want to replicate.

Malta-based Gamytech was created in 2014 to provide skill-based games to consumers to play on tablets and smartphones using Apple's AAPL +0.21% iOS and Google's GOOGL -0.15% Android operating systems. A total of eight real-money games, including one called Birds For Money that looks like a spin-off of Angry Birds, are currently offered to users.

Gamytech claims to have paid out over $584,000 to players since its inception. It boasts more than 353,000 users across 92 nationalities whom have played in excess of 1.48 million games.

In March, Gamytech announced that its newest game, Backgammon For Money, was consistently among the highest situated mobile applications in a variety of App Store gaming categories. It takes the position that this game, Birds For Money and its other offerings are skill-based rather than chance, which is why it takes comfort in providing same to a global market that includes the United States.

In April, the company was nominated in three categories for the EGR B2B Awards organized by eGaming Review. Those categories are: innovation in mobile, skill games supplier and social and freeplay gaming supplier. The awards ceremony will be held on June 1, 2016 at the Pavilion at the Tower of London.

Gamytech is in the process of raising $10 million in funding with plans to release new games including Solitaire, trivia and a game titled Money Crush. It is hoping to attract the likes of The Kraft Group and Marc Lasryinvestors in the eSports arena.

In May 2013, my colleague Dave Thier wrote that real money gambling on mobile games is here. In many ways he was correct at the time and yet his conclusion is still a bit premature today. There is a huge market for companies to tap into in this wagering on eSports space and only a small amount of money has been exploited to date. Companies like Gamytech have received small fortunes to date, with further money available as gamers become more comfortable with the idea of wagering on electronic games.

Darren Heitner is a lawyer and the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C., which has a focus on Sports Law and Entertainment Law

Source: Forbes

Darren HeitnerDarren Heitner

Darren Adam Heitner, Esq. is the Founder of HEITNER LEGAL, Founder/CEO of Dynasty Dealings, LLC, Professor of Sports Law at the University of Florida and University of Florida Levin College of Law and Founder/Chief Editor of Sports Agent Blog, a leading niche industry publication. He is an attorney licensed to practice on the state and federal level, and focuses on sports, entertainment, and intellectual property litigation and transactional work. Darren is the author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know (published by the American Bar Association), Contributing Writer of An Athlete’s Guide to Agents, 5th Edition, and has authored many sports, entertainment and intellectual property-related Law Journal articles. Darren has a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the same institution.



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