A betting site dedicated to online video games opens its virtual doors in the UK this week. The site, called Unikrn, will allow eSports fans to wager on the outcomes of their favourite games in various eSports tournaments. Unikrn was co-founded by former General Manager at Microsoft's start-up initiative, Microsoft Ventures, Rahul Sood and already operates in Australia and Asia. In the UK it will operate in partnership with Australia's Tabcorp. Mr Sood has also previously worked at Razer and Hewlett-Packard.
As anyone interested in the video games industry will know, eSports is really taking off in both the number of people taking part and watching tournaments. This is benefitting gaming hardware and software makers and various online businesses. Unikrn aims to be part of the booming eSports industry offering specialised, dedicated eSports betting backed by a big online betting player.
Games upon which punters can place bets include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the massively popular League of Legends. The range of titles will be expanded to include DotA 2, Heroes of the Storm, "and many more in the coming months," reports GameSpot.
Sood talked about the eSports betting sector and the possibility of corruption in an article published by gaming industry magazine MCV today. He said that concerns over corruption were "amplified" by the newness of eSports betting. However the industry has great potential, "eSports has never been bigger; audiences topped 205bn viewers in 2014, it’s now as big as the NHL," said Sood. The growing global market and benefits from winning should ensure highly competitive games and no one wanting to risk their integrity to fix a match, for example.
The UK already has an established and diverse betting market. William Hill and PaddyPower sometimes take bets on eSports matches and tournaments as part of their established businesses.