US missing out on ‘massive’ revenue opportunity in sports betting - Unikrn chief

US missing out on ‘massive’ revenue opportunity in sports betting - Unikrn chief

Friday, June 26, 2015 Totally Gaming
Rahul Sood says the US would benefit from legalisation

Unikrn co-founder Rahul Sood has told TotallyGaming.com that the US is missing out on a “massive revenue opportunity” by not yet legalising betting on sports and e-sports on a wider scale.

Nevada remains the only US state in which punters can place legal wagers on professional sports event, while betting on e-sports – Unikrn’s specialism - is yet to be regulated anywhere in the country.

However, despite this lack of regulation, Sood recently revealed Unikrn’s intention to expand into the US e-sports betting market, with punters able to bet on games such as League of Legends, and predicting that the market could become legal within the next two years.

Although he would not be drawn into detail on the start-up operator’s plan to enter into the US market, Sood, the creator and former general manager of Microsoft Ventures, told TotallyGaming.com that he believes the US should seriously consider legalisation.

“I can say that Unikrn owns the most advanced technology that combines betting with video games in a skill-based environment,” Sood said. “With that said, we're not prepared to speak about future plans, but clearly the US is very important to us – after all, we are based in Seattle.

“Unikrn only operates in legal markets - we are huge proponents of legal, safe, and responsible betting. The US is one of the few developed nations in the world where betting on sports is not legal, it seems like it's hampered by lobbying, protectionism, and big government.

“There are many big names in sports that agree with me. Betting makes watching sports more engaging, more interesting, and it almost guarantees a high level of control and systems around player integrity and governance.  At the end of the day, people still find a way to bet on sports - for example, March Madness is huge.

“The US is missing out on a massive revenue opportunity, which could go back into improving the economy.”

Sood also ridiculed the distinction drawn in the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 between the fantasy games offered by FanDuel and DraftKings and sports betting.

“The notion that ‘fantasy’ brings a level of ‘skill’ to betting, and therefore is legal, is kind of a joke in places where betting is a part of the culture.”

Sood added: “The way the laws are written is strange – skill-based is legal, spectator-based is not. I feel like it's a skill to pick a winning team, some people feel it's a skill to pick winning players on a fantasy team.

“Either way I am not going to waste investors money trying to lobby the government the other way. These things tend to work themselves out in the end.”

Rahul Sood will be speaking at EIG in Berlin, running from 20-22 October. Visit www.eigexpo.com for more information.

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