1on1 - Carlo Scappaticci - Rethinking esports betting with ESP.Bet

1on1 - Carlo Scappaticci - Rethinking esports betting with ESP.Bet

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Posted by Sam Cooke

Former fantasy esports operator Esportspools has diversified and rebranded. ESP.bet has acquired a betting licence in the Isle of Man and has a number of esports betting products planned. The operator is a member of ESIC and has signed up Thorin as an ambassador making for two great assets to the company.

Totally Gaming spoke to ESP.bet CMO Carlo Scappaticci.

Totally Gaming: Was it always on the agenda for the company to enter esports betting or did the fantasy product not pan out and grow as planned?

Carlo Scappaticci: It was always on the agenda.  We always felt that esports betting was where the business opportunity was. We saw fantasy as a way to build brand recognition while we went through the process of creating a betting site and getting licensed.

Totally Gaming: Which esports markets do you expect to have the most success in the next two years? Riot and Blizzard’s reluctance to be involved is naturally a barrier, whereas Valve is far more open.

Scappaticci: The biggest games are CS:GO, Dota2 and League, and you’re spot on about Riot and Blizzard’s barriers, for them they are protecting their very valuable in-game marketplace and trying to stop outside interactions in that.

Games like Overwatch are growing at a phenomenal pace since Blizzard took the FPS genre and added epic meme and fantasy in copious amounts that have taken the market by storm.

PUBG’s (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) growth has been immense; I have no idea why, if you play it you’ll understand, it’s an incredibly immersive last-man-standing game. Rocket League is fun to play, it's like Tony Hawk’s meets FIFA and goes for a car race. Any game has a chance at being a success.

There is the potential for any vendor to make a fantastic game, whether it’s a powerhouse like Blizzard or an independent group, but there are no guarantees. I don’t think anyone at Blizzard wants to admit that Heroes of the Storm has been a bit underwhelming, even though it’s not the worst game ever.

Totally Gaming: You’ll soon be adding an in-play option. What are the challenges with this particularly in esports and how do you intend to overcome them? Moreover, do you expect this format to be the most popular across esports market?

Scappaticci: Yes, in-play betting is so much fun. While you’re enjoying the game, you can up the ante so to speak with a punt on the match as it is happening, right there in the moment.

The best time to engage the esports audience is when the event is live, not before or after.

We aren’t challenged by this because we offer pool betting, which means there is no need to compile odds, the community has a punt on what they want, and we distribute the pot amongst the winners.

Sportsbooks have it dead wrong about their interfaces for esports betting. Sports bettors who grew up using these books accept it, but the esports target market is not familiar with interfaces like that, especially in a world where millennials are making a lightning-fast decision with the flick of their thumb.

Totally Gaming: Why did you decide to become a member of ESIC?

Scappaticci: ESIC is a fantastic idea. ESP fully supports regulation, and we only offer our service to areas where it’s allowed and the participants are of legal age, we bend over backwards to enforce age verification. It was a natural choice to pair up with an organisation that pushes integrity to the forefront of esports.

We’ve worked with top teams before like Na’Vi and some great personalities like our current work with Thorin so working with the right people to do the right thing for esports is important to us.

Totally Gaming: What’s on the cards for the next 12 months? You don’t yet have a UKGC licence.

Scappaticci: We don’t have a UKGC licence, but this is something that’s in the pipes.  We also don’t offer real-money betting in the UK, but you can still have a lot of fun on our free-to-play service esportspools.com.

The next 12 months we are planning to build up our relationships with personalities and influencers, diversify the markets inside ESP.bet, offer more esports to our members and grow!

ESP is more than just an esports fantasy and betting service; we have the ability to provide our platform and we some fantastic opportunities ahead of us with B2B partnerships.

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