Esports betting past, present and future dissected at ICE

Esports betting past, present and future dissected at ICE

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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There was a dedicated esports track at this year's ICE VOX

Esports is a new addition to the menu at ICE Conferences this year, and it debuted strongly with thought provoking panels throughout a busy day.

A panel of particular note, however, analysed how bookmakers and operators in the space should approach the very different esports landscape. The strong panel featured Stephen A. Crystal, CEO of Casino Scouts as moderator. He was joined by John Parker, Head of Sport at M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, as well as James Dean, Managing Director of ESL UK, and Marco Blume, Trading Director of Pinnacle.

Pinnacle are most definitely no strangers to the esports space. They’ve been one of the pioneers in esports betting, having offered the markets for a substantial amount of time. Blume admits that the esports trading team is now “his biggest on the trading floor” as the operator continues to expand its offering and trade new games.

The issue around “monetisation” in the esports world is raised, with Parker suggesting that traditional sponsorships are “not as easy” to value in the esports world because of the metrics and the fact that games still remain limited to streaming services such as Twitch where anyone but the traditional esports audience is unlikely to set eyes on them.

Blume was staunch in his response, claiming that the operator had no issues with monetisation in esports. He stated that Pinnacle have had “no losing month in the last five years” when it comes to the esports product. Furthermore, he shared brief details of Pinnacle’s expansion - when it comes to esports - into the business to business space. He spoke of how other operators wanted to get into the esports space and were now starting to purchase odds of his team.

When questioned about the potential for the future of esports and betting, James Dean had some interesting thoughts to share. As a tournament provider, he suggested they would be happy providing a clean feed for a “betting dedicated stream” which could be white labeled depending on the operator. Specific commentary could then be added as well as widgets corresponding to relevant in-play odds as the esports offering continues to develop and grow.

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