Valentyn Kyrylenko - BetInvest - Now is the time for esports

Valentyn Kyrylenko - BetInvest - Now is the time for esports

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 Posted by Sam Cooke

Following the trend of the industry at large, BetInvest recently made a move into esports. This was via a newly announced partnership with Bulgarian supplier Ultraplay, which also revealed a deal with Golden Race at the same time.

Totally Gaming spoke to Valentyn Kyrylenko, BetInvest VP of Business Development, to find out more.

Totally Gaming: Can you talk us through the details of your partnership with Ultraplay, what it offers both parties and how it came about…

Valentyn Kyrylenko: At the heart of every deal there is either a great benefit to the parties involved or strong personal relations which see the deal through to closure. It’s a rare occurrence that those two meet each other during the negotiation process.  I found about UltraPlay through my good friend who at that time was looking for a good provider of a white label platform with an esports angle.

I spent a few hours together with him going through the different options, but when we found UltraPlay it instantly ticked all the boxes. They had an extensive variety of esports events and a very professional approach to doing business.

After a few days it hit me that if BetInvest, being a provider of odds for live and pre-match sporting events, offered the odds feed product to UltraPlay, it will open up new opportunities for both companies. BetInvest will get an opportunity to find out more about esports whilst UltraPlay will be able to offer the most complete set of sporting events to bet on. BetInvest also included the back-end office tools to manage the feed, for example, anyone from UltraPlay side now can add or subtract events, change their margins, include or delete the markets and do more on the fly.

We shook hands at the end of our first meeting.

TG: Where is the value to be found for operators in offering esports right now?

Kyrylenko: As VP of business development for BetInvest, my main daily task is seeking new opportunities for the company.

Most of the time this involves signing new deals, but what really makes come to work every day are the new opportunities the rapidly changing technology brings to our doorstep.

One of them is esports. In BetInvest we were puzzled by the progress esports made over the past two years. The esports economy is worth as much as $500m in 2016 and is predicted to grow to $1bn by 2018. The annual prize pool is $125m and this is expected to grow to over $280m by 2020. There were over 4,000 competitive esports tournaments in 2015, with over 5,500 expected this year. There is an estimated core audience of 131 million esports fans and a further 125 million occasional viewers who tune into the big international events.

Major events are viewed by millions of fans across the globe. Twitch generated over 2.2 billion viewing hours from its top 100 games last year and the top five games were all esports titles. Twitch attracts over 100 million viewers a month and over 20% of them are watching esports. Sky and ITV have recently invested in the launch of Ginx eSports TV, the UK’s first 24-hour esports channel.

The unofficial esports economy is worth $7.4 Billion and it is driven by skin gambling sites. The key difference of these sites is that they are unlicensed, unregulated and cashless as gamers are playing for skins and then have the possibility to win more skins via games  (or via an internal currency acquired while playing those games).

BetInvest is actively utilizing those opportunities by partnering with industry leaders and service providers worldwide. Being a leading provider of bookmaking solutions, it would be unwise for BetInvest to miss such an opportunity and not to jump on the esports bandwagon.

TG: With Ultraplay based in Bulgaria, will the Balkan nations be your first area of focus for offering esports platforms to operators?

Kyrylenko: BetInvest strongly believes that success in any local market can be achieved only through the partnership with the strongest and most experienced local players.

Every market has its own set of rules, which in some cases can take you years to learn the hard way. By partnering with local service providers, this process becomes almost painless. BetInvest definitely plans to extend its market share in Balkan countries. It already has a strong presence in such Balkan states as Croatia and Romania.

TG: How do you tackle the problem of offering live odds on esports matches and the stream delays?

Kyrylenko: From the very beginning, BetInvest planned the operation the way it can mitigate the risk of delays to the minimum. We are using a wide network of signal amplifiers and intermediary servers. Of course, it comes at a price, but we do not take any chances when it comes to providing the most robust solution for our customers.

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