1st Legal Esports Wagers and the New Players Calling the Shots

Downtown Grand’s sportsbook William Hill offers the first legal wagers in the US for Esports with IEM Oakland’s League of Legends tournament. Nevada Gaming Policy Committee leader Governor Brian Sandoval says “This is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the Esports capital of the world.” The winners of IEM Oakland had 10 to 1 odds… Unicorns of Love.

  • Leading up to the event, ESIC’s Ian Smith & Unikrn’s Rahul Sood presented their suggestions to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee to help create and implement their Esports wagering framework for Nevada’s sports books.
  • Seth Schorr says next up they are “focused first on MLG, then look at other events. The most important thing is maintaining the integrity of the game, and that the gambler has a fair wager. It is going to be based on the tournament operator, and the integrity controls they have in place to make sure that everything is on the up and up.”
  • Now that the integrity of the game is on the tournament operators we are going to see a lot of new tools used to monitor and enforce fair play.
  • For example, ESEA debuted their Anti-Cheat LAN server at IEM, FaceIt launched their Beta Anti-Cheat LAN server as well.
  • Previously we saw the drug testing enforcement done by ESL.
  • And now we’re going to have a lot of input data on player and team performance with Sportradar and Dojo Madness partnering up to offer round by round betting odds for Counter Strike.
  • A little background on both companies – Sportradar received $44M in funding last year from Revolution Growth with some involvement from Michael Jordan & Mark Cuban; to provide data to the NFL, NBA, & NHL as well as match fixing services for soccer, Ice Hockey, and Jens Hilger’s ESL.
  • Dojo Madness, also founded by Jens Hilger, raised $4.5M to provide an Esports coaching service but now is pivoting to their new business plan with Sportradar.
  • Hypothetically, with round by round betting, teams could induce a slump in their performance to spike the odds then come back to win it with plausible deniability.
  • But with services like Anti-Cheat software, drug testing, SportRadar & Dojo Madness data collection, and match fixing prevention services keeping players and teams in check, it’s unlikely match fixing will become commonplace in larger tournaments.

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