Improved Formats Drive the Growth of eSports and Online Gambling

Improved Formats Drive the Growth of eSports and Online Gambling

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2021 News Commentary

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In recent years, major developments in how video games and eSports competitions are being organized have taken place, creating a new and fast-growing market. Awareness about eSports is also rapidly expanding thanks to technological advancements and higher income levels around the world. According to Grand View Research, in previous years, limited tournament infrastructure and a lower number of organizations have restricted the market growth. Such limitations resulted in fewer revenue streams for players and team owners. However, in 2017, Riot Games created the League of Legends for the North America and Europe region, giving a structured format to the tournament. Later, in 2018, Activision Blizzard, Inc. launched its Overwatch league, creating requisite infrastructure and monetization of the eSports tournaments. FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS), Skillz Inc. (NYSE: SKLZ), Super League Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLGG), Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: AESE), DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ: DKNG)  

Just like any segment in the online entertainment industry, the number of viewers and direct participants is crucial for success. According to a report by Business Insider, eSports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Insider Intelligence estimates. This segment also features gambling and betting features associated with it, thus resembling the online sports betting segment. Data provided by the trade group American Gaming Association, and reported by Bloomberg indicated that 7.6 million Americans are anticipated to place bets with online sportsbooks for Sunday's matchup between the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's a 63% increase over last year — and the most ever, according to the organization.

FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTCQB: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS) through its subsidiary Askott Entertainment Inc., announced last week that, "it has signed an agreement with Gaming Laboratories International ("GLI"), to assess the Company's online betting offerings for compliance and certification with GLI-19 Standards for Interactive Gaming Systems ("GLI-19 Standards") and GLI-33 Standards for Event Wagering Systems ("GLI-33 Standards"). GLI is the largest and most widely accepted independent testing laboratory for iGaming and is trusted by gaming regulators to certify sports wagering and land-based gaming products worldwide.

With a presence in six continents, GLI provides high-quality compliance testing and certification services for gaming operators in over 480 jurisdictions worldwide. To complete GLI's assessment, FansUnite will undergo world-class testing procedures for its leading iGaming and sports betting solutions such as the Chameleon Gaming Platform and Askott Entertainment's suite of RNG games. The GLI-19 Standards and GLI-33 Standards certification will enable FansUnite to deliver its online gambling products to various States in the U.S. and Provinces in Canada that require gambling firms to be compliant with GLI standards. Any additional unique technical requirements that States and Provinces may require can be tested by GLI in parallel, making for the most efficient certification process and allowing for FansUnite to enter markets more expeditiously.

'We are pleased to announce that we are on track to complete regulatory procedures to distribute our wagering platforms within the North American market,' said Scott Burton, CEO of FansUnite. 'Our focus is to expand rapidly in the U.S. and Canada, and therefore, we are committed to obtaining favorable assessments from GLI in order to deliver our solutions to an expanded North American gaming market.'"

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Skillz Inc. (NYSE: SKLZ) reported last week that it is teaming up with the National Football League (NFL). As part of the agreement, the two sports organizations will host a global game developer challenge. Competing developers will have the opportunity to develop an NFL-themed mobile game. The game will be powered by the Skillz esports platform and will have joint marketing support from both the NFL and Skillz. The combination of the NFL brand and the Skillz platform will set the stage for the future of electronic sports competition. "The NFL is an iconic brand that is synonymous with American sports, and Skillz is thrilled to help power their esports competitions on mobile," said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz.

Super League Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLGG) announced last month he exciting success of its most recent youth-focused initiative Winter Wonderland, built entirely in Minehut, Super League's Minecraft community. The Winter Wonderland program, which ran from December 18th, 2020 until January 6th, 2021, offered Minecraft players a fun-filled snow-covered landscape, complete with holiday-themed structures and a Play Your Way Parkour course, which was supported by Logitech G. The in-game event received more than 8.6 million joins. Throughout just 21 days, gamers spent 165,886 hours within the program, which is the equivalent to 6,912 days or almost 19 years. In addition, the event saw a nearly 45% lift in in-game chat messages within the first 24 hours it was live. "Super League's focus on providing fun and engaging in-game experiences for young players has been insanely successful," says Matt Edelman, Chief Commercial Officer of Super League Gaming. "Winter Wonderland's participation levels were awesome, and only the beginning of what we expect to see in 2021. We have multiple exciting new adventures planned within Minehut for young fans to enjoy that also will continue to offer compelling activation opportunities for our partners."

Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: AESE) and Element Partners, LLC ("Element"), a privately-held investment vehicle, announced last month a definitive agreement under which Element will acquire the Company's poker-related business and assets, including the entities comprising the World Poker Tour® ("World Poker Tour," or "WPT®"). Under the terms of the agreement, Element will acquire World Poker Tour for a total of USD 78,250,000, consisting of a USD 68,250,000 upfront payment and a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms, up to a maximum of USD 10 Million, payable over three years after closing. The Company's Board of Directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close in late January or early February 2021, assuming the Company's shareholders approve the transaction and following required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ: DKNG) and the National Football League (NFL) announced last week that the two have reached an agreement to expand their current daily fantasy sports (DFS) and content partnership to Canada. Previously, the landmark marketing and content deal between DraftKings and the NFL was limited to the United States. Today's announcement of an expanded deal further deepens the relationship between the two organizations and enhances the DFS fan experience in Canada as the NFL season approaches the Super Bowl. "The relationship we share with the NFL is important for DraftKings to provide customers a great experience," said Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer at DraftKings. "This expanded agreement gives us a unique opportunity in the Canadian market, and we look forward to working with the team at the NFL Canada as we continue to shape the modern fan experience."

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