The New Overwatch League Continues to Grow, Promising More eSports Betting Action

eSports experiencing accelerating growth

With Esports gaining ground in recent history it’s time we covered gaming’s latest big competitive bout, Overwatch League. The Overwatch League (OWL) is a professional eSports competition for Blizzard’s videogame Overwatch. It was announced in November 2016 with the first season starting in January of 2018 and ending in June of that same year.

The Overwatch League is growing dramatically, with its bold initial statement of aiming to make eSports – and with it, eSports betting – mainstream, the popular first-person-shooter game has so far impressed audiences worldwide with fast growing viewership.

The League

The League, which can be watched here, follows a traditional North American professional sports model and uses a set of permanent teams and a regular play season. Blizzard have consistently released spectator tools and other multi-media assistance to further understanding of the game, the league and the players involved in it, which had led to strong followings in all of the teams.

Blizzard are further working to increase viewership by adding in in-game cosmetic awards, purchased through tokens earned by watching the matches, and they’re continuing to make necessary changes to the game (like several recent changes to the hero ‘Mercy’) to ensure fair, balanced and interesting play between the teams.

The majority of the teams are American, including ‘Dallas Fuel’ or ‘Philadelphia Fusion’, as per the American Sports Model. But, there are a few exceptions such as the ‘London Spitfires’ and ‘Seoul Dynasty’ which both British and Korean audiences have rallied to since day one respectively.

The League has been a hit so far, the familiar model and the teams, which are all quickly adopting personas of their own, make the league very entertaining to watch and follow, whether you play Overwatch or not. It is also very, very lucrative both for the organiser and for iGaming brands involved in eSports betting.

Betting

Betting on the League too is growing to be a fast, fun and lucrative pastime. The new Overwatch League has a lot of potential for betting with over 35 million players active on the game itself and with close to half a million individuals stopping by to watch the opening debut of the E-League. Many sites offer betting services for Esports like Overwatch, many of which are featured on comparison sites like GambleIO, which compares top Bitcoin-based betting options.

In addition, the dust still hasn’t settled and many teams previously presumed to be quite weak are proving that they too can win. Since the opening week viewing numbers have dipped slightly to around 350,000 concurrent viewers, only to now be rising back up and beyond the initial number. As Overwatch league continues to grow and mature from its early state, now is the perfect time to get involved in this budding phenomenon.

The Overwatch League is looking pretty promising so far. While the pecking order between all the teams, and between the Overwatch League and its immediate Esports rivals (names Counterstrike: Global Offensive or League of Legends) is still being established this new budding E-League continues to grow and settle into its new spot as a very popular spectator sport – and a great one to bet on.

 

 

Competing in an increasingly saturated virtual marketplace

Virtual sports have come a long way…

From the earlier days of virtual dogs and horses filling in the gaps in the retail schedule, virtual sports have now become a mainstream entertainment vertical across all channels. With this, we have seen new sports available, which has meant many new companies entering and saturating the market in the last two years.

This Saturation of products has been met with mixed success by players and operators but one of the key factors for any virtual games success is the maths of virtual sports, which is an easy proposition for a sports bookmaker to understand. Virtual Sports are proven to add between 15% and 20% to your revenue at an ideal margin of 18%, which is different from selling casino games, where it is never truly clear what value a new slot game would add, the argument for virtuals is clear and concise.

Although the virtual sport betting industry was born in the UK, it has quickly expanded globally, with the legalisation of virtuals in Italy proving a massive growth opportunity. With these clear benefits to the operator the last 10 years has seen a growth in virtual suppliers entering the space to gain a slice of this ever-increasing market.

As a first adopter of virtuals, the question for VSoftCo has been how do you define yourself in an increasingly competitive market place? The core to the strategy of VSoftCo, can be defined in three simple concepts, celebrating our differences by thinking outside the box and expanding beyond virtuals.

Celebrating Our Differences

The core principle to the VSoftCo strategy has been to celebrate our differences from our competitors. Although other suppliers try to make claims about their technology we are the only supplies who provides a real time virtual game. This means every game is a unique instance and not built from a library of pre-rendered clips. We expanded this concept through working with players of Sheffield United Football Club to accentuate and embrace our differences.

Consequently, VSoftCo is the only provider in which the virtual game is 100% motion captured using professional footballers, so the players movements truly replicate the action that occurs in a real football match. The increased library of motion capture sequences means that each match has over 2.5 million different outcomes and allows us to incorporate changes to real football such as the new kick off sequence easily and seamlessly into the game.

The real time technology allows for unique bet markets such as first goal scorer, which accounts for 30% of bets and is the most popular bet type on the market, closely followed by 1×2. VSoftCo also used our real time rendered technology to be the first certified supplier of virtual league football in Italy. Although other operators had embraced the black market, VSoftCo stayed true to our principal of only working in regulated markets. The real time rendered technology allowed us to quickly adapt our single game to fulfil the key requirement of ensuring every betable event was visually displayed.

Thinking Outside The Box:

In addition to unique technology that clearly defines VSoftCo as different, it is clearly not enough. So in mid-2016 it was decided to adopt a strategy to work with known brands, to create a branded experience of players. From experience we have all seen the success of branded slot content so it was a simple decision for VSoftCo to enter into an agreement with Striker, to create the first branded virtual football game.

The benefit of this brand, is the passion that has come from Striker to create not just a virtual football game but a virtual football league. It would have been easy to simply just take the characters and put them in the game. However, as always at VSoftCo we go the extra mile, the events of the Warbury Warrior’s matches in our virtual league will influence the outcome of the comic story line, which is shown in The Sun and on the Striker YouTube channel.

Looking past a virtual football league the team are currently working on a Fantasy sport version of VStriker, which will allow a new vertical for followers of Striker and fantasy sports betting to follow. The concept of fantasy betting on a virtual following league is exciting for both VSoftCo and operators.

VSoftCo stand at SiGMA17

Expanding Beyond Verticals:

It has become clear over the last two years, as we have developed into the home of virtual football that this concept could be expanded into casino gaming. A plan has been put together to develop bespoke casino football content so that gaming operators know we are truly the Omni channel kings for football content in the gaming space.

The first foray of VSoftCo into this market has been warmly received. Spot the Ball, takes virtual football into the casino market. It combines pre-rendered virtual football clips with the well-known concept of Spot the Ball and roulette. Bringing a whole new fun dimension to all the time classic game of roulette. Associating roulette, virtual football and Spot the Ball has bought a fast paced, fun and exciting game to the player. With gaming operators competing to be the first to take this fun and exciting concept into both the online and retail space.

Plans are afoot to quickly add to this first game, with branded slots for Striker being developed and another fun roulette game called Boot For Loot being developed.

All of the above combined with VSoftCo’s flexible remote game server, means that for the first time, virtual football content and casino content can be delivered in an Omni-channel environment to operators through one simple integration. The journey over the last ten years has been fun as VSoftCo has developed to compete in a expanding market place. However, it is clear by working with existing partners, the path to expansion through celebrating our difference, thinking outside the box and expanding into new gaming virtuals, VSoftCo is an exciting proposition for a gaming operator whichever global market they operate in.

 

SBTech Breaks New Ground in Live Betting with Pulse

Acclaimed provider unveils latest in-play release at ICE 2018

Leading sports betting solutions provider SBTech has released Pulse, an innovation in live betting that is expected to shake up the sector considerably.

Speaking just after the unveiling, Ian Bradley, SBTech Chief Product Officer, commented, “Pulse is SBTech’s new take on live betting and appeals to players by offering them the chance to win progressively rising payouts. They must hold their nerve during the bet period, but the win will be that much sweeter if they hold out until the end!”

Inspired by principles of gamification, Pulse (patent pending) is designed to offer an entirely fresh in-play experience, reaching better levels of engagement and brand loyalty across the global SBTech operator network.

Pulse puts the player at the heart of the action, enabling bet placement on a specific outcome in a live event within a defined time period, with the potential payout increasing as the timeline progresses.

Pulse was unveiled to betting and gaming industry executives on Tuesday afternoon, at the SBTech Stand S3-110 during the opening day of ICE 2018.

Having been known for innovation in live betting for many years with features such as Fast Markets, Partial Cash Out and most recently Add2Bet and Action Betting, SBTech has now raised the in-play bar with the emphatic rollout of Pulse, the new centrepiece of its premium sportsbook offering.

The company once again won Best Sportsbook Supplier and Best Live Betting provider at the leading industry awards ceremonies in 2017, and entered key partnerships with a host of tier 1 operators. It also launched in a number of newly-regulated markets, and SBTech now looks to leverage Pulse to achieve even greater success for its international partners.

Find a link to the new launch here.

 

How Greyhound Racing Can Meet the Need for Short Form Betting Opportunities

Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS, believes the sport’s short-form content is the perfect fit for bettors looking for quick and easy betting opportunities

Consumer habits are changing at a faster rate than ever before with the proliferation of technological advancements in all areas of our lives. Consumers now demand and expect immediacy and simplicity with everything they do whether it is banking, grocery shopping or in their leisure time. Betting is no different, and bettors today are looking for frequent and relatively easy betting opportunities.

Short-form Betting for Shorter Attention Spans

The most obvious example of quick-fire sports betting is the wide range of in-play markets, which now outstrip ante-post wagering on big televised events such as football.

Like football, greyhound racing has been entertaining sports bettors both on course and in-shop for generations, particularly in its heartlands like the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Unlike a football match where there may be a relatively small number of betting spikes, greyhound races last around 30 seconds and occur every 8 to 10 minutes throughout the day, representing a significant opportunity for frequent and quick betting, which should resonate with today’s customers wherever they are in the world.

Results are also always known within a short, defined period of time, so there is never a need to wait on the outcome, for example, of the bet placed in the first minute of a game in the 90th minute. On greyhound races, the customer gets the satisfaction and thrill of an outcome quickly, and that means the whole engagement is positive.

Engaging the Masses

A great opportunity exists for operators and greyhound racing to also engage new audiences as it has all of the raw ingredients to appeal to them. The younger demographic may not have grown up with the live greyhound stadium experience or have seen greyhounds in betting shops, and may even be in a country with no cultural references to this type of racing.

Yet if operators and suppliers tackle this educational issue, I’m convinced that the sport and its short form betting opportunities will fit very well with the younger bettor.

Greyhound races are quick and simple to understand, there are always the same number of runners, the race distances and conditions are relatively constant and therefore, reading form is that much more straightforward which is why offering more of this type of short form content can lead to more people engaging with the sport.

Improving Stickiness

Content has been, and always will be king in the betting and gaming industry. Retail and online bookmakers are always looking for events which can not only fill schedules, but keep people within their retail outlets or actively engaged online.

Short form betting can provide an effective solution to this challenge, particularly with greyhound racing, as the short duration of the races means that much more can be shown across the day.

At SIS, we’re focused on maximising value for bookmakers by creating these events for greyhound and horse racing. Through the SIS Greyhound Service, races are shown every 8-10 minutes, which in turn increases well time on websites and inside betting shops.

 

New Sports Betting Solution by ASG

Aspire Global integrating new sports book featuring Robotip v1.0

ASG (Aspire Global) has enhanced its offer by adding sports betting to the company’s portfolio. This move is part of the company’s long-term plan for strategic growth to adapt to the  rapidly-growing list of international clients.

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Aspire Global at SiGMA17

Originally planned to go live on karamba.com, one of ASG most popular proprietary brands, the sportsbook featuring the fully automatic and easy-to-integrate widget “Robotip v1.0” will be integrated.

By scanning pre-match and live football betting markets for the customer, Robotip v1.0 instantly recommends live bets when certain scenarios occur – to drive engagement, loyalty and profitability.

The feature enables the players to spend less time finding bets rather than placing them and taking joy in the action itself. This offer will be exclusively available on Aspire Global’s platform.

Every month, over 65,000 events will be offered on the comprehensive sportsbook out of which 20,000 live betting events will be provided by SBTech.

Over the coming months additional cutting-edge functionalities such as Full and Partial Cash Out, Fast Markets and a broad range of additional features will be rolled out.

Aspire Global’s casino solution is now completed by an industry-leading sports betting offer. Additionally, a wide range of supplementary value services was added, such as comprehensive Sports CRM lifecycle management, a dedicated sports segmentation and fully-managed trading settings.

 

Verizon Considering Sports Betting Move

According to Bloomberg reports, US telecommunications giant Verizon is considering a move into the sports betting market

This news follows Verizon ’s 2017 purchase of Yahoo, which included its fantasy sports business. Sources say the telecommunications firm has already consulted expertise to assess the feasibility of a potential expansion, in the event of US regulatory developments.

As things stand, Nevada is the only US state that allows sports betting, but the state of New Jersey is currently challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This could potentially open up the market to more US states, and the ongoing case will likely be a major factor in Verizon’s eventual decision.

Bloomberg’s sources remain unnamed, but their coverage did feature a quote from Verizon chief financial officer Matt Ellis, outlining potential changes.

“There are some changes coming that we pay attention to; we stay close to that to see how it would affect our asset and how we may choose to respond,” Ellis said.

“I’ve not looked at anything in detail; if someone has an idea around it, I’ll look at it like any other. We are not getting ahead of ourselves there.”

According to Bloomberg’s sources, Verizon had already considered a similar expansion in the past, but balked in the face of casinos’ dominance of the market at the time.

Under PASPA, it is illegal for governmental entities to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise betting, gambling or wagering schemes that are based on games played by amateur or professional athletes.

The US Supreme Court has begun preliminary proceedings on the New Jersey case, but a final decision is not likely to be handed down until June.

 

 

Video Gaming and iGaming Expected to Collide

Oulala CEO makes bold claims as ICE London 2018 beckons

The iGaming biz might be in for some unique challenges as a potential online gambling liberalisation in the USA looms large on the horizon, according to Valery Bollier, CEO of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform provider Oulala.

Speaking at various industry events in 2017, Valery Bollier made the bold claim that the video gaming industry stands to colonise the iGaming market, and claims some movement has already been to that end.

”We have already seen the decisive first step of the video gaming industry in our direction with the launch of a loot box system,” he says. For instance, Star Wars Battlefront II allows players to pay real money to access a “loot box” with an unknown reward.

Oulala‘s CEO also referenced Rockstar’s recent announcement that the next instalment in the GTA series will feature an online money poker and casino game within gameplay. ”With GTA V being the fastest-selling entertainment product in human history, this should be seen as a critical warning for the future of our industry,” Bollier claims. ”It’s simple: the video gaming industry perfectly understands the expectations of the 18-35 age range market, dominated by millennials, and by introducing elements of luck in their skill games, they begin to offer the best of both worlds. By doing so, they are erasing any competitive advantage that our sector could possibly offer. They are making sure that, even as they age, the customers will stick with them because they are catering to all their present, and likely their future, expectations.”

Bollier argues that if GTA VI had to make a foray into iGaming industry staples like casino and poker, their existing client base would prove to be a massive competitive edge, and would stand to grow significantly as they draw on the huge potential of the iGaming market.

With regard to the upcoming ICE London 2018, Bollier expects the American delegation will be out in force, alongside the Maltese and the Italian contingents.

”While there seems to be a lot of optimism, as many within the iGaming industry see the evolution of the legislation in the US states as another gold rush, the reality may prove to be very different. If the US market opens, the video gaming industry is in the perfect position to be the only winner because the massive size of their customer base, power, budget, and talent,” Bollier argues.

Despite some industry insiders being skeptical of his statements, Bollier believes the situation is becoming critical, but can yet be overcome through massive reinvestment in the current offer, and a greater understanding of the needs of potential younger customers. ”At Oulala, we believe that adopting DFS is not the only move required since reshaping one’s entire offer is also necessary, however it is a highly significant step in the process,” Bollier explains. “Oulala would thus be the perfect partner. We understand the challenges operators face and we have customizable solutions that were built specifically for the industry. Oulala is creating a solid long-term bridge between the younger generations and iGaming operators.”

Oulala’s CEO is keen to speak with anyone that is interested in hearing more about the way iGaming companies can capitalise on the World Cup by offering their clients DFS.

The Oulala team will be available for meetings at the ExCel London, the main expo venue, from the 6th to 8th of February (10am to 6pm). You can get in touch by contacting the company’s business development director Oliver Niner at oniner@oulala.com.

 

The Future of Virtual Sports: A Global Level Phenomenon

The growth of Virtual sports continues at different rates – all around the world

SiGMA met Golden Race CEO, Martin Wachter who gave his personal insight into the future of virtual sports. He is sure that virtual sports are a huge part of the future of the sports-betting industry, even despite being a saturated market.

For instance, the Nigerian market is growing. Meanwhile, Latin American and Asian punters are warming to virtual sports, although in Latin America that has taken more time than anticipated, and many companies have fallen short in that market.

While the European market has felt some slow down, markets such as Nigeria, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia are huge, and Golden Race is already operating and seeing great success in all of them.

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Golden Race at SiGMA17

How can growth continue? How can we ensure the future? Instead of going for a pretty picture, our focus on the perfect betting experience – because that is what players want.

The options and features which real sports gamblers love are, for example, multi-event betting across different sports, combination bets, bonuses, and connected jackpot prizes.
From a management perspective, virtual sports are unbeatable. Complete control of odds and limits, jackpots, scheduling of games,
backed by certified RNG and licenced by various regulatory bodies for total security and peace of mind.

We made a decision more than 10 years ago to do things differently. The market is full of companies whose main goal is purely visual. Admittedly, the products are truly beautiful, but more important, and what Golden Race focuses on, is the complete experience for players, and the most flexible and cost-effective solutions for operators.

Having the best-looking product means nothing if it takes a huge amount of time and work to make even the smallest changes, as is the case with any pre-rendered 3D game. At the end of the day, players prefer to go home with a real gaming experience far more than something which just looks nice.

A lot of effort goes into the creation of realistic odds models based on statistics to create realistic odds from in-house professional bookmakers. They are regularly updated and individual odds for each and every individual game, and also for each and every different virtual league competition are created. Using real sports commentators for in- game voiceovers, and collaborating with real cameramen, rounds out an authentic experience.

That is the future of virtual sports, and indeed a key to the company’s on-going growing successes – delivering a true sports betting experience which players recognise as the same as the real thing, and one which operators can manage, tweak, and fine tune to their specific business needs.

While we will never lose enjoyment from real sports, and players will always enjoy betting on them, the future of virtual sports remains bright for any company that delivers the same betting experience in a lightweight and flexible way.

Will eSports Betting Continue to Grow in 2018?

Industry Growth Shows No Sign of Slowdown

There’s plenty of debate online about whether eSports should actually be called a sport at all, but whatever your position on it, competitive video gaming and the betting associated with it are both growing, and fast. A recent Business Insider article on the subject predicted that revenue from betting, sponsoring and advertising could reach $800m by 2019, almost doubling the size of the money generated by the burgeoning industry when compared with the figures for 2017. That is an explosive growth by any standards, and with sites as esportbets.se springing up all over the web, the growth is  clearly organic and driven by eSports enthusiasts. That is a healthy indicator of a non-commercially driven, short-lived fad, but of something that is here to stay at the behest of the global eSports community.

So, will eSports continue to grow? Let’s first take a look at what eSports really mean, and how the industry has grown over the past few years.

What Exactly are eSports?

Many people feel that the term ‘eSports’ is a bit of a misnomer, since no actual physical movement is involved (apart from the thumbs) in most cases. eSports, broadly defined, involves competitive video gaming on games like Halo, Call of Duty, and Street Fighter, with both solo players and entire teams battling it out for dominance in leagues and tournaments.

A lot of eSports activity takes place from home, but things have grown so much in recent years that there are now actual eSports tournaments held in physical locations around the world. Some serious cash prizes are up for grabs, and unsurprisingly, a huge betting market has sprung up around eSports.

To put it simply, eSports is any form of organized, competitive video gaming…and it’s growing rapidly.

How Much Has eSports Grown and How Much Will it Grow by in the Coming Years?

While nobody has a crystal ball which can predict the future perfectly, we can look at past and present trends to make some reasonable predictions about where eSports might end up within the next few years.

According to NewZoo, a market intelligence firm with its finger on the pulse of the eSports industry, the total number of people participating in eSports as players, spectators, and bettors, was around 235 million in 2015. That mushroomed to 385 million in 2017, showing well over 50% growth. As far as revenue goes, the industry generated $325 million in 2015, and a whopping $696 million in 2017, effectively doubling in two years and indicating exponential growth in eSports financials. If these trends are anything to go by, the next few years look very bright indeed.

What could drive the growth going forward? A few factors spring to mind.

First, more and more people are coming online every year, and it stands to reason that a certain number of them will be interested in eSports. Roughly 3 billion people are yet to come online in the coming years, increasing the pool of potential eSports enthusiasts dramatically.

With projects like OneWeb edging closer by the day, the speed at which these people come online will only increase. The ever increasing affordability of laptops and devices capable of bringing potential participants online will also drive this growth. Increased demand is one of the fundamentals of growth in any industry, eSports included.

Second, technological advancements like the rise of virtual reality will only make eSports more enjoyable, realistic, and competitive. As the prospect of living out a real-to-life shoot ‘em up tournament grows closer by the day, so will the number of people interested in participating in eSports. Lastly, as the prize pools continue to increase, and more and more gambling sites adopt eSports betting, the number of people getting involved for sheer financial gain will increase. There are few incentives greater than money in the pocket, and as the number of ways to profit from eSports continues to grow, so too will the number of people who want to get involved.

Of course, it is impossible to pinpoint an exact figure on how much the industry will be worth in the future, but going back to NewZoo’s data again, the figure is estimated to be well over $1 billion and close to 600 million people involved by 2020.

If there is an industry to get involved in, eSports would be it. 2018 looks very bright indeed, and we can safely say that betting on eSports will not just grow, it will skyrocket in the coming year and those that follow it.

Tipico Signs New Deal With the German Football League DFL

Tipico is sponsoring the first and second Bundesliga
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Tipico at SiGMA 2017

Tipico has signed a deal with the DFL (German Football League) to become a sponsor of the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga domestic club competitions.

The sports betting company will now become the official sponsor of both competitions until the end of the season 2020/2021, which allows the company to use the respective logos for advertising matters.

Tipico will be an official partner of both competitions and receive rights to use their respective logos in its advertising campaigns.

Starting from the 2018/2019 season, Tipico will have the first-right option in DFL media contracts and a so-called ‘matching offer right’. These concern several kinds of advertising for national licensees as well as exclusivity for corresponding bookings within the sector.

In addition, Tipico will benefit from promotions across all official DFL platforms through a package of digital rights, but the deal does not include the commercial use of club rights.