E-sports betting platform Unikrn now has a license that clears the way to allow legal, live-betting on competitive video games.
A wagering license approved by the Isle of Man on Tuesday allows Unikrn to roll out e-sports wagering in more than 20 countries across Europe and Asia, as well as the U.S. Unikrn, whose investors include Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, and Elisabeth Murdoch, previously held licenses that allowed real-money betting on e-sports in the United Kingdom and Australia, according to the Associated Press.
In the U.S., spectator betting will not be allowed. But skill-based betting on games such as Fortnite and League of Legends has been approved, which means gamers will be able to wager on their own abilities. After verifying their age and location, players will receive odds from the Unikrn platform based on their profiles within the games. The skill-based betting will go live in 41 states—at least, at some point. There is currently no date set for the platform’s skill-based wagering rollout.
Meanwhile, gamblers in countries with legalized sports betting will be able to make odds bets on major e-sports competitions, such as the League of Legends World Championship, which takes place November 3, 2018.
Unikrn was founded in 2014 by Rahul Sood, who told the AP, “There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering.” Sood estimates e-sports betting could become a $9 billion industry by 2020.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize e-sports betting. But there’s another—likely less risky—way to bet on online gaming: investing in e-sports. Tech experts like Meg Whitman, the former head of eBay and Hewlett-Packard, are bullish on the future of e-sports.