The UK Gambling Commission recently released a paper addressing several issues surrounding esports.
The UK Gambling Commission (“UKGC”) recently released a paper focussed in and around virtual currencies, esports and social casino gaming. The paper seeks to “balance an interpretation of the legal framework governing remote gambling in Great Britain with an assessment of where interactive entertainment has crossed, or is in danger of crossing boundaries into licensable gambling activities”.
The report outlined that 8.5% of adults have bet on esports, with 90% revealing that they’ve bet with in-game items; i.e. skin betting. Additionally, 42% of esports bettors have been identified as female and 44% lie within the 25-34 age bracket.
It goes on to discuss integrity in esports, and the dangers to children as there’s clearly a substantial esports following that lie below the legal age to gamble. It clarifies and defines the shady skin betting industry which many outside of esports still haven’t quite got to grips with yet. It expands upon the recent FUT Galaxy case in which two YouTubers were fined heavily for their involvement in running a skin site and facilitating underaged gambling.
James Watson, Head of Esports at Sportradar told TG: “The clear stance from the Gambling Commission is quite refreshing in an industry where it’s sometimes not clear what’s black, white or somewhere in between. Overall, the position paper is well thought out and clearly researched in all the key areas, including some of the finer details around “cases” and “crates”, which not many have considered with such authority.
The FutGalaxy case sets a clear precedent for advertising unregulated betting services to minors, and I must commend the UKGC’s note of taking a look at both social media and streaming platforms as a source of this advertising. Fortunately there has been quite a downturn in the prevalence of these sites in recent months, which is a positive step in bringing the esports gambling industry into a much healthier and regulated space.
On the topic of integrity, Sportradar are industry leaders in this space and welcome any attempt to improve the overall legitimacy of esports. As close partners of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), we are actively engaged in the fight against match-fixing at all levels. Although the industry is admittedly very fragmented still and the onus to look after integrity still falls largely upon the tournament organisers, Sportradar will continue to support all stakeholders, from the grassroots level all the way to publishers and developers.”