Sky Sports is planning a documentary on eSports betting and its producers are promising it won’t be a hatchet job.
On Monday, a filmmaker named Joel Dale began a thread on Reddit in which he asked eSports gamers who had been “seriously affected by gambling” to contact him regarding a documentary his JBD Productions had been commissioned to produce for Sky.
Initial reaction to Dale’s request was skeptical, with players expressing concerns that the finished product would be a sensationalist fearmongering piece. But Dale insisted that he and his unidentified partner were avid players of Counterstrike; Global Offensive and were “not here to destroy what we love.”
Dale said his intention was to tell the story of the “good and bad points of gambling within the gaming industry.” However, he later revealed that he and his partner “have a problem with gambling and want to know if anyone else has experienced this within eSports.” Dale later told PCGamesN.com that he and his partner had spent “five figures” on CS:GO betting using both skins and real money.
But Dale reiterated that he remained interested in the positive aspects of eSports betting, including the influx of cash into tournaments via betting sponsorship deals and the growth opportunities provided by this new and significant revenue stream. Dale envisions a production timeline for his documentary of “2-3 months,” although he acknowledged this was subject to change.
There’s no question that traditional bookmakers have been scrambling to embrace the eSports boom. Last week, UK bookie William Hill announced that it had taken a £150k stake in Manchester-based eSports startup BetGame, which allows two people to place wagers on the outcome of a console or PC video game. The BetGame app plans to launch in March, in time for the release of FIFA 2016.