Luckbox become the first crypto-based esports betting platform to receive a gambling license under the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), issued by the Isle of Man’s Gaming Supervision Commission, and Lee Davy sits down with Luckbox CEO, Lars Lien, to talk about it.
Cryptocurrency is a thing.
Gambling tugs on everyone’s ding-a-ling.
So, Luckbox is in the right place.
I admire the start-up, not least because it’s like a dry skeleton polished by the wind, so transparent, you can see their internal organs.
And that’s a good thing; it embodies trust because integrity, honesty and transparency are important values for this group of former PokerStars employees hellbent on creating the best goddam crypto-esports betting platform in the business.
And this week, they’ve taken a giant stride towards achieving that goal.
Let’s find out what it is, straight from the boss’s mouth.
Here is Luckbox, CEO, Lars Lien.
When it comes to obtaining a full gambling license from the Isle of Man Gaming Commission, how does it differ when you’re a cryptocurrency esports project?
Well, we are the first project of our type to hold this level of licence. That is, we are the first esports betting platform supported by cryptocurrency to be awarded a licence under the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), issued by the Isle of Man’s Gaming Supervision Commission. Some of the other actors in the space are operating with licences that are, shall we say, less rigorous and then there are some that don’t have a licence at all.
For us, the process has been detailed, with a huge amount of due diligence to complete. It’s been great to have an open dialogue with the regulator, we’ve worked closely with the GSC to highlight our integrity, show how our project will be credible, most importantly, offer protection to players just like any other traditional major bookmaker.
Lee Hills, our head of legal and regulatory affairs, has worked with the GSC previously several times, including on a crypto project, and he has been instrumental in making it happen. We’re really grateful to the GSC for being forward-thinking and open-minded to the possibilities we offer.
What is the significance of getting this licence?
It’s the most important milestone for Luckbox so far. We have made regulatory compliance such a high priority as something that sets us apart from many similar projects and, obviously, holding a top-tier licence is central to that.
It also underpins our whole approach. Most of the senior team have experience with major operators, so are used to thinking big. This type of licence gives us access to mainstream marketing channels and, importantly, mobile app stores.
It’s also a huge boost for our team and the contributors who supported us through our crowdsale, showing that we have been able to accomplish one of the most challenging parts of the puzzle as we prepare to launch.
What countries can you do business in now you have this license?
In short, we can operate in any jurisdiction it is legal to do so, where a local licence is not required. We have identified the regions we will target first from a marketing perspective but also which local licences we will aim for as a priority.
What are the implications for the wider industry?
It’s been our intention from the outset to be pioneering, and I think the successful licence application is a sign of that. We’ve set a precedent and, if we are as successful as we plan to be, others will likely try to follow in our footsteps.
We clearly believe in esports and see great value in incorporating cryptocurrency into the business model. Ultimately, it’s an exciting time for the industry.
You must be busting at the seams to get your product out there, where are you with this?
Yes, we can’t wait to get it out there now. We’re working towards having the full product ready early in 2019.
It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve worked hard to recruit quality developers capable of building a high-end and unique product.
As well as product development, we have been finalising our go-to-market strategy, and in the weeks between now and launch, we plan to show elements of the product to our community, and we will ask for their feedback – this will be a key part of our development process.
We’ll also be announcing some of the third-party partners we’ve agreed to work with. With these and the licence in place, the team is now able to focus fully on delivering Luckbox.
Mark Scheinberg once gave you the advice, ‘don’t overanalyse, do the right thing,’ what are you overanalysing at the moment?
Haha. Well, it hasn’t always been easy to heed such advice. If I’m being honest, the element that has consumed much of my focus in the past couple of weeks has been the product. We’ve been confident about getting the licence for some time, so my attention has switched to how the developers are progressing and, I’m delighted to say, Luckbox is looking amazing – so cool.
When you’re so deeply emotionally invested in a project, it’s hard to step back. Fortunately, in the past few months, we’ve added such quality to the senior team, I’m able to take a step back and see the bigger picture – to see how all the different workstreams are progressing – which, I think, is how it should be.
What’s the plan for the next 12 months?
It’s going to be pretty full-on. The coming weeks will see us complete the product and test it. There’s likely to be a closed beta launch and then full launch with a significant marketing drive, of course. We have some big plans when it comes to partnerships – both operational and commercial but I can’t say more about that just yet.
We will also apply for local licences in the areas we have targeted – including the UK and continue to bolster our team.
The next 2-3 years?
The next couple of years will be about continually adding to the product, improving the customer offering, building our own bespoke features and expanding into more regions. So far we’ve been at the forefront of what is such a rapidly evolving space, so I am sure there will be other exciting opportunities that come along too. I can’t wait.