The global online gambling company Betway has announced a year-long sponsorship deal with Invictus Gaming, but how long will it last with Valve looking to pull the plug on Dota 2 teams’ relationship with the world of gambling?
Like the tortoise following the rabbit, I’m a little behind on this one. I’ve been bent over too long, checking my tyres for air.
Who to call?
I want to leap into the air and grab hold of the fan. It’s the quickest way to see all of the exits; much faster than Jason Bourne’s theory of all things soon to be fucked.
Like Betway’s position in the world of Dota 2.
Earlier this month, while I was explaining to Harold that rain in Southern Australia is like gold, and that rain in Manchester is, well, rain in Manchester, the top betting ensemble, Betway, signed a deal that would see their brand logo stick to the jerseys of the esports team Invictus Pro like Venom sticks to the face of Tom Hardy.
The timing was Beethoven Moonlight perfect as Invictus Gaming prepared to enter The Rogers Arena in Vancouver in search of their second Dota 2 International title. Onwards, beyond that unforeseen future, the pair would hold hands, and take trips through the woods for a year at least.
Betway’s Managing Director, Anthony Werkman, spoke of his delight at entering the Dota 2 market through this new relationship calling Invictus Gaming a ‘strong brand’ with a ‘rich history’ in esports.
But not everyone is a happy-pappy Werkman.
Valve Want to Shut Gambling Firms Out
Video game developer, Valve, gave birth to The International back in 2011, and new signings Invictus Gaming won the tournament in 2012, banking the $1m first prize.
If I had written that paragraph back in 2012, I would have inserted the word ‘unthinkable’ before the dollar sign, as right now, Invictus Gaming and 15 other teams are competing for the first prize of more than $10m.
It’s turned into a big business.
That’s why Betway wants in.
But Valve wants them out.
During a tete-a-tete with International teams before the start of the event, Valve urged them to disassociate with gambling brands, according to numerous press reports.
In Sep 2016, Betway entered into a sponsorship deal with the Swedish esports giant, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), worth a reported six-figures.
Werkman stated that they had seen ‘incredible success in CSGO’ and their relationship with NiP will be central to that. Betway tried to replicate that success on the League of Legends circuit but were shut down by Riot Games who pointed out that sponsorship deals promoting gambling didn’t adhere to the tournament’s TOCs.
NiP removed the Betway logo from their LOL shirts, and only time will tell if this latest relationship will be over equally as rapid.
It’s not just esports.
In July, The Guardian ran a piece focused on anti-gambling campaigners suggesting that the number of betting firms sponsoring football teams in the UK was ‘disturbing’ with 17 of 24 Championship sides and nine of the 20 Premier League clubs having sponsorship deals with gambling companies.
The two go together like Japan and tip-top tax drivers.
Get with the program.