The world of esports is an exciting opportunity for operators, but there’s still plenty to figure out before it grows in terms of market share. SIS is looking to solve those questions sooner than later, and Betting Commercial Director Paul Witten joined CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero to talk about it.
The company was coming off their ICE London announcement of SIS Competitive Gaming when Witten spoke to us, and he sees it as the best chance to broaden the appeal of esports betting. “It’s the first ever esports product designed for betting,” he said. “So what we’ve launched is, live from Las Vegas, head to head competitive gaming, and you’ll have seen the guys playing ice hockey, this is a game designed for sports betting. It’s not an esports game that people have betting on, this is a game designed for sports betting.”
That broader appeal will help operators who are still frustrated about low esports handle numbers, but there’s still a lot of logistics to figure out. SIS believe they’ve covered all their bases. “With integrity from ESIC and ESIG managers, the pricing for both pre-match and in-play is being done by SIS trading teams in London,” Witten explains. “We’re putting that all together to create a feed for betting operators of effectively live sport, head to head gaming, with a pricing fee for pre-match and in-play. We’ve done a load of research with both operators and with end consumers.”
The appeal to the common sports fan is in products like football, hockey, and fighting games, which have a much more well-known mechanics than the typical esports fare of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. “This is the sort of bridge product that people think, ‘Yeah, I’m a sports bettor, but I understand it, because its ice hockey and its Street Fighter, I would bet on this,’” Witten said. “And it’s also for those guys who are playing esports but not betting, an easy entry into the world of, ‘I understand this esports thing and how it works. I’m going to play it.’ So SIS Competitive Gaming is the sort of bridge between the two worlds, and the interest has been amazing.”
One of the bigger concerns around esports has been about match fixing. SIS has thought of that as well. “When you see it, we have a head to head competition, two players against each other, and in between them is an integrity manager,” he explained. “So that integrity manager is fully trained, our partners are ESIC compliant out of Vegas, so we’ve got every box covered. I mean, you can’t get better than with somebody eyeballs on the players.”
Even if that system fails, SIS is committed to listening to the player and stamping out any corruption in the game. He told us:
“We’ve got the live links into our customer base, if they see something that we haven’t, or that our integrity manager hasn’t, they can pick us up, ring the phone, and we can take immediate action. We’re controlling the game, controlling the action, so if there’s any doubt about integrity, we’ll cut it straight away. I’m not expecting it, we’ve ticked every box, as I say, and I’m really confident about it.”