January 18, 2017
Unikrn (the E-sports specialist) announced last week that it has made an investment in the newly-formed e-sports team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Berlin International Gaming. Unikrn’s investment has been given the all-clear by the UK Gambling Commission but, as Steve Ketteley (co-head of Wiggin’s betting and gaming practice) points out in comments that were included in an article on the Gambling Compliance website, such deals have a tendency to raise more questions than is the case with traditional sports.
The relationship between betting companies and sport in general prompts interesting conversations with regard to integrity. In his comments Steve Ketteley said it would be wrong to “presuppose” integrity issues in relation to football clubs and betting industry-related owners, and that “football clubs and betting companies are heavily regulated within stable and mature frameworks… If the gambling operator in question is highly regulated (as Unikrn is) then the risk, to the extent there is any, is associated with the nascent nature of the e-sports industry as compared with football.”
Steve went on to say, “The whole ecosystem — from team ownership to leagues to representative bodies — is developing. I still think those asking questions about integrity issues will do so from a position of relative ignorance, without understanding the level of regulation gambling operators are subject to”.