Go to any casino in Las Vegas, and you're bound to find a portion of it dedicated to sports betting. From horse racing to the NBA Finals, any sport imaginable can have bets with thousands of casino visitors betting on the outcome, so it's no surprise that eSports has a place in the betting scene as well.
Unikrn is a website that provides wagering services on popular eSports titles such as League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, and the website is getting an extra boost in funding thanks to an investment group called Binary Capital.
The funding amounts to $7 million from the group alone. Binary Capital is led by Jonathan Teo, a former Google executive, and Justin Caldbeck, who previously worked as the managing director for Lightspeed Ventures, another investment firm.
Combined with other investors, which includes Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the amount of money put into Unikrn is valued at $10 million. However, Unikrn still has a long way to go in terms of expanding its market. At the moment, only residents in the UK, Ireland and Australia can legally bet on eSports events through the site. Legal issues prevent the site from operating in other countries, but the company hopes to change that in the future.
Nevertheless, this is another sign that eSports continues to grow in terms of viewership. Games like League of Legends and Dota 2 both have millions of viewers watching all kinds of related content, from a series of casual games to professional championship events such as The International and the League of Legends Championship Series. Additionally, these events offer large amounts of money to the winning team as well as other top finishers. For 2015, The International will have a prize pool of about $14.8 million, and it could go higher depending if customers continue to buy The Compendium, a digital item that provides in-game items.
It will take some time for Unikrn to grow, but if it continues to gather investors and raise its wagering profile in other countries, you might soon be able to watch your favorite eSport and bet on the outcome from the floor of Caesar's Palace or the MGM Grand.