The 2022 World Cup and Crypto Sports Betting

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The next weeks may bring more changes to the betting industry, as Qatar hosts the world’s largest sports betting event. Much like the Super Bowl or the Wimbledon final, the World Cup is one of those exceptional sporting events that manages to capture the interest of nearly everyone in the world.

It should come as no surprise that it is also a very big deal from the point of view of the global sports betting sector. Consider the staggering total of $133.7 billion that was gambled on the 2018 World Cup, which was held in Russia.

The World Cup finals brought in roughly $8.2 billion in wagers, compared to around $6 billion for the most recent Super Bowl. Bets on Qatar 2022 are expected to exceed those placed on Russia 2018 by a significant margin, according to industry analysts.

In 2018, a very tiny subset of the betting industry was focused on the World Cup using cryptocurrency. Additionally, most of the people there were early adopters and crypto industry experts.

In only the last four years, that subset of the betting sector has seen immeasurable transformation. More and more people who wager on sports and play casino games are opting to do it using cryptocurrency.

Online gaming platforms are also evolving to meet this need. Today, Bitcoin is accepted as a form of payment by a growing number of recognizable brands, alongside traditional payment methods like credit cards and e-wallets.

More Than Betting

Bookmakers are not the only ones keeping crypto in the news during the World Cup, though. Many prominent cryptocurrency companies are now sponsors, a development not without controversy. This is to be anticipated, particularly when taking into account the fact that the cryptocurrency industry has experienced its fair share of highs and lows in recent times.

One prominent cryptocurrency exchange, for instance, officially backed out of a five-year, almost $500 million sponsorship arrangement with FIFA. Additionally, Everton supporters have demanded that the club cut ties with a major crypto-gambling provider that has been a sponsor of the team.

Naturally, there are still many kinks to work out, but it’s encouraging to see how far we have come. Regular sports fans will certainly come to realize the various advantages of cryptocurrencies as the public’s familiarity with them grows. This simplified, secure, and user-friendly system allows fans to place bets and collect their winnings in a flash. And that is just the beginning.

Crypto and Sports Betting Apps Reaping the Benefits of Super Bowl Ads

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This year’s NFL Super Bowl went down in history as one of the most memorable ones. From outstanding performances to great games and a massive turnout, it is certainly going to linger in our minds for much longer. One of the other things that really stood out about the Super Bowl was the fact that crypto and sports betting ads appeared several times during the event.

Like previous events, the ad spots at the 2022 Super Bowl were pretty pricy. The crypto-focused businesses had to part with a pretty penny to push their marketing agenda to the huge audience at the Super Bowl. As it turns out, every second of ad time was worth it.

According to Sensor Tower, a company that specializes in data research, three of the top mobile brands that were advertised at the Super Bowl LVI were crypto apps. This is even though many of these apps were already being outspent by their traditional counterparts.

The Winners

The biggest winner turned out to be Coinbase Global Inc., one of the world’s most renowned crypto operators. Its ad was perhaps the most favorable of the bunch. That is because it was not only creative but also drove the message quite well. The response was so good that there was a massive influx of visitors who ended up crashing the company’s app. App installs have also increased significantly since.

Other crypto apps that also managed to get more followers after the Super Bowl included Etoro and FTX. Joining them were some of the most popular sports betting apps in the United States. The DraftKings sports betting app only came second to Coinbase when it comes to the number of new users it netted thanks to the Super Bowl ads. Caesars Entertainment Inc.’s sports betting offering was not far behind DraftKings.

Cause for Concern?

While these Super Bowl ads were successful, there have been a few concerns that have been aired. The issue of responsible advertising which has been a key conversation in the world of betting is also now beginning to take off in the crypto world.

Among the sentiments that were shared about the event was that it sold something other than the future that blockchain and crypto promised. These, of course, can be backed by some pretty solid points.

Still, it is worth acknowledging that crypto has indeed come a long way. Mainstream recognition like in the Super Bowl might just have opened doors to what the future of crypto and sports betting will look like.

Highlights of the IOC and GAISF’s Lausanne Esports Forum

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The Olympic Esports Forum that was held on Saturday in Lausanne, Switzerland kicked off with opening remarks from Patrick Baumann, the president of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). In his welcome speech, he said the main objective of the forum was to “build a joint understanding between the Esports community and the Olympic movement,” that involves structure and values that would set “the platform for joint engagement.”

He also pointed out that many of the stakeholders were considering the most “mutually beneficial” steps that could be taken to forward the agenda of taking Esports to the next level.

The Esports Forum majorly focused on the areas of commonality and those that offered opportunities for collaboration. This included discussions about whether Esports could be eventually recognized as a sport as well as the form that would best suit its representation within the Olympic Movement.

As it stands, there are no official organizations representing the global Esports industry and this makes it rather difficult for Esports to align itself with the Olympic values, rules, and regulations. Therefore, the forum recognized that ensuring this would be a lengthy process and so the consideration of whether Esports could be added into the Olympic program was not an immediate goal.

More than 150 representatives from various Esports and gaming companies participated alongside a large number of players, teams, publishers, sponsors, media and sponsors as well as officials from the International Sports Federation, National Olympic Committees, the International Olympic Committee and Global Association of International Sports Federations. Also in attendance were a decent number of athletes and broadcasters. Former professional basketball player, Rick Fox acted as the forum’s host moderator.

Calls for Inclusion of More Women in Esports

Among the stakeholder that attended the forum was a panel that was specifically focused on gender equality in various sectors of the Esports industry. Panelist discussed the challenges that both traditional sports and Esports have in common with regards to gender inequality.

“Women make up about 25% of the Esports player base, so why aren’t they in the top?” asked PMS Clan founder and director at Twitch, Amber Dalton. “The fact is boys start much, much earlier. I believe if we can get girls early, playing as long as boys do, we’ll get women playing […] Women and girls simply aren’t getting that exposure. We need amateur leagues to build them up for pro events later.”

These efforts are clearly a nod to the numerous female Esports teams that exist at the moment. They include an all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team known as Team Dignitas which was the first female team to win a championship for the Dignitas Organization.

“I think what’s great about esports is that we have an eco-system here where anybody can put together a tournament. There are tools and platforms available for female players to set up their own tournaments,” BITKRAFT Esports founding partner Jens Hilgers said.

International Olympic Committee to Host Esports Forum

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Esports continues to make tremendous strides towards mainstream adoption and this weekend, a forum that is scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland will outline the next step for the collaboration and possible integration of traditional sports and Esports. The forum will be attended by a number of popular Esports teams, games publishers, broadcasters and event organizers.

It will be hosted jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) with the main focus being on gaining a better understanding of Esports and therefore its suitability for possible inclusion in the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee first recognized Esports as a sports activity in 2017, something that was a clear indication that Esports was ready to take the next step – and what better way to do so than to link up with the Olympics. Already Esports boasts of over 250 million players from all around the world in a market that currently brings in more than a million dollars every year. GAISF too has taken notice of the incredible nature of Esports:

“We understand that sport never stands still and the phenomenal growth of eSports and gaming is part of its continuing evolution,” GAISF president Patrick Baumann said. “The eSports Forum provides an important and extremely valuable opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding of eSports, their impact and likely future development so that we can jointly consider the ways in which we may collaborate to the mutual benefit of all of sport in the years ahead.”

The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) revealed earlier this year that it was in talks with the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics about the incorporation of Esports as a demonstration sport at the Olympics. IeSF has since confirmed that the both the “the local Olympic organizing committee and the city are supporting this movement, so this will be a stronger message towards the IOC that eSports could be included as a demonstration title in 2024.”

The Forum Is Purely Exploratory

While the forum is certainly going to be a huge milestone in Esports’ journey, the IOC on Wednesday clarified that the forum will be “purely an exploratory meeting.” This is understandable particularly because not everyone agrees that Esports have the right qualities and therefore is not fit to be part of the Olympics. One such person is IOC President Thomas Bach who has expressed concerns that highlight the violent nature of some competitive video games.

Still, these concerns are what make the forum such a huge deal as it is then that the stakeholders from both sides can meet, interact and gain necessary understanding of the things that traditional sports and Esports have in common and the things that they do not.

McLaren Signs New Partnerships for New Esports Series

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McLaren has had its sights set on the Esports industry for quite some time now. Last year, the car manufacturer hosted the World’s Fastest Gamer, an Esports racing competition which was won by Ruby van Buren. Following the success of that particular event, McLaren has recently revealed its plans for the Esports industry and the company indeed intends to seal its place in the world of Esports with the launch of a new Esports series called ‘Shadow Project’.

The ‘Shadow Project’ Esports series is an extension of 2017’s World’s Fastest Gamer (WFG) tournament. However, unlike the WFG that was purely dependent and focused on the traditional driving simulator titles, Shadow Project will branch out and include more casual racing titles. These will even include smartphone titles like Real Racing 3 which will be played alongside established competitive gaming titles like rFactor 2, iRacing and Forza Motorsport.

The winner of this Esports series will earn a spot on the company’s newly formed Esports racing team which will further create an opportunity for them to join McLaren’s Formula 1 team as a simulation driver.

“Last year’s competition proved that the skills learned as a racing gamer are transferable to the real world. This is unique to the racing genre. We believe that Esports and real-world racing have much to learn and give to each other and last year’s competition was just the start,” Ben Payne, Mclaren Director of Esports said. “McLaren Shadow Project will be the most open and inclusive racing Esports competition on the planet. We are looking for the most talented virtual racers from all countries and backgrounds. To make this possible we have partnered with the biggest racing game brands in the world – Real Racing 3 on mobile, Forza Motorsport on Xbox, PC racing sims iRacing and rFactor 2”

The Partnerships

While Shadow Project is entirely owned by McLaren but the company has welcomed various partners including Dell’s Alienware, VR brand HTC Vive, Logitech G, Sparco Gaming, Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft. HTC Vive’s involvement is perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this development as it creates the potential for VR-enabled racing titles to be part of the line-up of the racing games the players will have to triumph at in order to claim the position of champion.


“Season one proved that Esports are a new talent frontier for motorsport and after pioneering the program in 2017, McLaren plans to develop the concept to generate greater global reach and engagement in season two. A strong, diverse Esports program has a direct benefit to McLaren’s innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners, and talent to motorsport,” says McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport Esports community.”

Disney and Nintendo Partner for Esports Competition

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In the wake of the rapid growth and immense popularity of Esports, otherwise known as competitive video gaming, the House of Mouse has launched the Nintendo Family Showdown, a new US competitive gaming contest where select families will go against each other in head to head battles in a series of Nintendo game challenges that will be broadcast across Disney’s linear and digital platforms.

To apply for the exciting new gaming event, the parents and legal caretakers of eligible kids aged between six and 18 can submit one-minute (or less) video explaining why they are the biggest fans of Nintendo. This application period began on June 18 and when it finally comes to an end, four families will ultimately be selected to compete in the Nintendo Switch Family Showdown that will be aired on Disney XD and the Disney Channel – the competition will also be streamed on the DisneyNow app later this summer.

Some of the challenges that will be featured in the competition will include searching for collectibles in the popular Super Mario Odyssey game, dance battles in Just Dance 2018, as well as head to head matchups in Mario Tennis Aces. The four lucky families that will be selected will on August 3 head to Los Angeles to meet some of the Disney Channel stars and compete in the showdown for a shot at winning the prizes that will be on offer.

Betting on Esports

This particular contest will serve as a sort of propellant of Disney’s gradual but nicely executed venture into the Esports space – it comes right in the heels of the launch of D|XP, Disney XD’s new gaming-themed programming block last summer (June 17, 2017).

The Nintendo Switch Family Showdown aside, Disney XD had already been airing original Esports content provided by Electronic Sports League (ESL). D|XP airs a number of ESL’s shows including the ESL Brawlers and ESL Speedrunners as well as a number of series produced by VICE’s Waypoint, ESPN, Disney Digital Network, Warner Bros. Television, IGN, Attack Media, Group’s Blue Ribbon Content, Banger Films and Disney Digital Network.

Nickelodeon Not Far Behind

Nickelodeon, which is considered to be Disney’s most formidable rival, has also been busy ratcheting up its growing Esports programming lineup. The most recent for the company has been its participation in the $15 million seed round of the Minecraft-centered Super Gaming League – the company added the Super League Gaming Minecraft City Champs, an Esports series that features Minecraft teams in a multi-week national tournament.

 “Nickelodeon is interested in Esports because gaming is an important passion point for kids today, and forging this partnership with Super League puts us at the forefront of where kids will be playing next,” Nickelodeon’s executive vice president Matthew Evans said in an interview with Variety last year.

Esports Shine at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

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The Esports craze has been quite a big deal in the past couple of years and if anything is to go by, this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is proof that the rapidly growing and evolving activity is here to stay. Launched in 1995, E3 is known for being a great generator of media impressions something that is currently at the center of Esports’ development hence the Esports companies are naturally drawn to the event. Besides, E3 is all about video gaming, and so is Esports which makes them, essentially, separate parts of a single but humongous entity.

In 2017, a record 68,000 people attended E3 – this included a 15,000 video game fans who took advantage of the opportunity that came with the debut of a more open system that allowed consumers to buy tickets to the sprawling industry-only trade show. This year saw even more consumer attendance and in an effort to connect with and cater to all the different facets of the audience, E3 partnered with Big Block Capital Group as well as other big brands like Volkswagen Jetta to launch Subnation.

According to Owner Big Block, one of the mentioned E3 partners, Subnation is part of a substantive push by Big Block and E3 to connect brands directly to the consumer fan base that built the gamer/Esports worlds.

“Subnation is an omnichannel media platform bringing together gaming and esports with lifestyle brands,” Big Block Capital chief executive officer, Seven Volpone said in an interview with “Subnation’s mission is to elevate this global trend, celebrating the creators, innovators, and consumers who are defining today’s gaming culture while providing brands a new forum to connect with these important and influential audiences.”

Subnation will offer a series of brand experiences, live performances as well as immersive entertainment celebrating gaming and the thriving Esports culture during the expo. There will also be a nearby after party that has been dubbed Subnation Live and it will feature a performance DeadMau5.

Volpone went further to clarify that the idea behind Subantion is to better engage and connect different brands with the expressions of culture and lifestyle that are now characteristic of both the video gaming and Esports sectors. Capitalizing on this particular areas is a vital move that will eventually bring them in on the big bucks – according to PwC, these particular sectors generated a whopping £23.4 billion in the United States in 2017.

“Esports is a really exciting avenue for Big Block. We’ve been actively involved in eSports for more than 15 years. We tend not to get involved in things just because they are the trend. We really are out there mining for the best things, before they become the best thing,” Volpone added.

Kevin Pahl Set to Represent Global Poker at the WSOP

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The Global Poker Rattlesnake Open may be over, but the leaderboard winner, Kevin ‘BUYMEDINNER’ Pahl, just got a brand new opportunity to add on to his winning by representing Global Poker at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). He will be the third player in history to represent Global Poker in the live arena, and he is going at it in a big way.

Following a great series of runs at the Global poker Championships Rattlesnake Open, the poker pro made his way up the series leaderboard and eventually finished first earning himself a $5,000 live tournament package that will cover buy-ins, travel, and accommodation.

Pahl not only intends to turn his prize package into real money winning by cashing in at WSOP, just like his predecessors did, but also to become the first person to play on behalf of Global Poker to win the coveted WSOP gold bracelet. He will be using his Global Poker tournament package at the WSOP Event #48: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em MONSTER STACK that will begin on June 23. After this, Pahl also plans to participate in the $1,100 buy-in $1 million guaranteed event at the Wynn Summer Classic that is scheduled for June 28.

“When I first started on the site, I had heard good things about Global Poker so I wanted to give it a go. I played around a bit and at the start of the year, I had SC$10 on the site. I played some SC$1 SNGs; these were going well so I moved up to the SC$6 ones. I worked on my game and before I knew it, I was playing the 20’s and am now playing a wide range of the SNGs quite regularly,” he said.

A college soccer coach by day, Pahl started small on the Global Poker site and slowly built up the stakes in sit ‘n’ go’s, a game that he particularly enjoys especially because of its ideal pace and structures. The pace and structure aside, Pahl also says that he loves playing at Global because of the camaraderie with other players

“Global Poker has been great to me,” he adds. “I am really happy. Sure, there are other sites out there but I don’t really like them. Global Poker has been 100 percent fantastic! As well as the games being good, the people on Global Poker are really friendly. I chat with a lot of people on the site when I play and it makes things really enjoyable, everyone seems really nice.”

High School Esports Startup Receives Massive Investment

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One of the things that makes the flourishing world of Esports the marvel it is, is the colossal amount of enthusiasm the stakeholders have despite the deficiency of necessary infrastructure to support this enthusiasm. In essence, Esports is growing quite fast and thus the normal processes involved in the formation of regulatory bodies as well as other structures are bound to be outpaced.

Some of the people who have been affected most by this situation are high school students and their teachers who hope to participate in various Esports activities. Unlike many other similar activities, such as traditional sports where there are bodies to guide their actions, they have been forced to self-organize due to the lack of official bodies to guide them. However, this is all about to take a turn for the better.

PlayVS, a startup that specializes in building infrastructure to support high school Esports, has recently received a massive round of funding from a star-studded high profile investors including an assortment of venture capital groups, the San Francisco 49ers, hip-hop artist Nas, New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum, Los Angeles Chargers’ Russel Okung, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and NBA all-star Baron Davis.

According to a report by ESPN, the valuation of the company is now somewhere around $50 million. This gives PlayVS a better shot at achieving their goal of developing software to formalize high school Esports competitions. The platform serves as an all-in-one online portal for students and the administration in addition to being an access portal to a select number of some of the most popular Esports titles. The platform also allows for setting and scheduling of matches, tracking and collection of player stats, as well the auto-reporting of wins and losses to prevent cheating.

Working with the NFHS

As it stands, PlayVS is the only private company that is has been officially sanctioned by the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) which is a non-profit organization that publishes the rules for most high school sports and performing arts activities across the United States. The NFHS will be rolling out Esports exclusively on the PlayVS Web app and this extends the company’s reach to 19,500 high schools.

“Esports sort of has this task—this mountain task—to become multigenerational. If a sport has a strong and a stable high school system, then that sport typically not only has staying power but it also lasts for multiple generations at the pro level,” says Delane Parnell, the PlayVS founder and CEO. “With our funding, we can take all the steps necessary to ensure that our inaugural season is a massive success while being affordable for schools, parents, and students across the country.”

In October this year, PlayVS in, collaboration with the NFHS, will launch its inaugural season, a venture that will bring organized Esports to over 18 states and about 5 million students from 5,000 different high schools.

Russian’s Minister of Sports Acknowledges Growth of Esports

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For the first time since it was launched in 1997, the St. Petersburgh International Economic Forum, an annual business event, included a dedicated Esports panel session. The session gathered a number of representatives of the state, sports, business and infrastructure organizations among other stakeholders in the development of Russian Esports.

Titled ‘Cybersport: Global Trends in Sports and Business’, the session involved discussions from a number of big industry names including:

  • Emin Antonyan, Secretary General, Chairman of the Executive Board, Russian Esports Federation
  • Ilya Galaev, President, VFSO Trudovye Rezervy
  • Roman Dvoryankin, General Manager,
  • Nail Izmailov, Vice President, FC Spartak Moscow
  • Aleksandr Prokopyev, Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Member of the Committee on Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism, and Youth Affairs
  • Neil Sturrock, President of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Caucasus and Central Asia, PepsiCo
  • Anton Cherepennikov, Director, Member of the Board of Directors, ESforce Holding

The moderator, in this case, was Match TV general producer Tinatin Kendalaki. Also present was the Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Pavel Kolobkov though he spoke at a separate session. During the said session, the minister pointed out that he believes that Esports is a legitimate sports discipline, especially because like traditional sports, it involves rules, training methodology and tournament systems. He, however, made it clear that he was of the opinion that Esports will not be replacing sports but instead flourish alongside them.

According to the Esports observer, the government of Russia has expressed a lot of keenness to work with the Esports industry to regulate Esports development in Russian. Pavel Kolobkov acknowledged that the Russian Esports sphere is developing quickly and thus the government needs to work on implementing some legal boundaries to regulate it.

“We had a long discussion, and I believe that we made the right choice because it does not matter whether the government or somebody else recognizes Esports as a sport,” Kolobkov said. “It was recognized by the society. By people who are making it. Our task is to regulate it and put in some legal boundaries, allow it to develop under our control, along with the government, along with us. That is why I am sure that at this moment one can say that Esports is quite an established sphere.”

Russia was the first country to officially recognize Esports way back in 2001 – in fact, Esports was included in the list of sports that were officially recognized and existed in the country. This was, however, followed by a period of complication that saw the activity scraped from the list twice after the restructuring of the Ministry of Sports. Everything eventually went back to normal towards the end of 2017 with Esports players now being able to earn official sporting grades just like other players of traditional sports.