Which factors currently pose the biggest risk to the integrity of the esports industry? How can key industry stakeholders mitigate these risks going forward?
Evgeniy Bekker: “Interest in esports has skyrocketed in recent years, with the number of tournaments snowballing. However, quantity doesn’t always mean quality as when it comes to organising tournaments there are little to no regulations. Consequently, the entry-level is fairly low, which presents a number of risks, namely to the integrity of tournaments themselves.
“Such is the popularity of esports, that data providers and betting operators receive offers to add new esports events to their offering on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the global esports industry is awash with tournaments organised by people who are more concerned with advancing their own agendas than providing operators with a top-quality product that features skilled players and teams who create engaging content.
“Unscrupulous organisers, who can also be players, sell data and betting rights at knock-down prices as their primary goal is to ensure their tournament appears on a given operator’s website. At the same time, when operators and data providers choose to include this data in their offering, they suffer losses to both their reputation and bottom line, as match-fixing is very prevalent in such tournaments. In other words, the only winner in such situations is the tournament organiser.
“Such matches also lack an integrity system as there is no regulatory body responsible for verifying tournaments’ legitimacy. As such, experienced organisers will never add a team with a “grey past” to their portfolio, as this entails a significant risk both for the tournament and its reputation.
“At BETER, we protect our clients from such risks by not adding fraudulent tournaments to our offerings.
“We have an in-house team of 50 seasoned trading experts, who have been living and breathing esports for almost a decade and seen it all. What’s more, we’ve also created a robust system that allows us to always be on top of new tournaments and filters out those which aren’t trustworthy so that they aren’t offered to our clients.”
How important of a role does official data play in the ongoing development of responsible betting solutions for esports?
Evgeniy Bekker: “The availability of official data is a key part of our esports products which allows us, as a B2B provider, to provide the highest uptime for our clients. We utilise top-quality data so that customers can choose from the widest range of markets possible, which are available for the duration of an entire match and enjoy the best user experience possible.
“Without such data, esports feed providers cannot guarantee high uptime and are often limited to offering next map markets whilst the current map is in play, which is like providing markets for a football match, but not offering any live bets on the first half.
“Therefore, we do our utmost and spare no effort to provide the highest uptime for our esports events. It is part of our company development strategy and, as such, we are entering into new partnerships with the most trusted data providers on the market.
“In any case, one must understand that a company cannot be the industry’s leader if it does not use official data.”
Bayes Esports just announced a new partnership program. How will this benefit the industry as a whole?
Martin Dachselt: “We want to make official esports data as broadly available as possible. This will allow and encourage companies and the community to develop innovative services that will keep fans excited and drive esports as a whole. Our partnership program is a very important step to achieve that goal. It sets clear conditions and rules that will help create a stable environment and a levelled playing field for service providers on one side whilst protecting the interests of right holders and the integrity of esports on the other. With Pinnacle, Beter, Kambi, Abios and Sportsflare, we are very happy to have some of the most relevant and most innovative heavy weights of the industry already on board.”
The Bayes Esports Partnership Programme already has some of the biggest and most influential brands involved. What will it take to encourage industry-wide adoption, especially with smaller companies that don’t have the same level of resources available?
Martin Dachselt: “Our program is not only targeting the heavyweights of the industry but also innovative start-ups and smaller companies. We introduced a value-based pricing model which should allow start-ups to get access to official data and develop innovative products as well. Additionally, we are ready to support anyone with the integration and interpretation of the data streams. Last but not least we help others to market their innovative services: our marketplaces BEDEX and BODEX serve as great platforms for smaller companies to offer their services and we can support them in finding the right connections in the industry with joint PR.”
The Programme has been established primarily for use by esports betting suppliers. How necessary will it be to also collaborate with government bodies and industry associations to achieve your industry-wide integrity and sustainability objectives in the long term?
Martin Dachselt: “It’s going to be very important, but even more so will be our task to make sure the importance of official data offerings and our integrity and sustainability objectives are actually realized and understood by these bodies and associations. As esports continues to grow, we will probably look more and more towards independent governing bodies and associations to regulate the sport to ensure that the same rules and standards are applied across various different regions, levels of play and games in general. As of right now, though, they are still a rarity. Our experience in working with the industry’s biggest and most influential tournament organizers, such as ESL Gaming and Riot Games, regarding the integrity of their tournaments will without a doubt be invaluable once we are also working with independent instances.”
The text was originally published on igamingfuture.com