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eSports – The next big thing in the Italian gambling market?

eSports seem to be the new opportunity in the gambling sector and the Italian regulator already put in place the relevant regulations. 

According to a report issued by Superdata Research the global eSports market is worth $748 million in 2015 and will reach $1.9 billion by 2018. North America and Europe make up a combined 52% of the market as they continue to rapidly invest in the space while Asia approaches stagnation after a long fascination with eSports.

gamingAs showed in this chart, the eSports market has a number of drivers that make its dinamics more difficult to interpret and since the global eSports audience is 134 million strong and growing the market is very attractive.

eSports tournaments

Given the potential winnings in cash in eSports tournaments, the Italian gambling regulator decided to put in place a regulatory environment that would ensure adequate protections to players and at the same time would consider eSports as a kind of “soft” game waiving some regulatory obligations.

Since the participation to the game requires payments in cash and participants can win prizes in cash, the companies offering online eSports tournaments, bets and fantasy games shall hold an online gambling license. eSports tournaments are considered a subcategory of skill games named “pure games” and can, among others, rely on

  • a simplified certification of the platform and
  • the possibility to update the game without performing a new certification prior to the annual re-certification process.

eSports betting

The liberalization of the Italian sportsbetting market does not prevent per se to offer bets on eSports events.  However, it is likely that the Italian gambling regulator will assess each type eSports game depending on its features.

Indeed, it is not possible to offer bets on events that are against the public morality and decency. Therefore, while no issue might arise for bets on sport-related eSports, the Italian gambling regulator might thoroughly review “cruel” games to assess whether or not bets on such games can be offered.

eSports fantasy games

I have already discussed about fantasy sports and the same rules apply to eSports fantasy games. This is a market that is rapidly growing and the regulations are already in place.

Do you have an Italian online gambling license for eSports?

As mentioned above the online offering of eSports tournaments, betting and fantasy games requires to hold an Italian online gambling license. At the moment the application window is closed, but it is possible to either acquire the license from a current license holder or enter into a joint venture with a current license holder, also considering that multiple brands can be run under the same license.

This is a very hot topic at the moment and you can read on the same topic “eSports – between gambling, promotions and social gaming“. Also, if you found this article interesting, share it on your favourite social media and register to our newsletter. Also don’t forget to try Prisca our GDPR chatbot described HERE

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Giulio Coraggio

I am the head of the Italian Technology sector and the global head of the IoT and Gaming and Gambling groups at the world-leading law firm DLA Piper. IoT and artificial intelligence influencer and FinTech and blockchain expert, finding solutions to what's next for our clients' success.

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