By: JAKE SEINER, AP Sports Writer
Video gamers in the United States and elsewhere will soon be able to bet on themselves.
The live-betting esports platform Unikrn had its wagering license approved by the Isle of Man on Tuesday, clearing the way for users to legally gamble on competitive video games.
“There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering,” Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood told The Associated Press. “It’s huge.”
Unikrn immediately began rolling out to 20 countries a variety of online products, and will soon bring esports wagering to most of Europe, South Korea and other Asian countries, and parts of Latin America. Certain types of esports betting will also be available in the U.S.
Unikrn had previously only been licensed to provide real-money betting on esports in the U.K. and Australia.
In countries with legalized sports betting, Unikrn users will be able to make odds bets on major esports competitions, like the upcoming League of Legends World Championship on Nov. 3.
Unlike traditional sports books, the esports platform will also offer skill-based bets. Essentially, gamers can bet on their own abilities in games like Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and League of Legends.
Once they have verified their age and location, users can link their game to the Unikrn platform, and then Unikrn will generate odds for the player based on his or her profile within the game. Players can place a bet on the Unikrn website into a mutual pool, play their next match, then come back to the site to claim their winnings or make another wager.
In America, skill-based betting will go live in 41 states as part of Unikrn’s product rollout, although a date for the U.S. unveiling hasn’t been made public. Esports spectator betting will not yet be available in the U.S.
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