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eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore

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Esports has long been popular in the CIS region, with various top-tier teams and players all calling it home. How has the landscape evolved over the last few years? Have any particular trends emerged that have surprised you at all?

Esports boomed in the CIS region in 2008 when Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games became really popular. While esports had been a thing as far back as 2003, the rise of games such as Counter-Strike and DOTA2 was a major catalyst for the upward trajectory the sector has been riding ever since. In recent years, the infrastructure needed to support esports has improved drastically across the CIS region, including the construction of the Pixel Esports Arena in Minks, Belarus, and the Cyberspace Arena in Almaty, Kazakhstan, both of which hold top-flight contests. Internet connectivity has also improved, while support from local and international sponsors such as Monster Energy, Red Bull and War Gaming have provided funds for further investment while also driving awareness. Ultimately, this has seen the landscape evolve into a thriving industry with lots of opportunities for further growth.

In terms of trends, and especially relating to esports betting, I’ve been surprised by the high demand for betting on console games – we call them eBattles and they include disciplines such as eSoccer and eBasketball. I think this is just a natural development that has occurred off the back of strong demand for video game content, which is often the bridge between traditional sports and esports.

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What factors have contributed to esports’ growth in the CIS over the past few years?

One of the biggest factors for me is that teams have become more professional and are now training and playing in well-run clubs. This takes place in dedicated buildings and rooms, set up with high-speed internet and the absolute best gaming equipment. Player salaries have also gone up, which has increased the calibre of players taking part in contests across the region, taking competitiveness to the next level. Today, many CIS players now play for high-ranked teams such as Virtus.pro, Team Spirit, Betboom or Na`Vi which compete on the international stage. This in turn is helping esports grow across the CIS region.

 

Given how many countries are in the CIS region, can you walk us through some of the biggest regulatory differences when it comes to betting on esports? And how does PandaScore navigate these changes?

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The legality of betting and esports betting differs from country to country within the CIS region. Some are super strict or even prohibit gambling, while others take a more liberal approach, regulating the activity and licensing operators. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest markets and their approach.

In Ukraine, esports has been recognised as a sport since 2018 and in 2020 the country regulated and licensed gambling for the first time. The law focuses mostly on standard betting – sports and casino – but is likely to also include esports betting given that esports is a recognised sport in the country with tier-one Ukraine sportsbooks like Favbet and Parimatch offering it to their players.

Kazakhstan has a growing gambling industry with betting shops and casinos operating in major cities such as Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Gambling is regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and while the regulatory framework is somewhat restrictive, sports betting – which is likely to include esports betting – is permitted.

Navigating the constant changes in betting regulation across the CIS region can be challenging, so we make sure to keep up to speed with the latest developments by monitoring legislative updates and amendments to regulatory guidelines. We also track industry trends and best practices to anticipate regulatory changes ahead of time, allowing us to adapt quickly if needed. This can involve benchmarking against competitors, attending conferences and networking with key stakeholders.

 

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In your view, are there any unique opportunities for the expansion of esports and esports betting within the CIS region? And how does this differ to other regions?

It’s important to understand that CIS, especially Ukraine and Kazakhstan, play by their own rules. By that I mean they are very different to other esports markets, so don’t think what works in Italy will work in Ukraine. For example, while League of Legends is very popular in Europe, in CIS, it’s Dota 2 that takes the top spot. But for those who can understand the region and each market, there are plenty of opportunities to explore.

Let me elaborate. Dota 2 is thriving in the broader CIS, with regular tournaments and events attracting large audiences both offline and online. teams like Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), Virtus.pro and Team Spirit have achieved significant success in Dota 2 competitions, contributing to the game’s popularity in the region. While Dota 2 is big, other video games also enjoy significant popularity, including CS2, World of Tanks and Fortnite among others.

Operators need to consider this when deciding their markets and odds, marketing strategies and plans for player engagement.

 

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What would you say is the key to creating a successful esports product for a CIS audience?

Understanding layer preferences in each market and delivering an experience that exceeds their expectations. For the CIS region, this means focusing on Dota 2 – this is a game that offers deep and strategic gameplay requiring teamwork, communication and skilful execution of plans and strategies. Its competitive nature appeals to gamers as they enjoy the challenge of multiplayer experiences – this goes back to the original MOBAs back in 2008. These factors must be present in the esports betting experience offered to players – at PandaScore, this means a comprehensive Dota 2 offering that covers markets such as Kills, Towers, Roshans and Barracks, with players able to challenge themselves in a betting competition against others.

Support is also key to delivering a quality player experience. We offer round-the-clock assistance and are regularly rolling out updates to improve the experience players receive when betting on esports at sportsbooks using our data, odds and betting tools such as our Bet Builder. We are always working hard to expand our offering to cover the most in-demand games including CS2, Valorant, Call of Duty and many more.

 

What trends or developments do you anticipate shaping the future growth of esports in the CIS region over the next few years?

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The industry will continue to grow and become more professional. Esports is different to traditional sports and it still lacks recognition in some markets, even though it is considered an official sport in a growing number of countries across the CIS region. I think as it evolves, more governments will provide more support for esports as it brings tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits. This could include funding for esports initiatives, rolling out regulatory frameworks, helping to foster partnerships with esports organisations or simply recognising it as a sport.

The continued proliferation of smartphones across the region will be a further catalyst for esports growth. Titles such as PUGB Mobile, Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will attract large audiences and provide new opportunities for teams, players, sponsors and other stakeholders to explore. This is a really exciting time for esports and esports betting in the CIS region, and PandaScore is thrilled to be part of it.

The post eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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BETBY TO POWER ESTONIAN BRAND WINNERZ WITH SPORTSBOOK SOLUTION INCLUDING PROPRIETARY ESPORTS FEED SOLUTION

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Betby, a leading provider of sportsbook solutions, has announced a long-term partnership with the Winnerz brand. The partnership entails the provision of Betby’s cutting-edge sportsbook solution and its proprietary esports feed solution to the Estonian online casino brand.

The inclusion of the Betby Games esports feed solution comes on the heels of Betby Games receiving approval earlier this year from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which allows the sports betting supplier to provide its esports odds feed comprising of pre-match and live odds, round-the-clock content coverage, statistics hub, and resulting, either as part of the Betby Sportsbook solution or as a separate esports data feed to all operators holding an MGA license and other licensed operators in jurisdictions which accept MGA license.

Players on Winnerz’s casino platform now have access to an enriched sportsbook content portfolio featuring over 210,000 monthly events covering as many as 125 sports. The Betby Games esports feed solution will further boost the content offering with a broader and more engaging esports content, including 11 Betby Games e-simulator titles. This includes Betby Games’ renowned customized leagues, enabling operators to offer customizable esoccer football tournaments which are fully tailored to any brand’s identity.

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Chris Nikolopoulos, Betby’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “I am very pleased to have agreed a broad collaboration with the Winnerz brand, as together we seek to grow the brand’s local marketshare. By continuing to deliver our extremely strong esport vertical to noteworthy brands, we stay true to our growth strategy, and bring incredible betting experiences to the operator’s customers.”

Kevin Liivamägi, Winnerz’s Head of Sportsbook, said: “I’m thrilled to provide our players with a premium sportsbook solution featuring one of the most extensive content portfolios in the industry. Their extensive range of content is truly impressive, and we’re confident that Betby’s comprehensive sportsbook solution and products are in line with our mission to provide our players with a fully immersive and well-rounded betting experience.”

The post BETBY TO POWER ESTONIAN BRAND WINNERZ WITH SPORTSBOOK SOLUTION INCLUDING PROPRIETARY ESPORTS FEED SOLUTION appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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DreamHack Dallas Hosts Over $1M in Esports Competitions Across Marquee Titles

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ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), the leading esports and video game entertainment company, and DreamHack, a leading global gaming festival, have announced a full slate of esports programming for DreamHack Dallas, taking place the weekend of May 31-June 2, 2024, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

One of DreamHack’s longest-running North American gaming festivals, DreamHack Dallas features everything gaming under one roof. From the world-famous bring-your-own-computer (BYOC) LAN party, panels, and an expo, to art, cosplay, creator meet-and-greets, and much more, DreamHack Dallas offers attendees a great variety of activities for an unforgettable experience. Furthermore, the festival will host 13 unique esports competitions – including iconic titles like Counter-Strike 2, Overwatch, StarCraft® II, and more to come – with over $1 million in total prizing.

For the first time, several DreamHack Dallas esports events – including competitions in EA SPORTS FC 24, Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, and more – will offer aspiring competitors the chance to qualify for this summer’s debut Esports World Cup. With new pipelines to a $60 million prize pool and a global audience in Riyadh, DreamHack is offering more opportunities than ever for grassroots talent to fight their way to the world stage.

Esports has been part of the fabric of DreamHack Dallas since the festival’s inception, and we’re excited once again to welcome tens of thousands of fans this summer to celebrate their favorite competitive titles,” said Shahin Zarrabi, Vice President, Festivals, ESL FACEIT Group. “From the 100th IEM event to the first-ever OWCS live event and qualifiers for Esports World Cup, DreamHack is celebrating every type of gamer, from world-class competitors to the next breakout stars.”

Dallas Hosts 16 Top Counter-Strike 2 Squads for 100th IEM Event

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The birthplace of North American Counter-Strike esports will invite 16 of the world’s best teams to clash in Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Dallas, the 100th IEM event. With an ESL Pro Tour (EPT) Masters trophy, $250,000 in prizing, and qualification to an EPT Championship up for grabs, fans will watch as hometown heroes challenge international hopefuls in the US’s biggest Counter-Strike event of the year.

Overwatch Luminaries Assemble for First-Ever International Live Event for OWCS

The first-ever in-person Major tournament of Blizzard Entertainment and EFG’s Overwatch Champions Series invites eight of our competitive region’s top teams for a three-day showcase of industry-class talent. Featuring a prize pool supported by crowdfunding, fans can watch the action unfold live – or at home with the official broadcast or partnered co-streams – as teams face off to be the first team to claim an international OWCS title and qualify to compete at Esports World Cup.

ESL Impact Returns to DreamHack Dallas with $123K Season Finale

ESL Impact, a global all-women Counter-Strike circuit, returns to DreamHack Dallas for the exciting conclusion of Season 5 of competition. Eight of the world’s best women’s Counter-Strike teams representing North America, Europe, South America, and Asia will face off to see who will claim the title and the lion’s share of the $123,000 prize pool.

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ESL Pro Tour in StarCraft® II Makes Masters Stop at DreamHack Dallas

The EPT in StarCraft® II, the title’s premier global esports circuit, continues with the ESL SC2 Masters: Spring 2024 Finals at DreamHack Dallas. Not only will competitors battle for their share of the $100,000 prize pool, but the opportunity to qualify for StarCraft® II competition at this summer’s inaugural Esports World Cup.

EA SPORTS FC 24 at DreamHack Dallas Kicks off Esports World Cup Qualifications

Electronic Arts’ soccer title, EA SPORTS FC 24, comes to DreamHack Dallas for the first time this summer with a world-class tournament. With the top two players securing their spot at Esports World Cup this August, the competition offers up to 250 competitors their first opportunity to qualify for EWC, in addition to $100,000 USD in total prizing.

Fighting Games take Center Stage with New DreamHack Fighters, Esports World Cup Tournaments

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DreamHack’s marquee fighting game hub, DreamHack Fighters, brings six open tournaments to Dallas, including a mix of modern mainstays and FGC classics. Open to all registered attendees, competitors can face off to claim a slice of the $16,000 total prize pool. Participating titles include:

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Singles ($5,000)
  • UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH II Sys:Celes (UNI 2) ($2,500)
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising ($2,500)
  • Guilty Gear Strive ($2,500)
  • Mortal Kombat 1 ($2,500)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Doubles ($1,000)

For the first time, DreamHack will also host competitions in Tekken 8 and Street Fighter 6, which include the chance to qualify for Esports World Cup. Both tournaments offer $50,000 in prizing each, as well as pipelines to compete on some of the titles’ biggest stages in Riyadh this summer.

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SuperGaming Reveals Nationwide Grassroots Indus Battle Royale Esports Tournament Series With Rs. 5,50,000 Prize Pool

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Made-in-India battle royale Indus is hosting its first ever series of nationwide grassroots esports tournaments dubbed Indus Inferno. This is SuperGaming’s summer special of tournaments with prizes and bragging rights on the line — but most importantly: a chance for players to experience Indus at the highest skill level and be the best in India’s first new-generation battle royale.

Created by award-winning Pune-based developer SuperGaming, Indus is an Indo-Futuristic battle royale slated for mobile, PC, and consoles with pre-registrations live on Google Play for Android. Pre-registrations for the game have crossed 10 million already.

Indus Inferno kicked off with the Regional Scrims featuring a Rs. 50,000 prize pool this week. The scrims were met with immense excitement, with players hailing from multiple cities across India.

The Indus Inferno Finale scheduled to take place on 1st June will feature a lucrative prize pool of Rs. 5,00,000.

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Player registration for the Open Qualifiers is now open and will end on 19th May. The Qualifiers are set to run from 20th May to 24th May. It is important to note that only the top 2,000 players from the Inferno in-game Leaderboard will be eligible to register for the qualifiers. The top 10 winning teams from the Open Qualifiers will earn coveted spots in the finale, joining the invited esports teams for an epic showdown.

The following teams have been invited for the Indus Inferno Finale:

  • Team Moggers

  • Team Redlock

  • Team Pushpa

  • Destruction of Game

In addition to this, teams of Indus content creators, community members, several esports organizations as well as winners of past playtests will be present for the tournament. There’s a total prize pool of Rs. 5,00,000 with the winners netting Rs. 2,50,000 and the runners-up, third-place, and fourth place getting Rs. 1,00,000, Rs. 75,000, and Rs. 50,000 respectively. The most valuable player will get Rs. 25,000.

More importantly, the finale will feature India’s top esports team owners so Indus’ best players can have face to face opportunities to be scouted for a career in esports playing Indus. These include:

  • Godlike Esports

  • Revenant Esports

  • Orangutan

  • Entity Gaming

  • Reckoning Esports

  • Carnival Gaming

  • Chemin Esports

  • True Rippers

  • Enigma Gaming

  • Team Tamilas

  • Marcos Gaming

  • TWOB

“With Indus Inferno and previous Indus esports tournaments that we’ve been running since last year such as the Indus Invitational and Indus Unchained, we want to lay the foundation for a sustainable esports ecosystem for our community and the nation at large,” says SuperGaming CEO and Co-Founder Roby John. “Having India’s best esports team owners at the finale is our small way of making that happen.”

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SuperGaming is also going to have exclusive rewards, developer panels, and more, so head on over to the official Indus Discord server for all the details.

Players will be able to share their thoughts on various aspects of the game and impact the direction of how SuperGaming crafts its most ambitious title yet through this official esports tournament.

This is inline with how SuperGaming has crafted its biggest hits — MaskGun and Silly Royale. Popular multiplayer shooter MaskGun has amassed over 80 million players since its launch with a relentless focus on putting its players first leading to some of its biggest community members featuring in-game as well as celebrating India-specific events like Diwali.

The post SuperGaming Reveals Nationwide Grassroots Indus Battle Royale Esports Tournament Series With Rs. 5,50,000 Prize Pool appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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