An ongoing debate within the esports betting industry is fixed on whether the audience is happy with being catered for like any other sports betting punter or if they prefer to be treated as a class apart.
Variants of approach can be seen across the range of offerings from the traditional betting operators that have added esports to the long list of traditional sports on offer through to the likes of Pinnacle, which has opted for dedicated esports portals and on to the esports-only offerings.
The newest entrant into the space has opted for the latter approach. Pixel.bet is a Curacao-licensed esports-only operator which launched into live beta mode at the start of this year.
What we know about Pixel.bet
Claiming to be a mobile-first operator, the company offers the usual selection of leading esports and tournaments.
The company also suggests that the traditional bookmakers are failing to attract the potential esports betting punters due to a lack of understanding of what they want from a betting platform.
“Traditional operators are led by sports and casino — the whole branding, site experience and UX/UI in the products are dictated by this,” says Richard Smith, the chief executive at Pixel.bet.
“Right now, I think it’s fair to say that most have not put the resource or hired the right people to drive this forward. It’s created a wonderful opportunity, though, for esports-only brands and product innovation, with the up and coming esports focused brands.
“Trust is very important in gambling and right now esports-only operators are building that trust in the community which will give them a very strong position as the market matures.”
Pixel.bet isn’t the first esports-only betting proposition. The leading market contender is Unikrn, which has been in the limelight of late after it raised a multi-million dollar amount late last year via the sale of its Unikoin Gold tokens.
Love esports… love esports betting
Like Unikrn, Smith says the company hopes to compete at the level of customer experience rather than on price.
“We have focused our resource on building a strong product experience, so the user can find their game easily, watch it, bet quickly and have the highest standards of customer support should any issues arise,” he says.
Again like Unikrn, Pixel.bet claims to be a site built by gamers and with the development guided by feedback gained from putting the product in front of esports enthusiasts.
“It was important that we worked to understand and tried to solve the current pain points for people who want to bet on esports,” he says.
“Currently people have a lot of choice, although nothing that really brings together the full package in our opinion. We want to offer a mobile-first experience, where people can easily be watching a live stream of a game and have the opportunities to bet on this in a simple and clean design.”
Smith clearly believes that esports offerings need to “speak the same language” as the people who play the games themselves and he goes on to suggest that those that can “connect” with the audience will be the ones to succeed.
He adds that depth of offering will be the differentiators, with increased use of the data available being the driver.
“This is just the start,” he says. “The range and depth of betting is growing by the day to a point where esports should have more varied and exciting opportunities to bet on than soccer games in the years to come. The data is all there and is getting better by the day. It’s exciting times ahead.”
Smith says trust is vital to get the business off the ground and give it the platform from which to thrive.
“Trust is very important in gambling and right now esports-only operators are building that trust in the community which will give them a very strong position as the market matures,” he adds.
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The future of Pixel.bet
Though Curacao-licensed right now, the company says it hopes to offer real-money licensed gambling in regulated territories, which would suggest that more licenses are being applied for. (Notably, the dateline for a recent press release last week suggests the company works out of Malta.)
Adding a late voice to the skin betting debate, Smith says that in his company’s opinion the landscape is being affected by “several major issues and should fall under regulation.”
Along the same lines, Smith also signaled that the company might join the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC).
“We are committed to uphold the integrity of the sport and the work that organizations like ESIC do,” he said.