[toc]The chief executive of esports betting operator Unikrn said the importance of the new license from the gaming authorities in Malta “really cannot be overstated” as it opens up the company’s offering to the vast majority of the continent.
Rahul Sood was speaking to Esports Betting Report after the company announced that the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) had granted the company a license to operate from the jurisdiction.
Unikrn heading to Germany, beyond
It means Unikrn can begin offering its product in countries such as Germany, where Unikrn runs an esports studio and has an investment in the German-based CS:GO team BIG, as well as other markets in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
Unikrn already has licenses to operate real money gaming in the UK and the Isle of Man, where it runs under the license under the name of LuxBet, the online brand of Unikrn shareholder Tabcorp.
The Unikrn EU offering will be run as a joint venture with France-based RBP, the company behind the Maltese-licensed, France-facing Zeturf offering, which claims 300,000 registered customers.
“This begins our regulated expansion well beyond Malta, including Germany and other nations within the Eurozone,” Sood told Esports Betting Report.
He added that the RBP joint venture was the “best possible partner.”
“Whenever we make an expansion like this, we have plenty of potential partners from which to choose, so our decision to go with RBP is itself a brilliant declaration of their track record and our interest in France and Europe as a whole.”
Unikrn ICO comes to a close
Unikrn came to the end of the offer period on its Unikrn Gold crowdsale on Friday. The company said last week it had raised more than $30 million worth of Ethereum through the sale both via investments from its venture capital investors — such as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — and through the public token offering.
Unikrn raised £10 million from its investors in 2015. Also taking part in the token sale were:
- Blockchain Capital
- Pantera Capital
- Brock Pierce
- Draper Dragon
The Maltese authorities have been making strides with regard to the potential licensing of both cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Sood said that his company was “working closely” with the MGA to enable crypto-based betting.
“We’re confident we’ll make it happen,” he said, noting that the Unikoin Gold token would avoid falling into the trap of being what the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) considered to be a security in the eyes of regulations.
Fail to prepare; prepare to fail
“We think there are too many ICOs with companies that have no business or understanding of how blockchain is meant to work,” he said. “We think the majority of ICOs are set up like securities or are set up to fail, and they are setting themselves and the community up for massive failure.”
In comparison, he said that regulation via the Maltese authorities “opens up incredible new opportunities for Unikrn.”
“We built, from the ground up, the most-regulated, most-secure token sale of our kind, and we hope to make it available to other really good operators.”
Alongside the Unikoin Gold ICO, Unikrn laid out its plans for a skins exchange for CS:GO players. Sood has been a vocal critic of the existing skin betting market, suggesting its unregulated status leaves it open to abuse and is bad for the esports ecosystem.
“The skins exchange is just another example of how UnikoinGold is not a casino chip, but part of a larger movement to build strong ties with the esports community,” said Sood.
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A revolution in esports
“We’ve given away hundreds of thousands of dollars in skins to users; by taking skins for our token, we are helping to end illegal skin gambling by giving a legal alternative,” Sood said. “People will not be able to bet with UnikoinGold on our platform unless they are legally allowed to do so.”
Sood suggested further joint ventures with regard to both betting and cryptocurrencies might be forthcoming.
“We are working to expand our entire platform across the globe, this includes real money and crypto betting, as well as our non-betting esports platform,” he says.
“We currently work with casinos in the US to bring in a younger demographic because slot machines just don’t interest today’s young adults. The gaming and esports crowd want to be more engaged on their own terms, and we have an endemic foothold in this environment unlike any other bookmaker.”
“We expect to continue to revolutionize this sector in every direction we see opportunity,” he concluded.