(Exclusive interview) Focus Gaming News had an exclusive one-on-one interview with founder and CEO of the eSports wagering services provider Unikrn.com.
Rahul Sood shared his insights on responsible eSports betting, video games, legalisation and regulation, Unikrn future plans and more.
e-Sports betting shady sites prey on underage and vulnerable audiences as the lack of regulations favours its operations. Is legalisation the answer? Wouldn’t it be more effective to simply block access to these websites through internet providers?
First, it’s not specifically “esports betting” – it’s more “gambling on video games”. Specifically these sites are like voyeuristic slot machines, where people deposit their entire virtual items then spin a wheel and hope to win. It’s purely a game of chance that’s unregulated, and not licensed. I’m not sure how these sites can be regulated. Unikrn exists to create safe, legal, and responsible environments for our customers to bet on esports and video games. We do not condone these websites activities in any way.
In the event of legalising e-Sports in key markets, which are the most important aspects new regulations should cover?
First, I believe they should cover odds betting on professional tournaments, similar to sports betting. The books that licensed websites carry should be regulated. The sites should practice responsible gambling and not support underage or cross border betting. There should always be some element of skill when placing a wager online.
Are the measures taken by legal e-Sports websites to check and verify players’ age actually effective?
I cannot speak for other sites, but the process that Unikrn created is 100% effective. We only accept real money wagering from places where we are licensed, from customers who are verified residents, and who are legally allowed to wager. Both Unikrn and our partner, Tabcorp, take responsible wagering very seriously, and we are very diligent about our processes.
You have worked for pioneer technologic brands such as a subsidiary of HP, VoodooPC, and Microsoft, what does the experience make you perceive as the biggest challenge for a modern way of technological services when the market has old laws?
Great question! I think large companies and old industries are ripe for disruption. I think startups tend to think differently when it comes to innovation, however it’s *very* important to understand why regulation exists in certain industries. The best way to be successful in any business is to disrupt responsibly, otherwise you risk hurting your customers and getting shut down.
What is the common opinion between the relevant sports companies about e-Sports? When it comes to fight for a regulation in the gambling market, is it possible to reach for their support?
Look, from everyone I speak with, we all believe that sports betting should be legal and regulated globally. So in markets where betting on sports is legal, betting on esports should therefore be legal as well. Keep in mind, betting on esports is not the same as what I described in my article – what I described in my article is like a slot machine, pure luck, and has nothing to do with esports specifically.
What are Unikrn’s main targets for this year? Will it expand its services to Latin American markets?
First thing is we’re expanding across Europe. We are looking for potential partners in Latin America – preferably someone established across multiple markets. If there are wagering companies in Latin America who are interested in esports, then Unikrn is the right partner. We have the largest and most comprehensive sportsbook for esports, not to mention we own technology for both spectator and skill based betting.