Very soon there’s going to be an exciting new development for fans of eSports, with the launch of Midnite, which is purported to be the only dedicated and licensed eSports betting platform that accepts players from the UK. As betting on eSports is forecast to raise $12 billion in revenue in 2020, it’s easy to see why backers, including leading gaming companies like GVC and Betfair, wanted to be involved in this latest injection of capital into the firm. It also gives a good indication that, even in these times of uncertainty relating to Brexit and the government’s promise to favour the regions over the capital, London still seems to be a good place for start-ups.
Midnite has already received funding to the tune of $2 million from Makers Fund, with participation from Venrex Investment Management, and the latest support illustrating how high confidence is that founders Nick Wright and Daniel Qu will make a success of the business.
One concern that could be vital from the outset is staying on the right side of the regulators as, according to the IB Times, throughout 2020 we could well see tighter legislation being imposed on the online gambling industry in general.
Licensed to thrill
However, Wright also believes that, as the company has already received its license to operate from the UK’s Gambling Commission, this puts them in a very strong position indeed following this level of sports investing. As he explains, “In the past, betting on eSports has been carried out by unregulated operators, which meant that the unregulated market was several times bigger than the regulated market. Many operators offering eSports betting would not be licensed, were not taking responsible gambling seriously, or even performing age verification checks. This meant customers wanting to bet on eSports were often placing themselves at risk.”
So, with customer safety very much a priority for Midnite, they seem confident that whatever new rules or restrictions are brought in, they should be in a good position to comply with whatever the government and the Gambling Commission demands of them.
Wright, in particular, is very bullish about the future, especially as he believes that Midnite occupies a unique place in the market. According to him, where other businesses lose out is in failing to recognise the dynamic nature of eSports betting that can involve many different opportunities. For example, as well as putting money on who the eventual winner will be, it’s also possible to bet on which mission will be achieved next or who the next kill will be at the hands of.
Tried and tested
The platform is already available in its beta format allowing betting on a number of popular games including Rainbow Six, League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty. But Wright also sees Midnite as being far more than just a betting site. In his opinion, it will develop to become a far broader-ranging entertainment platform where fans of eSports can watch their heroes in action, comment on the play, and analyse the action in top tournaments all around the world.
In terms of tournaments, these are destined to grow bigger and bigger and multiply in number as time goes on. The prizes being played for can range from the relatively modest, such as the £2,000 won by the finalists at last year’s JDX Event held in Media City, Salford, right up to the biggest of all, such as The International Dota 2 Championships held in Shanghai last August. At the latter, the total prize fund amounted to over $34 million and pitted 18 teams, comprised of the world’s very best players, against each other.
While Midnite are happy to just operate in the UK for the moment, in the long-term, they have plans for expansion into the rest of the world. This is a logical step given the global nature of eSports, and the fact that the biggest tournaments are held across every continent and attract the world’s biggest players – who all, in turn, attract loyal supporters and fans in their droves.
There’s no doubt that the new funding will put them in a good position to start talking to new jurisdictions, and performing all the relevant steps and processes to obtain the relevant licenses to operate in their respective countries.
The future looks bright
So, in the four years since the company was founded as a two-person business, it certainly seems to be on a trajectory for success. Furthermore, by acting now and securing an early advantage as a bespoke eSports betting business, Midnite is surely poised to become an even bigger name in the future.