[Headline edited for clarity 15:19 25/10/19]
Live-betting esports platform Unikrn has been approved to legally accept gambling on competitive video game matches.
The Associated Press reports that after the Isle of Man approved the application, Unikrn – which had previously only been able to offer esports gambling in Australia and the UK – has already rolled out operations to 20 countries, including Europe, South Korea, and parts of Latin America.
Limited options will also be available across 41 states in the U.S., too, although the specific launch dates have yet to be confirmed. "Skill-based bets" – which permit players to bet on their own abilities – will be available eventually, although there’s no news yet on when spectator betting will roll out across the U.S.
"There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering," Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood told The Associated Press. "It’s huge."
Right now, the U.S. state of Nevada is the only one that permits sports betting, but a ruling from the Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a 1992 federal law that banned sports betting in most states. This will potentially give more states opportunities to legalise gambling on traditional sports and esports matches.
Launched in 2014, Unikrn is purportedly the first wagering company in the world built entirely on blockchain and has high-profile investors like actor Ashton Kutcher and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Earlier this year a class-action lawsuit alleged that the Seattle-based company sold unregistered securities when it offered its own cryptocurrency – UnikoinGold – to the public. The firm maintained to AP that there was "no merit" to the "very frivolous" lawsuit.
Last year Unikrn announced that Rocket League will join its roster of titles in Australia, but the game’s developer Psyonix was quick to disassociate itself from the gambling platform. VP of publishing Jeremy Dunham said at the time: "Psyonix is not affiliated with Unikrn, nor do we support or endorse online betting for our game."