eSportsventure is offering eSports betting for nearly a month now. As we have already made a full review of the bookmaker (see eSportsventure review) we thought it would be a good idea to look a little deeper in the matter. For this we asked Tom Lemke, Head of Marketing at eSportsventure, to give us an interview. Here we go:
Position: Head of Marketing
Favourite Games: Civilization 5, League of Legends, Quake 3, Rise of Venice
eSports active: League of Legends
Hey Tom! You launched the eSportsventure website in mid-November 2013. How has the feedback of the community been so far?
So far the feedback from the community has been very good. Our odds are up-to-date, we have an appealing design and a great customer support – I think we did a lot of things right. Of course, there are some points we need to work on. For example, at the moment we only offer VISA and Mastercard. But we are working on those issues.
eSportsventure operates with a Class 2 betting license issued by the LGA (Malta). What does this mean and how is it different from other gaming licenses?
Personally, I am very proud to have the Malta license. It shows that the LGA shares our vision and understanding for eSport. The LGA can be seen as a mediator: in case of a conflict between a user and eSportsventure, the user can always contact the LGA. They will try to mediate between those two parties. So far we were able to solve every dispute that arose. Most of the times it had something to do with postponed matches.
Dealing with eSports the whole day sounds pretty exciting. How does your typical workday look like?
Every day we are following the common scene pages to get any possible information. Did a player break his hand? Did his team find a substitute? That is really important to create the odds. We want to be in a position where we can create up-to-date odds, that is why it is important to get an overview which leagues / tournaments matter in the week. Besides that, I also take care of our affiliate partners, teams and journalists. At the end of the day all I want is that everyone is happy.
You used to play Counter Strike in the esports team Mousesports. Do you still have time to actually play?
Gaming was and still is my passion. Naturally, you don’t have as much time to play games anymore. I love to play League of Legends but I am concerned that my main role, Marksman, will have a hard time in season 4. To relax I play some “Civilization 5” or the simulation “Rise of Venice”. They just released an add-on for that game.
At the moment you are offering betting on LoL, Dota 2, Starcraft 2 and CS:GO. Are you planning to offer odds for other games as well in the near future?
We watch the market very closely if there is another eSport title on the rise. “World of Tanks” seems to be on the right path to become a legit eSport title. On the other hand, “Hearthstone”, I am not sure if that would make sense. I would rather offer titles where I know that there is a proven infrastructure behind it. So far our users are with us on that decision.
Speaking of odds, I can imagine how hard it is to create precise odds, especially for new and unknown eSports teams and players. What do your analysts focus on while creating new odds?
Every one of our traders has a great deal of experience and knows the scene. That is the reason why we are able to create odds for most of the matches. The analysts are being very careful that they don’t accept high-stakes bets. To give you a simple example, player A and player B are playing in the “XY-Cup” finale, the winner would get 100 Euro. Of course, we want to offer that match but if we accept bets that are higher than 50 Euro, in theory, we would create an incentive that losing the match is more lucrative than winning it. That’s why we are very careful what kind of bets we accept.
Player protection and gambling addiction prevention are hot topics in the gaming industries. How does eSportsventure handle these issues?
A very important topic which we are very dedicated to. Our class-2 license from the LGA enables every user to talk to the LGA in case of a dispute. So far, we were able to solve every conflict.
Addiction prevention is a very difficult topic. We have a guide on our page how to gamble responsibly. One thing which is very, very important: betting should always be about having fun, to get that little extra kick of excitement but it shouldn’t be a way to earn your rent.
Every player has the option to limit himself or to lock himself out for a period of time. We can’t make the decision on behalf of our players because we are dealing with adults. If a player decided to limit himself then we have to follow up on his request immediately. This is due to the regulations of the LGA, it can also be found on their page: http://www.lga.org.mt/content.aspx?id=85805
Seems like an exemplary attitude towards this matter. Another hot topic in the scene is betting fraud. Among most amateur eSports teams the threat of betting manipulations is considered to be rather high. Even among professional football players there have been incidents of betting fraud already. How can you protect yourself from such manipulations?
We want to support eSports, not destroy it. I already gave an example. As long as the monetary incentive to win a tournament is higher than throwing the match on purpose, we are safe. One thing we do in order to offer bets on group stages – we force our customers to select at least 3 or 5 games thus creating an accumulator for the bet to get accepted.
- Knowledge of the scene, overview
- Limit the stakes
- Forcing accumulators for smaller leagues / tournaments
There were rumors that Ocelote (former Midlaner of LoL team SK Gaming) was going to be testimonial for eSportsventure? Ocelote had been already working with Digibet – why did the deal eventually fail?
Riot forbids their LCS players and teams to work with companies from the gambling industry. The meetings with Carlos went very well and we agreed on working together. Unfortunately Carlos is an employee of Riot, just like any other LCS player. That’s why he had to respect the contract with Riot. Otherwise, it could have happened that Riot doesn’t pay him his salary or his team doesn’t get any ‘on camera’ time which is horrible thing when we talk about his other sponsors. They pay good money to be on a team jersey. Even interviews, which we could have published in our content section, are forbidden. Riot has a firm grip on that situation. With NiP GeT_RiGhT we do have a famous and very likeable player who knows and understands our business philosophy and can represent us as a company.
The online market for eSports betting is relatively small at the moment. Where do you see the market and eSportsventure in 3 years?
It’s very hard to predict because eSports tends to develop very fast. I think the 4 big games won’t change. If the new MOBA from Blizzard is really aimed at casual gamers, shared experience, leveling and such, then I don’t think it will evolve into a new eSports title. Generally speaking, I am absolutely convinced that the betting market will grow because the acceptance for eSports becomes bigger and bigger.