Many news articles about esports report that wagering on cybersports has become the hottest trend this year. The avid esports fans in Italy are also looking to place a bet on their favorite game.
The question is what is the future of esports in the country. During the second day of the SBC Digital Italia forum, a panel of experts, “Esports: the future is a bet”, has explored the topic, discussing the latest trends in cybersports and opportunities for betting in the state.
The need for recognition of esports is urgent
Laura D’Angeli, management advisor for business at eSportsforbusiness, has pointed out three main elements of cybersports, which include video games, players, and organizers of the esports tournaments.
The expert has stated that the sector is currently developing at a relatively high pace, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) launching a trial esports tournament, Olympics Virtual Series. The Italian National Olympics Committee (CONI) has also shown interest in launching an esports federation, however, only towards the games that are directly connected to Olympic sports.
D’Angeli has also highlighted the rise in betting on esports in Italy, especially during the lockdown. The expert predicts that the esports wagering market can reach up to $800 million in GGR by 2024.
According to the expert, although this sector sparks interest and enables dialogue with the younger generation, there has been always a bias towards esports in Italy.
Giancarlo Guarino, the expert in the sports organization at CONI, shares D’Angeli’s point of view, noting that it is important to show that esports can be an authentic sports activity.
All SBC panelists have stated that the Italian government has to recognize esports as an official sport and provide clear regulations for the sector. According to Massimo Caputi, the communications consultant to the Undersecretary with responsibility for Sport, the legislation has to concern the entire esports sector as well as betting on esports.
Luca Pagano, CEO, and co-Founder of QLASH, has underlined the three main trends in the Italian esports industry, which include:
rise of mobile gaming and focus on the younger audience;
traditional brands expressing interest in the sector;
widespread use of blockchain technology that can enhance the traceability of payments and thus be beneficial for the betting industry.
As for the regulation, Pagano has expressed fear that the regulator will disregard people who actually work in the esports market, creating an unsustainable condition for the businesses.
Ferdinando Ferrero, sales manager at Sportradar, has underlined the importance of integrity and fraud protection in the industry. The expert states that this can be done by monitoring esports activities and training the staff working in the sector.
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