As the esports betting industry continues to mature and grow, new revenue-generating opportunities are becoming increasingly apparent in the sector. This is part of the reason for the formation of the newly branded, ODDS.GROUP.
We caught up with Peter Ivanov, Head of Esports and Sports Trading for their daughter company, UltraPlay, to get further insight into what they see as the key growth drivers for the future of the industry — and, most importantly, how they can be best leveraged for future expansion.
What is the strategy behind the ODDS.GROUP rebrand? How does this fit in with your plans for future growth in the esports sector?
“Since our founding in 2010, we’ve always been an innovator in the iGaming and sports betting business, creating many products and solutions for different segments of the market. The natural and logical next step was to unify these brands under one name: ODDS.GROUP. UltraPlay, ODDS.GG, Galaxy.bet, and NFTpay.GG are now part of ODDS.GROUP.
“Esports, being one of our most popular products, is at the fore of our rebranding. We want to introduce our whole portfolio of products to the iGaming industry and esports will be the “accent” in that presentation. Although we are well known for our esports product, new customers are often unaware that we offer tailor-made solutions not only for the esports segment but sports, casino, and live casino as well. We want to show our customers that if we’re good at making a quality esports product, they should check out our other products as well — in order to find the same quality and cutting-edge technology they get in the esports product.”
Another one of your new brands is NFTpay.GG. Some industry commentators believe NFTs will be a short-lived trend. How do you think NFT technology will help the iGaming industry grow sustainably in the long term?
“Unlike cryptocurrencies, that are only used as currencies such as Bitcoin, NFTs are all unique. We can say that they work like limited edition comic books. We know that only 200 will ever be printed, each with a unique number of between 1 and 200. Therefore, even if you bought two, they are unique and different from each other and may have different values as well.
“As you may know, the NFT world and cryptocurrencies are not going through the best of times right now. But as history shows, this is not the first time this has happened to cryptocurrencies. And after each slump or mini-crisis there has hitherto always been record growth in price and popularity.
“Right now the NFT market is just taking shape. More brands want to get in, and sports matches are starting to sell tickets in the form of NFTs. The video game world is also trying to integrate FTT into their projects, which is very successful and already brings them a huge profit.
“The NFT market was worth US$41 billion in 2021, and it is only growing; so it is a good time to start integrating it into the iGaming market, where it can find its place.
“The goal of NFTpay is to enable operators to accept different types of NFT as a payment method. This will allow them to enter this huge market without spending too much. It will also open new frontiers for ordinary users, who will be able to use their digital art as a means of deposit.”
The Pandemic helped to push forward an already fast-growing esports sector and caught the iGaming industry’s attention. Now that we’re transitioning out of lockdown and into the new normal, what factors will help to sustain this sector’s momentum?
“Esports received a massive push from the Pandemic as it was pretty much the only “sport” being played at the time. A lot of people learned about esports during that time and most of them kept their interest, even after the end of Covid19 lockdowns.
“The variety and flexibility of esports, and all the game titles it combines, will undoubtedly help sustain the momentum. For example, games like FIFA and NBA2k lost a bit of their popularity shortly after the end of the Pandemic, but are slowly recovering their numbers. Bettors are now used to seeing these titles among regular football and basketball events in the operators’ websites. The never-ending process of adding new game titles to the esports portfolio is another major factor that is driving the development.”
Sports integrity has, at times, been a recurring issue within esports. How can products like ODDS.GG help with this, and improve industry standards?
“Sports integrity has always been an issue in any sport, and esports is not an exception. We have developed a cutting-edge technology product–ODDS.GG–that will help the whole esports industry in its battle with the integrity issues it has been facing. Our product allows not only iGaming operators, but all stakeholders in the esports industry, to track and monitor the odds and odds movements happening on all esports events being offered. We use an AI hybrid trading model that detects irregularities in odds movement and/or suspicious betting on specific events, or even markets. Our collaboration with over 30 operators across the world helps us track and expose any potential integrity breaches, and we already work with several regulatory bodies that we send our findings to for further investigation. We believe that if all esports stakeholders come together and use their best products we can manage to eradicate, or at the very least minimize, integrity issues and clear the esports name. That’s why our ODDS.GG product is open to everyone, not just the iGaming industry.”
After talking with Peter, it’s clear that tech innovation is the key to the future success of the esports industry. Their ability to leverage the pioneering tech we see present in esports–and expand its usability to other sectors–has been a driving factor for their success.
This also has positive impacts on integrity issues. New tech–driven by AI–means that any irregular odds movement and/or suspicious betting on specific events, or markets, can be tracked and identified a lot easier. Exciting times, indeed, await the esports mega-sphere.