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Take a risk on esports

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Cole Rush talks to Justin Dellario about the main audience of Unikrn, betting in esports, and challenges for entering the US market.

Dellario, CEO of Unikrn and managing director for esports at Entain has had a very full schedule in the past few months.

Entain acquired Unikrn from the esports operators in October 2021 and relaunched it in December of last year.

Unikrn was relaunched in Brazil, Canada (minus Ontario) and the US.

Unikrn is the perfect solution for Dellario. It has all it takes to succeed in markets that are regulated, and a bit more.

Dellario claims that “we have the largest selection of markets and features in esports wagering globally.” We also offer a traditional sportsbook right alongside esports.

But the product does not end here. Dellario mentions other options the company provides to gamers and esports enthusiasts: skill-based betting products, virtuals for esports, live casinos and more.


The new guard

Dellario says that Unikrn’s main audience is “post-university Gen-Z”.

He says that these players are “very digitally native.” They’re accustomed to inclusive, streamlined experiences. Social media was part of their childhood. A large customer base is out there.

They enjoy watching esports and want to include to their fandom. We’re the best place to bet on esports or video games.

Dellario notes Unikrn only exists in those markets that have licensed it.

He says that as part of Entain, he has no intention to work in “gray or black” areas.

Unikrn’s larger goal is to participate meaningfully in esports.

Justin Dellario is the CEO of Unikrn, an esports company.

Dellario explains: “We consider how we can run a profitable business, and provide customers with an interesting offering.” We also ask how we can contribute to the growth and sustainability of Esports in general.

This means partnering with publishers of games, players, teams and advertisers.


Esports betting and esports intersect

Esports is just as popular with people who enjoy sports like traditional ones.

Dellario is a fan of all aspects, and cites them as the reasons for his interest: “The fans for players, for teams, for competitions, for tuning in, to find out who the best are in the world.”

Fandoms can sometimes be found in the home between friends. It is possible to make this form of entertainment more interesting and fun.

Imagine watching a soccer match while you sprinkle a few pounds over your favorite team. The same is true for bettors on esports.

Esports, in other words are different than traditional sports primarily because they’re brand new. The esports don’t enjoy the same longevity as the traditional sports like football, basketball or the global big moneymakers.

Dellario also addresses the issue of audience age. You have to take into account that many of your audience members are underage. Only adults are allowed to listen to us. “Esports and sports have very similar passions.”

There’s also the issue of markets. In terms of esports, the US is lagging behind. Some global markets have a head start.

Dellario says, “In Australia you have an engaged betting audience in all areas.”

He continues, “Esports gambling is quite popular in Brazil.” And in Canada, where we are currently operating.

Dellario believes that the best way to enter new markets is by waiting. We have to adhere to the consumer protection regulations and standards. Also, we have to inform our target audience. “It’s an unusual challenge.

Dellario claims that “Counter-Strike Global Offensive,” League of Legends and Dota 2 have the highest betting rates. This also coincides with the fact that they are some of the top esports around the globe.

In general, operating a game-as-a-service translates into more longevity in this space. Dellario gives League of Legends, Dota 2, and other games as examples. They’ve existed for a long time and will probably continue to exist.

Newcomers appear from time to moment.

Dellario says that games will reach their peak popularity right around the launch. Or shortly after the release of a brand new piece of content. You’ll see them on Twitch and YouTube. The betting trends reflect these peaks and valleys.”

Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant and other first-person shooting games have seen recent popularity thanks to the constant flow of new innovative titles. Naturally, these types of games are also popular in the betting market.


The US Opportunity

Dellario believes there is a US market for betting on esports. Video Games are also responsible for some of the most successful growth, building and maintenance of their community in the US.

However, the state-by-state regulations can be confusing.

Dellario: “I believe we should see more acceptance and a clear definition on how esports regulation will work across multiple states.” There’s a lack of consistency in the definitions for what is allowed and forbidden. It’s okay for some states to treat esports like a sports. Some states ignore esports”.

Ignoring the esports industry in law can lead to further issues. Esports are they included in the umbrella of sports? Are they considered a different sport? The US is unique because of these inconsistencies.

Gray market products are available. Dellario says that some customers may not be aware they are using products which might not necessarily be legal.

Dellario believes it will take some time to make the US an attractive market for esports gambling. Dellario says that esports gambling is only one part of the esports eco-system.


Unikrn’s future

Unikrn is looking to expand into new markets in the coming years. Dellario explains that they will only do so when they are confident in their ability to operate sustainably and locally while ensuring the safety of customers.

We also aim to be a meaningful participant in the eSports eco-system by creating the most effective customer offerings and forming the correct partnerships.

Unikrn also looks at updating its product, and learning from its users. Dellario says, “We are trying to get in touch with our customers and find out what they value.

Unikrn is well positioned to take advantage of the growing esports market.

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