The COVID-19 pandemic has brought esports very much to the fore and alongside that, it has also seen a marked increase in esports betting. One of the most oft-cited problems with esports betting, according to some, has been ensuring its integrity.
Well, that issue has been addressed by Activision Blizzard for their two standout esports titles, the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League, thanks to a key partnership deal announced today with Sportradar.
Who are Sportradar?
Sportradar are an organization that focuses on combating match-fixing and ensuring the integrity for gamblers looking to place wagers on esports and is certainly no coincidence that at this time of heightened interest in Call of Duty and Overwatch betting, not to mention many other forms of esports bets, that Activision Blizzard has made this move at this time.
CEO of Activision Blizzard Pete Vlastica explained:
“It’s not surprising there is increased attention around our live competitions in the absence of traditional sports. Our collaboration with Sportradar is a specific engagement to increase integrity efforts we already have in place.”
The deal appears to confirm that Sportradar will act as another line of security within the esports betting industry, working alongside those already implemented by Activision Blizzard to ensure that gamers conduct themselves in a fair and responsible manner, so punters can be sure that what they bet on at their pick of esports betting sites, is a fair bet.
A fact which was further emphasized by Jason Hahn, the head of strategic initiatives at Activision Blizzard as he commented:
“As fans increasingly engage with wagering on matches, we need to ensure we are doing as much as we can to proactively protect our ecosystem.”
“Betting on traditional sports seem slow”
Speaking to Sports Illustrated about the deal, the CEO of Esports betting site specialists Unikrn, Rahul Sood, expressed his positive view of the deal.
“This is a big win for gambling on esports,” Mr. Sood commented.
“In theory, bookmakers can now use live data to create live betting markets at a fidelity that will make betting on traditional sports seem slow. This is also great news to see publishers getting on board with wagering.”
Key Aspect of the Deal
As Unikrn CEO Mr. Sood noted, the key element of this deal may not just be the fact that betting on Overwatch League and Call of Duty League betting is as secure it can be, but also that software development companies are now engaging with the esports betting community and those seeking to protect its integrity.
That marks a notable step forward for both industries.
For punters seeking to indulge in a little betting on the Call of Duty or Overwatch Leagues, this is extremely positive news as it means they can be sure, if they were not already, that the games scheduled are going to be free from issues such as match-fixing and similar.
The fact that match-fixing issues in esports are generally rare anyway, is a moot point. This move from Activision Blizzard to partner with Sportradar is a clear statement of intent that any player playing less than fairly, will be found out and will likely be banned for life.
If integrity in esports was already high, then the good news is that this deal will just increase that level of honesty and openness still further.