ith almost all traditional sporting events interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and land-based casinos forced to shut down for months in several jurisdictions worldwide, the esports industry emerged as one the few sectors to thrive, as it is able to continue online. Esports betting platform Luckbox, for instance, said last month that their total bets were up 500% since lockdown started.
Quentin Martin is the CEO at Luckbox, which is preparing to go public on the TSX Venture Exchange, a stock exchange in Canada, after signing a letter of intent with capital pool company Elephant Hill. Martin has also held different management positions at The Stars Group for over 8 years.
“There are more people at home, playing games again, using games to reconnect with their friends,” he told Yogonet in a video interview. He said one of the big trends in that sense is the rise of FIFA and NBA2K, which made up less than 1% of the betting volume before the crisis, and now represent between 10 and 20% depending on the operator. He believes this comes from traditional sports bettors, as they immigrate across games they recognize easier to bet on. After the crisis, he says those games could decrease a little bit, but the rest will stay flat and continue to grow according to the pre-pandemic rate.
Watch the full interview with Luckbox CEO Quentin Martin:
Regarding the esports gaming integrity issues, Martin thinks this has always been overinflated in the esports space because it is new. However, he acknowledges that during the pandemic, with the tournaments being held mostly online rather than at LANs and large arenas, there could be a slight increase in the risk of integrity issues.
As for the key reasons to go public and become the second public-listed esports betting company, he said they want to do some acquisitions, and as odds creation is the only segment Luckbox doesn’t do in-house right now, they are in talks and hope to make some announcement in the next three or six months in that sense.
Martin underlined the technology challenges major gambling companies face and he said they need esports bettors so they can acquire the younger generations. In that sense, he hopes to announce a B2B deal in the next three or six months, “not many, maybe two or three, with some of the largest players in the gambling space to become their bespoke partners on deep integrations, and we'll grow from there.”
Martin also shared what he believes will be the biggest trend in the coming years: “Esports will take over from traditional sports. It certainly will with regards to user acquisition, for traditional gambling companies, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when," Martin said. He believes esports will become the number one user acquisition channel somewhere in the next five to ten years, "probably nearer to five."