Entain has moved to significantly boost its standing in esports, having successfully completed its acquisition of esports betting and skill-based wagering platform Unikrn.
The takeover will see the FTSE100 firm incorporate Unikrn’s brand, products, platform and technology, as well as its 50-strong team, into its own operating capacity by 2022, with the goal of launching ‘innovative new esports products for customers’.
Prominent Unikrn products which will be leveraged by Entain will include the operator’s U-Mode service, which allows bettors to wager on their own ranked matches in video game competitions, and it’s AI-powered real-time updating odds platform Streamer Bet, which focuses on betting on Twitch streams.
“Entain is all about creating exciting and innovative products for our customers,” said Justin Dellario, Entain’s Managing Director of Esports, who joined the company from the aforementioned gaming streaming platform Twitch with the task of ‘leading the push into the new market’.
“With Unikrn, we’ll now be able to offer competitive gamers and esports fans alike rewarding experiences surrounding the games and events they love,” Dellario continued.
Entain’s planned acquisition of Unikrn was confirmed in August of this year, as the Ladbrokes and Coral operator looks to further leverage esports, which is steadily becoming a mainstream form of entertainment with over 450 million gamers aged 18-35.
The firm has detailed its belief that these gamers ‘have strong potential to become new customers in other areas of its business’, due to the fact that this demographic is ‘more than four times more likely’ to participate in sports betting and igaming than other groups.
Additionally, the company has further projected that esports wagering and social casino offerings could add over £20 billion to addressable markets by 2025, whilst maintaining that products in these areas could strengthen customer acquisition, retention and engagement.
The acquisition of Unikrn also includes some safer gambling initiatives and player protections via the Entain Foundation, as well as through partnerships the operator has clinched with the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, Kindbridge and Rise Above the Disorder, with the goal of providing ‘education and support to players at risk of gaming disorder’.