Peter Ivanov is the Head of Esports Trading at UltraPlay. Based in Bulgaria and founded in 2010 UltraPlay offers betting solutions focused on esports, sports betting, casino, Bitcoin solutions and live betting.
Ivanov will be on the panel at our upcoming ESI Forum at Fnatic’s Bunkr on August 31st discussing the current challenges and opportunity in esports betting. You can find out more about this event here and secure your tickets (only £15 + VAT).
Esports Insider: Over 100 bookmakers now offer esports markets. What do you see as the current key challenges and opportunities in offering esports betting?
Peter Ivanov: Esports has been a hot topic for bookmakers for the past few years and will hold the attention of the betting industry. Its popularity is increasing among different verticals, winning more and more fans around the globe.
“Challenges are a good sign as they always lead to thorough discussions, re-considerations and improvements”
Growing by numbers of supporters and revenues, esports has also faced key challenges. The big differences between the games that form the esports scene and their respective communities as well as the accessibility of game data needed for odds compilation have raised the bar. Challenges are a good sign as they always lead to thorough discussions, re-considerations and improvements. The main opportunities are focused on new player acquisition – ways to attract and engage people who are not interested in betting on other sports. That particular group of players as well as iGaming operators can be easily immersed into the esports betting world. First, you have to offer a unique product and second – to establish a leading role in a new market.
ESI: Why did you decide to get involved in the upcoming ESI Forum on August 31st? What can attendees expect to hear from the panel?
Peter: Esports is constantly evolving, and such opportunities for discussions such as the ESI Forum are great to reflect on the newest changes and trends in esport betting.
“At the second edition of the ESI Forum, I would like to share my insight into what we can expect from now on in the esports betting scene and how different operators have succeeded or failed”
As an esports betting pioneer, UltraPlay keeps on contributing to the sector by participating and sharing cases, statistics and industry reports. At the second edition of the ESI Forum, I would like to share my insight into what we can expect from now on in the esports betting scene and how different operators have succeeded or failed in their attempt to enter the esports market.
ESI: How has business been going for UltraPlay in 2017? What has the past year taught you?
Peter: UltraPlay has experienced a tremendous growth in 2017 with many successful partnerships and new iGaming operators integrating our advanced betting products.
We expanded our esports betting portfolio to emerging markets in Europe and Latin America. We also consolidated our leadership position in Asia, where esports is growing at an exponential rate. ICE Totally Gaming 2017 was a huge success for UltraPlay, where our products were in high demand and our booth was full of esports enthusiasts and clients willing to learn more from us and make the next step in the iGaming market.
“CSGO, League of Legends and Dota 2 are way ahead of other esport titles when it comes to betting”
The company is constantly developing and adding new games or markets to its esports portfolio. The super popular Chinese dedicated game King of Glory was recently added as well as the real time live betting option for Heroes of the Storm.
ESI: UltraPlay is involved in both Bitcoin and esports. Do you think cryptocurrencies will play a big role in the future of esports betting?
Peter: Undoubtedly yes as cryptocurrencies are taking over the whole betting world, not only esports.
Instant low cost transactions are something that the betting world needed for a very long time and cryptocurrencies will definitely improve that. Also the high computer and tech literacy of people involved in esports makes them a perfect match to the typical cryptocurrency’ user profile. We are the pioneers in bitcoin offering enabling iGaming operators to envision this advantage and provide it to players.
We set our goals higher in order to improve the way online betting is done and perceived by the punters. New ways which are more secured and faster than before are coming along with the bright vision for user-friendly and exciting betting experience embracing the cutting-edge technology of the cryptocurrency world.
ESI: Does League continue to dominate in terms of market volume? What of the current status on other titles? And which would you recommend including for a bookmaker new to esports?
Peter: CSGO, League of Legends and Dota 2 are way ahead of other esport titles when it comes to betting, mainly due to their respective communities having already adopted betting as a natural part of their esport scene.
“Undoubtedly yes as cryptocurrencies are taking over the whole betting world, not only esports”
Offering odds on those three games is an absolute must for every respectable bookmaker nowadays but if you really want to engage with the esports audience, you should not underestimate any gaming community big or small. You never know what it will grow into. The question here is do you want to offer esports only because everyone talks about it or do you really want to make it an important vertical in your business?
ESI: What are your thoughts on the Overwatch League’s potential?
Peter: We had several discussions with people involved in it or considering taking part. It all comes down to the way it will be executed since we all know that the demand for a big well structured Overwatch league has been there since the game was published.
The key point is shifting the focus from the money side of the league to the playing side and that will be vital for its success. In terms of betting, the Overwatch scene has been struggling because of the lack of regular high-profile events but the demand for betting opportunities on Overwatch has always been there. So, I for one, am quite optimistic.
UltraPlay are supporting the #ESIForum on August 31st at Fnatic’s Bunkr in London. Ivanov will join an all-star panel debating the topic of esports betting; what is its true potential?