North American esports organisation OpTic Gaming is part of a group seeking investment to launch a new betting venture, according to a report by esports gambling newsletter Sharpr.
OpTic has reportedly formed a group with gambling consultancy service RedZone Digital, and former iGaming operator EBET executives Bart Barden and Jason Finch, to find funding for the project.
The group is looking to raise $7.5m (~£6.3m) to launch the prospective company, which is set to be called NextGen Wagering, per Sharpr’s report. OpTic has reportedly already signed a letter of intent to pursue the partnership.
According to Sharpr, the product suite would see the creation of a sportsbook, OpTic branch into betting content and affiliate marketing, and the offering of skill-based wagering and fantasy products. The plans also reportedly include launching a whitelabel solution to offer to other esports teams and influencers.
An investor presentation reviewed by Sharpr, which has not been seen by Esports Insider, allegedly reveals that the initiative looks to generate a total of $71.3m (~£59.5m) over five years, at a projected operating cost of $60.9m (~£50.9m). NextGen Wagering would purchase technology and assets from iGaming provider EBET’s discontinued esports vertical to build its products from, Sharpr reported.
This appears to be the first time a gambling company has collaborated with an esports organisation for a partnership of this nature — though Rivalry did team up with Blacklist International to launch a Dota 2 team late last year.
OpTic’s role seemingly would be to act as the customer acquisition funnel, earning money via marketing and affiliate revenue share by converting its young, highly-engaged fans into NextGen Wagering users.
But the alleged plans reveal the organisation could also potentially offer its own OpTic-branded sportsbook in the future. This may face tension or resistance amongst publishers, many of whom — most notably Riot Games and Activision Blizzard — explicitly disallow gambling partnerships for teams in its franchised leagues.
The move would represent an interesting shift in business model for an esports organisation, at a time when more and more teams are looking to diversify their businesses in pursuit of more profitable revenue streams.
OpTic has made previous efforts to diversify its business, having bought streaming tech platform Botisimo for an undisclosed amount in July 2022.
The organisation currently competes in the Call of Duty League under the name OpTic Texas, as well as in Rocket League, Apex Legends and Halo. OpTic merged with Envy Gaming in November 2021 and rebranded Envy teams to OpTic in June 2022.
Esports Insider has reached out to OpTic Gaming for comment and did not immediately receive a reply. We will update this article if we receive a reply.