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Heidi Specter November 21, 2019 3 min read
Wondr Gaming Adds Rival.Ai to Boost Esports Offer
Artificial intelligence esports data company Rival.ai has been acquired by Wondr Gaming, a fund created with the sole purpose of building a strong portfolio of esports assets that complement each other.
Rival.ai Becomes Wondr Gaming Brand
Esports investment fund Wondr Gaming has concluded the acquisition of Rival.ai, an artificial intelligence esports platform.
Rival.ai is focused on providing comprehensive esports data during live games, offering opportunities to esports fans to place wagers according to AI algorithms.
Created by Mike Cotton and Jon Dwyer, the Wondr Gaming fund is looking to acquire valuable assets in the esports segment.
Commenting on the developments, Cotton had this to say:
“We’re thrilled to have completed our first transaction and are actively in discussions with multiple companies for our next acquisition”
He further added that Wondr Gaming was focused on collaborating with multiple teams and products, and pushing various companies by finding synergies and complementing their offers.
A Strategic Development for Rival.ai
The acquisition of Rival is strategic as it allows Wondr Gaming to focus on betting entities, the executives specified.
While financial details have not been disclosed, Rival.ai will operate under the Wondr Gaming brand, without any internal shifts in management.
Bryan Yale and James Mifsud will continue in their roles of chief operating officer and chief executive respectively.
Misfud added that acquiring Rival.ai allowed Wondr Gaming to support an industry the team truly loved. He went on to say:
“With this, we will become a leading data provider supporting betting platforms and further developing our core services. We are excited to take our technology to the next level.”
Esports Betting: A New Frontier
With the key source of revenue from esports coming from sponsorships with big brands, esports betting is proving to be another lucrative market.
According to one estimate, esports is the largest and most underappreciated segment to date so far as competitive video games go.
However, no accurate survey has been conducted to fully represent the actual value of the market.
Before, Valve got embroiled with a lawsuit where plaintiff argued the company had been facilitating underage gambling through skins – cosmetic items available in Valve games, such as Counter-Strike and Dota 2, among other titles in esports – the ‘skin betting market’ was on track to hit $12 billion by 2020.
However, the sudden legal focus on the issue prompted Valve to quickly suspend all trading platforms offering such services.
As a result, skin trading websites are illegal and generally mistrusted. While the exact value of esports betting is not entirely clear, esports as a whole is going to exceed $1 billion in 2019, Newzoo has reported.
Endemic and Non-Endemic Sportsbooks
In the United States, Unikrn received a license to operate esports betting markets. The platform is one of the so-called endemic sportsbooks, focusing entirely on esports. Similar platforms include Lockbox and Rivalry.
Meanwhile, there are companies, such as Pinnacle and William Hill, referred to as non-endemic, to offer a mix of traditional sports competitions – which is their staple – and competitive video gaming.