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Esports and India – can the two win big?

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Esports and India - can the two win big?Reading Time: 4 minutes

For 47 days in India’s summer heat last year, eight IPL teams played a 60-game tournament, culminating in a one-run win for Mumbai Indians. More than 25 players, along with several coaches and members of Mumbai’s staff were rewarded with USD 2.4 million. Two months later, in Seattle, Team Liquid, comprising five members, bagged USD 10.86 million of the USD 24.7 million prize money for winning an 11-day Dota 2 tournament called The International.

The rise of the esports industry – currently valued at USD 700 million – has been compared to the exponential growth of cryptocurrencies, but without the unpredictability of the bull and bear trends that govern financial markets. Predictably, the subsequent influx of capital from external investors – Alibaba, Intel, The Walt Disney Company*, The Kraft Group, Hewlett Packard and even Jennifer Lopez – has helped sustain its growth. The latest boost is the IOC recognizing it as a ‘competitive sport’, the first of many steps towards seeing esports in the Olympics.

More than half of the esports markets is in China, USA and South Korea; the scale of awareness, and inevitable growth in India, though, hasn’t yet materialised, with the absence of widespread high-speed internet connectivity the most influential of several reasons. Yet Lokesh Suji, director of the Esports Federation of India – India’s esports governing body – is optimistic on the sport’s prospects.

India’s world ranking (in the IeSF esports championship) jumped from 29 to 20 last year,” he told ESPN. “It’s estimated that India has around 120 million online gamers. This population will cross 300 million by 2021. From a PC and console perspective, the spread is largely concentrated to metro and B-category cities, but for mobile, the other cities have a decent share. From a gender perspective, we have 32% females, who are active on consoles. The serious esports community in India is pegged around 10 million.”

The typical gamer is between 18-25 years old and picks up esports in college. Game strategies are developed during classes, with breaks spent executing them. A few years ago, gamers had a hobby, but not a career opportunity. That is what’s changing. In 2017, for example, in all tournaments combined, more than INR 2 crores (USD 308,000 approx) was paid out as prize money for competitions in India.

Considering the incipient stage esports is in India, growth percentages, rather than actual prize pools, are a fairer measure of growth in a developing market. The prize money for Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), two of the most popular global games, increased by 40 and 46% respectively in the past 12 months. According to data from AFKgaming, Dota 2’s prize pay-out rose from INR 40 lakhs (USD 67,000) in 2016 to INR 67 lakhs (USD 103,000) in 2017. CS:GO’s increased from INR 36 lakhs (USD 56,000) to INR 68 lakhs (USD 105,000) in the same period.

But Suji advises caution. “We have always counselled the budding talent that studies and education comes first in a country like India,” he says. “Don’t compromise on your studies to follow your passion, India has not yet reached the level of cricket. It will take time. This time will be less in comparison to what cricket took to reach where it is today. India has the largest youth population in the world. Esports is culturally more relevant to current and upcoming generations.

There is much work to be done, Suji concedes. “Esports needs to be taken to the grassroots levels. Esports cafes will create awareness and act as a training ground for budding Indian talent and will help identifying the best athletes. With regards to counselling budding talent.. at times we even get calls from parents of the youngsters who want to take up esports as a career. ESFI is working with colleges and schools to get esports included as part of their sports and cultural fests.

No sport has gained popularity without spectators and growing fan bases. Esports has adopted a franchise-based model, with gamers from several countries comprising a team. According to a report by Newzoo, a company that tracks intelligence in the digital gaming industry, esports could have 586 million participants by 2020, with more than half coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Still in its nascent stage, India will make up just a fraction of that viewership base.

The size and scale of opportunity is growing, but it’s at a nascent stage,” Rajan Navani, Managing Director of JetSyntheses, a digital gaming company, tells ESPN. “Esports moving into the Olympics is going to give a big fillip to a country like India. The market will really grow when we have esports champions coming to India.

The best parallel is China, 10-15 years ago, if you look at digital gaming and esports, it was nothing. But now, it’s the largest market. India will have the same growth as China, but not in the same way. Broadband reached the homes of people, it changed the esports industry. When you have high bandwidth, you have great connectivity. And digital payments is a relatively new phenomenon.

In India, investments are flooding in, albeit primarily for millennial engagement as opposed to the traditional esports method of competitions played in front of specially-designed computers. “Gaming is the digital gateway to consumers in India. Esports cannot be developed in isolation, it needs an ecosystem of payments, players, competitiveness,” Navani says. “Many people don’t have the means. In India, there is a small group that pays and a larger group that engages.

That approach to esports in a developing market seems to be working. Walking into a recent digital gaming show on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it feels like a chance for gamers to tour the chocolate factory. Stalls covering the length of a football field allow trials of different genres of games. The characters of several RPG’s (Role Playing Games) have come to life through costumes. Shirts in bright colours with technical jargons, such as ‘Gamers don’t die, we respawn’ feel nostalgic.

But there only seem to be young faces around, another reminder of the distinct industry demographic. Parents lag behind their children, either unexcited or oblivious. Blaring, echoing music adds to the ambience. It’s loud, much like how esports has been in the last few years.

Like any other sport, the industry has had to maintain its integrity by effectively managing hurdles such as performance-enhancing drugs and match-fixing. Like any other sport, it is evolving and maturing quickly to a global audience. But with a unique niche, exponential growth and its ability to attract more, it is unlike any other sport.

 

Source: espn.in


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First Year

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Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion Nears $400 Million for the State in First YearReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Upfront licensing fees a short-term boon for state coffers, but revenue from gamblers will still have to wait, says PlayPennsylvania.com

 

Gambling has injected more than $385 million into Pennsylvania coffers in the first year since a law was passed to expand gambling in the state, surpassing state budget estimates. Upfront licensing fees for casinos, online casinos, and sportsbooks, as well as mini-casino auction profits and tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports, have combined to net Pennsylvania more than $1 million a day since late 2017, according to a recent analysis by PlayPennsylvania.com.

“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue gained from gamblers,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Clearly there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate the fees.”

The revenue estimates were tabulated by PlayPennsylvania.com using a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, keno, and virtual sports sales numbers. A detailed accounting of the revenue generated so far can be found at playpennsylvania.com/revenue.

Using return-to-player rates of the games, PlayPennsylvania estimates that the state has collected more than $23 million in revenue from online lotto games ($19.6 million), keno ($3.6 million), and virtual sports ($87,000) through October.

Other sources of revenue so far from the law include:

  • Mini-casino auction profits, $128 million
  • Interactive gaming petitions, $94 million
  • Casino licensing, $78 million
  • Sports betting petitions, $60 million
  • Daily Fantasy Sports tax revenue, $1.4 million

By comparison to the gambling expansion, the state collected $799.8 million in taxes from statewide slot revenues in fiscal 2017-18. Pennsylvania estimated in February that the state will generate more than $34 billion in general fund revenues for its 2018-19 fiscal year.

“If the point of the expansion was to fill short-term gaps in the state’s budget, then the expansion would have to be considered a success so far,” Welman said. “We believe that the gambling expansion will eventually prove to be a winner for the state’s budget, but the long-term picture is less certain. More casinos and sportsbooks must open before we get a clear picture of whether Pennsylvania’s relatively steep tax rates and license fees will produce the desired outcome.”

With the November opening of the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Penn National, the rollout of sports betting is just beginning in Pennsylvania. More openings are expected in December and January, too.

In addition, Pennsylvania should begin adding revenue from online gambling in early 2019, and further down the line, mini-casinos should enter the fray.

“The addition of retail sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

 

About The PlayUSA Network:
The PlayUSA Network and its state-focused branches (including PlayNJ.com, PlayNY.com, PlayPennsylvania.com, and PlayCA.com) is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the U.S.

 

Source: PlayPennsylvania.com


Source: European Gaming Media

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Week 49 slot games releases

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Week 49 slot games releasesReading Time: 3 minutes

 

We’re back with the latest slots releases!

 

Innovative game development studio: Evoplay Entertainment has released its latest out of this world slots game, E.T. Lost Socks. Alexander Levchenko, Chief Executive Officer at Evoplay Entertainment, said: “E.T. Lost Socks is one of our most adventurous slots yet, and proof that we really aren’t alone. This highly engaging, all-action game will appeal to every type of slots fan across the globe. E.T. Lost Socks joins a 50-strong portfolio of slots, table, and instant games produced at the company’s development studios in Ukraine.

 E.T. Lost Socks Slot Game

 

Tom Horn Gaming takes slots players on an icy adventure in the kingdom of perpetual winter with it’s release of Frozen Queen! Wandering through a 4-reel frozen landscape in the base game, players might get lucky and come across two special Scatter Symbols in the form of magic crystals. These crystals activate 10 non-retriggerable Free Spins and introduce the Frozen Queen that materialises like the Sticky Expanding Wild, forming the 5th reel.

Tom Horn Gaming Frozen Queen slot

 

Santa’s got to get the sleigh ready for Christmas and what better way to do it than with the charming Naughty or Nice girls in their new bikini car wash? With five reels and 30 fixed lines, you can find yourself getting lucky with the Lucky Feature (5-7 free games), or the hit three Naughty or Nice III scatters for seven Free Spins, or, the toughest decision you’ll have to make playing this game, choose between the two girls and see what you get with the Pick A Girl Bonus. Tough choice!

Naughty or Nice 3 slot from RTG Asia

 

Green Jade Games, a company in the MRG Group, has launched its innovative slots portfolio with Hammer of Fortune. Green Jade’s games clearly stand out from what is currently available on the market. “Hammer of Fortune is the ideal game to introduce Green Jade Games to the market. It’s innovative and represents a new iGaming genre. Green Jade Games’ future is set to be very interesting,” – commented Per Norman, CEO of MRG.

 Green Jade Games - Hammer of Furtune

We end our weekly roundup, with perhaps the most anticipated release: Aristocrat is all set to launch a slot game based on the sci-fi-fantasy TV programme Westworld. The game leverages full potential of the fantasy and takes players on a thrilling journey through Delos Lab and Westworld, filled with unexpected twists and turns, fan-favourite characters and beautiful landscapes, as well as high-definition footage of the most memorable scenes, episodic photography and the show’s distinctive music. It promises to be a unique gaming experience in which fans can play in two different worlds.

Aristocrat to launch Westworld slot

 


Source: European Gaming Media

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special Dividend

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Gaming Partners International Announces Special DividendReading Time: 1 minute

 

Gaming Partners International Corporation, the leading worldwide provider of casino currency and table gaming equipment, announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a special cash dividend of $0.12 per issued and outstanding share of common stock to be paid no later than 21 December 2018 to stockholders of record as of 10 December 2018. As of November 27, 2018, the Company had 8,045,968 common shares issued and outstanding, resulting in an aggregate dividend of $965,516.

 

About Gaming Partners International Corporation:

GPIC manufactures and supplies casino table game equipment to licensed casinos worldwide. Under the brand names of Paulson®, Bourgogne et Grasset®, Gemaco®, Dolphin® and Bud Jones®, GPIC provides casino currency such as chips, plaques and jetons; playing cards; table layouts; gaming furniture and table accessories; dice; and roulette wheels. GPIC pioneered the use of security features such as radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology in casino currency and provides RFID solutions including RFID readers, software and displays. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, GPIC also has manufacturing facilities, warehouses and/or sales offices in Beaune, FranceSan Luis Rio Colorado, MexicoBlue Springs, MissouriAtlantic City, New JerseyGulfport, Mississippi; and Macau S.A.R., China. For additional information, please visit http://www.gpigaming.com.


Source: European Gaming Media

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