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An Esport Fantasy League

Steve Shoup

One of the fastest growing forms of betting online for different sporting events has been within fantasy leagues. Part of the reason for this is that they typically aren’t seen as a normal form of gambling and therefore are allowed in a huge number of places that typically don’t allow gambling, particularly across many different states within the US where fantasy leagues are legal but other forms of betting aren’t. Even in other states where there is differences in laws, such as PA online gambling making a difference for example, fantasy leagues continue to be popular. The next big move could be within esports however, as a number of games have embraced the platform and have even integrated it within the game and tournament brackets themselves.

The latest to be seen is within League of Legends and the ongoing World Championship tournament, but this year has an added reward. Within esports the platform is known as “Pick’Ems” and works much in the way that would be expected – a points based system. Players pick expected winners and group placement finishes throughout the group stage of the event, those who successfully pick the results of the game as well as the position which teams will finish in groups, points are awarded and allow you to move further on with the Pick’Ems process. Those knocked out early can tally up their points and collect the lower tier rewards. The knockout stages work in a similar way, players will choose the winner of each bracket for the quarter finals, semi-finals, and eventually the finals with each successful guess once again awarding points. The rewards have varied greatly – typically in the past in the instance of this one game smaller cosmetic rewards are awarded with the winners getting some more expensive in game cosmetic items, but this year the sponsor has also been involved in the process and a prize will a real value of up to $2,500 has been offered. The process of winning certainly isn’t easy however, last year the League of Legends Worlds’ Pick’Ems had a total of five million entrants, and of those only one player guessed every game successfully to take the prize.

There have been other approaches here too, in another popular title of Counter-Strike the early introduction of Pick’Ems was done in a way that would also fund the teams too. This was done through in-game stickers. Users could open capsules that would contain a sticker, these stickers could then be used in the fantasy league process to place their guess – not only were they having the possibility of reward for correctly guessing, but the team stickers would also directly support the team financially. Given the recent growth in esports over the past few years, it’s fully expected that this involvement will become a mainstay and with it being so directly integrated into the platforms it does restrict the external market somewhat, it does however show a growing support for a newer form of betting and one that often isn’t restricted in many different places.



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