Today marks a huge step forward for the future of regulated, peer to peer wagering in esports. It is with great pleasure that after many months of planning, strategizing and building that Esports Entertainment Group’s first of its kind LANDuel event is live. The event is slated to take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey on 1/22/22 and 1/23/22 (more information here). Alongside our partners at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Esports Entertainment Group and LANDuel will run a 256-person double elimination tournament featuring New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement approval. This will be the first, state sanctioned, in-person, peer to peer wagering event in esports. Yes, you all heard that right, players will not only compete for a shot at the prize pool of the tournament but will be able to legally wager on the outcome of their matches through our LANDuel software.
Why Is This Important?
Many may ask, why is this important? LANDuel was created with the belief that there is a better, safer way for players to enjoy peer to peer wagering in esports. For too long peer to peer wagering has resembled the wild west with online sites operating outside the purview of regulation, allowing for various bad actors to cast doubt on a past time many gamers love. By not engaging with regulators to design and implement systems to protect players, this market has come under fire from customers everywhere. Whether it be underage participants competing on these sites that offer no Know Your Customer (“KYC”) protocols or players misleading other competitors about their true skill level and taking money from players of lesser skill, the current state of online peer to peer wagering is fraught with peril from a consumer perspective.
The experience is equally as frustrating for the regulatory bodies and casinos operators as current peer to peer wagering companies have not cooperated with these groups to make the experience more enjoyable and safer for all. By doing so they are depriving the state and license holders of tax and license revenue, which is bad for the eco-system and promotes conflict in what should be a booming market. Finally, by not implementing the proper reporting and infrastructure, current operators aren’t innovating, and progress is slowing, not accelerating.
Why LANDuel is the Future?
When we began building LANDuel 2 years ago we wanted to approach the problem differently, instead of operating in the grey area, we wanted to embrace state regulators, publishers and casino partners to drive the eco-system forward and offer a better experience for all involved. After speaking with the NJ DGE, our first call was with the visionaries over at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino led by Joe Lupo and Mike Woodside. As we talked about the future of casinos and how to attract the next generation of patrons, we quickly agreed that peer to peer wagering around esports represent a huge opportunity for casino operators. With that said, the DGE and Hard Rock challenged us to build the software and event in a way that would meet their rigorous standards.
EEG Labs, led by William Collis and Paul Gavin, built the software designed to execute in-person events featuring robust KYC protocols, advanced data science for match making and air-tight reporting mechanisms. We believe that LANDuel offers a way for casino partners to safely embrace the wagering of the future, esports, while offering the best experience to gamers. Instead of the obfuscated online offerings, LANDuel has chosen to partner with Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to drive gamers to their property and enjoy all that comes visiting their beautiful property while enjoying a safe and regulated esports wagering and tournament event.
Furthermore, we invested heavily in our data and analytics behind our match making algorithm to ensure that players of like skill are matched, to avoid “pool sharks” and sand baggers. Elaborating on this, our system, via computer vision and machine learning, stores in-game performance as well as overall match outcomes to inform player skill over the course of their play in LANDuel matches. This allows us to better match players equally, adjust for improvements/decreases in performance and identify anomalous behavior to provide the most reliable match making. At the end of the day, we are nothing without our customers and offering them a sleek, fun and enjoyable experience is our ultimate goal.
Our approach of redefining the field on which peer to peer wagering is delivered satisfies the regulators, as players need to be in-person to compete, allowing our team to ensure that the identity of the players matches who they claim to be. Our tournament operations team led by Jack Vandervelde and Patrick Kenyon coupled with our legal team in Lydia Roy and Eric Frank, have implemented systems to seamlessly assure players are who they say they are while delivering a world class experience. This coupled with our robust reporting capabilities satisfies state revenue certifications and makes sure those who have invested heavily in the gambling eco-system in New Jersey are rewarded for their efforts.
While this event is the first of many, we are so grateful to Esports Entertainment Group lead by CEO Grant Johnson, President of Esports Magnus Leppaniemi and VP of Strategy Jeff Cohen for having faith in our team and product, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, without our partners this landmark event would not be possible. We already have another event, with a different game title, in the works and will be working to expand into new titles and formats in the coming months.
From the entire LANDuel team, Thank you!
Murph Vandervelde, VP of Business Development and LANDuel at Esports Entertainment Group