In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis that led to casino closures and sports hiatus, eSports has been enjoying increased attention in the world of gaming. And even before this new intensified attention towards virtual sports, it was still inevitable that eSports would become one of the most profitable forms of gambling since it had found a solid foothold among various gambling channels.
Without any definitive rules regulating this lucrative gambling space, it is not shocking to hear that some would leverage their popularity to double-dip – operating an eSports team while running an eSports gambling site at the same time.
Richard Bengston was invited to a podcast by BADNWZ and talked about how the FaZe Clan was started and shared details about its exponential growth. In the podcast, he indicated their desire to get into CS: GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) tournaments a couple of years ago, but they lacked the bankroll the team needed to make the big leap to eSports gambling. As a result, they started a gambling platform to raise the capital that would get the business running. The endeavor worked well, pulling in at times up to $200,000 on a good day.
Bengston didn’t give out the name of the site, only that it was operated from an Antigua-based mansion after abiding by the law to procure all the required permits. He explains traveling there on a private jet and paying $100,000 to acquire the license from ‘the guy who runs the country.’ He, however, added that the site only stayed afloat for a few months and that it is no longer operational.
Issues revolving around eSports like Richard Bengston’s case are often sensitive, and it’s no wonder why it has taken such a long time for this type of gaming to get the recognition it deserves. Individuals in Bengston’s shoes who have low ethical standards could easily fix matches because they are running the teams and operating a gambling site at the same time. This is mainly part of the reason why eSports has had a rough time finding success in the US. There is also a rising concern that in eSport, owners would promote their teams unfairly to increase their bottom lines.