Regulatory Easing Could See Sports Betting Expanded

NEW YORK, July 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the legal system slowly becomes more friendly towards online sports betting, states around the country look towards the young and growing industry to raise tax revenue. For example, a recent report by the Boston Herald indicates that sports betting could expand from online casinos and into restaurants and bars if lawmakers approve two amendments included with a massive economic development bill that also aims to tackle housing, transportation bonds, carbon taxes and more. Fair Play Massachusetts spokesman Ryan McCollum explained that it is a no brainer, especially at a time of a pandemic, "We help out our small, local businesses and we allow more safe and legal access throughout the state, all while bringing in more much needed state revenue." Sports betting is one of several newly developing segments of online entertainment which have become more accessible thanks to an easy to use internet infrastructure. And while online entertainment is a very diverse market, some segments have become clear leaders in terms of growth potential. For example, eSports have also become a popular form of entertainment in recent years. FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS), HUYA Inc. (NYSE: HUYA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO)

For eSports, the increasing audience reach and engagement activities, formidable investments, grow live streaming numbers of games, and increasing infrastructure for the league tournaments are all key factors driving the market growth. Overtime, the video gaming industry has changed from being a casual hobby to a professional career opportunity. Large eSports tournaments now involve millions of fans, similar to conventional sports. As a result, these tournaments are attracting sponsors and investments from international brands to celebrities resulting in overcrowded stadiums and live streaming. Overall, the global eSports market size was valued at USD 1.1 Billion in 2019 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.4% from 2020 to 2027.

FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS) just announced breaking news this morning that its, "subsidiary McBookie Ltd ("McBookie"), a technology company providing leading online gambling solutions, is preparing to welcome back Scottish football for the first time in five months. The 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season is set to start on Saturday, August 1, 2020.

The new season kicks off this weekend with six games played over Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Fans will be able to watch this weekend's best matches, and more fixtures than ever before through Sky Sports exclusive deal to televise 48 Premiership games this season.

 "We are excited to welcome back Scottish football, as it represents the largest betting volume per single sport on our platform," said Paul Petrie, McBookie founder and Director. "During the 2019 season, the Scottish Premiership produced $567k CAD of betting volume, representing approximately 13% of the total $4.42M CAD turnover on football last season."

With the Scottish football season being cut short in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Mcbookie customers were still able to enjoy betting on alternative sports such as the English Premier League.

 "It has been a long five months without football in this country and we're excited for the first ball to be kicked," continued Paul Petrie. "Our customers have enjoyed betting on the English Premier League, but nothing really beats betting on football from your own country. After a strong month with the completion of the English Premier League, the new Scottish Premiership season gives McBookie the opportunity to start the journey on their home turf and watch the business achieve new heights."

"As a versatile betting platform, Mcbookie has once again showcased they are able to provide a diverse set of betting solutions to a growing customer base in any market environment," commented Darius Eghdami, CEO and Chairman of FansUnite Entertainment. "With the acquisition earlier this year, our goal was to provide the team with both financial and human resources in order to drive customer registration and scale the platform."

McBookie is also launching a revamped loyalty programme in conjunction with the start of the 2020 Scottish Premiership season, and has introduced the Tartan Club to reward regular customers with free bets, enhanced odds, and enhanced prices.

The platform will also continue its sponsorship of the Daily Record's Mr Fixit column and Jim Delahunt's column in the Scottish Sun, the most impactful gambling coverage in the country's two biggest national newspapers .

About FansUnite Entertainment Inc. - FansUnite is a sports and entertainment company, focusing on technology related to regulated and lawful online gaming and other related products. The principal business is operating the FansUnite Sportsbook and the website of its wholly-owned subsidiary, McBookie Limited, offering online gaming services to the UK market. FansUnite is also a provider of technology solutions, products and services in the gaming and entertainment industry and looks to acquire technology platforms and assets with high-growth potential in new or developing markets."

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HUYA Inc. (NYSE: HUYA), a leading game live streaming platform in China, announced on May 20th, its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.  Total net revenues for the first quarter of 2020 increased by 47.8% to RMB2,411.9 million (US$340.6 million), from RMB1,631.5 million for the same period of 2019.  Net income attributable to HUYA Inc. was RMB171.2 million (US$24.2 million) for the first quarter of 2020, representing an increase of 169.8% from RMB63.5 million for the same period of 2019.  Average mobile MAUs of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 74.7 million, representing an increase of 38.6% from 53.9 million in the first quarter of 2019.  Average MAUs of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 151.3 million, representing an increase of 22.2% from 123.8 million in the first quarter of 2019. Total number of paying users of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 6.1 million, representing an increase of 13.0% from 5.4 million in the first quarter of 2019.  "Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to achieve fast user growth," said Mr. Rongjie Dong, Chief Executive Officer of Huya. "Our mobile MAUs increased 38.6% year-over-year in the first quarter, reaching 74.7 million. This is a record high that further demonstrates the vitality and engaging nature of our ecosystem. I am exceptionally proud of our team, and their ability to work through this stressful period to help people stay connected and provide them with rich online entertainment content." 

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, two leading global, city-based esports organizations, and Sportradar, a worldwide market leader in integrity services across both traditional sports and esports, announced on May 7th, an agreement for a comprehensive integrity program to protect both leagues from betting-related corruption.  "Call of Duty League and Overwatch League have long taken steps to safeguard the integrity of matches, and working with Sportradar is a step to further reinforce the importance of fair play," said Jason Hahn, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Activision Blizzard Esports. "As our esports activities continue to grow and as fans increasingly engage with wagering on matches, we need to ensure we are doing as much as we can to proactively protect our ecosystem. Working with Sportradar, an industry leader, is important in protecting our players, teams and matches and giving fans the best experience they deserve. We look forward to establishing this relationship with Sportradar and continued expansion of our work together." 

NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) announced earlier in January, new G-SYNC esports displays.  The new G-SYNC displays with a 360Hz refresh rate, providing esports enthusiasts and competitive gamers with the fastest gaming displays ever made. At 360Hz, game frames are displayed once every 2.8ms—up to 6X faster than traditional gaming displays and TVs.  The esports and competitive gaming communities continue to expand at a phenomenal rate. More than 60% of GeForce gamers worldwide play competitive games every month and $211M was awarded as esports prize money in 2019, representing a 29% jump from the previous year. Esports viewership has skyrocketed as well, with more than 450M gamers tuning in to watch competitive tournaments played in real time. 

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), 2k announced last year, partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and ESL, the world's largest eSports company, to create the NBA 2K20 Global Championship. Featuring more than $100,000 in prizes, the NBA 2K20 Global Championship is a new competitive tournament designed for aspiring NBA 2K20 players worldwide. The global tournament will feature head-to-head competition in a series of online and offline events that took place from October 2019 to February 2020, culminating in a final event in the United States to crown the first-ever NBA 2K20 global champion.  "The global scale of the tournament reflects the incredible growth of basketball around the world," said Matthew Holt, NBA Senior Vice President, Consumer Products & Gaming Partnerships. "TheNBA 2K20 Global Championship offers a chance for anyone in the world to compete."  "We are thrilled to be working with these partners in creating this milestone event in gaming," said Josh Goodstadt, EVP of Licensing for the NBPI, the commercial arm of the NBPA. "Our players come from all over the world and this is a unique experience which will allow fans from every corner of the globe to engage and compete with them through NBA 2K."

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