Posted on: May 17, 2021, 10:14h.
Last updated on: May 17, 2021, 11:49h.
Sony Interactive Entertainment recently published a patent that, if approved, could pave the way for PlayStation users to wager on esports and make their bets in bitcoin.
The application, tilted “E-Sports Betting Platform,” was filed last week and doesn’t directly mention PlayStation. Rather, it contains the phrase “computer simulation.” Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox are the world’s dominant video game consoles, and are frequently used for esports play off personal computers.
Should Sony prove successful with the patent application, it would mark one of the initial avenues for esports gambling outside of traditional betting markets.
The wagering odds may be established by pari-mutuelly. The wagering odds may be established using past simulation play statistics,” according to the patent filing. “In another aspect, a method includes establishing odds for at least one future event in a computer simulation, and overlaying onto at least one presentation of the computer simulation at least one user interface (UI) showing the odds and indicating the event to permit a viewer to select to bet on the future event occurring or not.”
In simpler terms, the PlayStation system could eventually allow viewers of live steamed esports competitions to wager on outcomes in real time. That could get the video game giant in on what’s expected to a massive in-game betting market.
Platform Supports Bitcoin
Sony’s esports betting platform could also be another gaming use case for bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market value.
In the filing, Sony says bets “may be pecuniary,” including bitcoin or traditional currency, or made in the form of game assets, digital rights, and virtual currency. Any asset used by a bettor to place a wager can be tied to a digital wallet.
“Wagers may be pecuniary, e.g., money or bitcoin, or may be non-pecuniary, e.g., game assets, digital rights, and virtual currency,” according to the application. “When wagers are pecuniary, the odds offered may account for government take out, e.g., if the calculated odds are 5-1, the offered odds may be reduced to 4-1 to allow for some wagering assets to remain after payouts for the purpose of paying government take out.”
New Frontier for Esports Betting?
It isn’t immediately clear how the Sony patent, if it’s approved, will affect PlayStation owners in the US. Sports wagering is currently live and legal in 21 states and Washington, DC. But not all of those jurisdictions permit wagering on esports competitions.
Regulators in states that allow sports betting have been slow to warm to esports, often citing fears of match-fixing. However, New Jersey allowed sportsbook operators to take action on the League of Legends championship in November 2019, and Nevada permitted betting on three esports tournaments last year.
For operators, there’s money to be made in this space. It’s estimated esports generated $343 million in net revenue for sportsbooks in 2020 — a figure that’s forecast to surge to $862 million in 2024.