With the number of people interested in Esports increasing rapidly on the islands, Gaming Advisor Mark O'Sullivan speaks to iGaming Capital Magazine about what lies ahead.

"There is one worrying trend to note which has manifested itself in video games and Esports, and that is skins betting," Mark O'Sullivan explains. "For those who are not familiar with the term, it is first important to understand the term 'skins' on its own. In most online peer-to-peer video games, players may purchase a range of items to be applied to their avatar or character. These items are typically bought using in-game currencies, which were initially bought using flat currencies. Skins are often disregarded as nothing more than add-ons. 'Skins betting' is the term used to describe a wager between players on the outcome of a match or scenario. However, the issue arises when players under the age of 18 (or older to a lesser degree) own the in-game skins and make wagers to accumulate more skins. In order to eventually cash out, players often do so through online exchanges whereby the skins are exchanged for flat currency. These exchanges operate in a kind of grey market, given that they are not strictly facilitating gambling. I believe revamped regulations are needed in this area of the iGaming, Esports and video games industries, respectively."

But overall Mark feels the future remains bright when it comes to capitalising on the Esport sector. "Malta has a good track record in developing niche industries with a strong emphasis on technology. In doing so, it has attracted hundreds of suitable multi-national companies to its shores. More recently, some other key niche industries have become the focus of Government leaders responsible for future-proofing Malta, namely video games development studios, Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) development companies. Esports seems a natural extension of Malta's bustling video games development industry. Although in its infancy at this point, I have no doubt that Malta can become a hub for the European Esports Industry."

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