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London esports platform Midnite raises over £2 million in funding
The investment is led by gaming-focused venture firm Makers Fund, and previous investors in include London VC firm Venrex Investment Management, as well as unnamed “founders and executives” from leading gaming companies, including Betfair and GVC.

The new round brings the total raised by the 2016-founded company from the same team behind daily fantasy football app Dribble to around $4.5 million.

“The esports market is seeing rapid year-on-year growth and we believe that betting represents the single biggest opportunity in this space,” Midnite co-fonder Nick Wright tells TechCrunch. “Wagering on esports is expected to exceed $12 billion by the end of 2020, making betting already one of the fastest-growing verticals within esports.”

However, despite the size of opportunity, Wright says that for most big sports betting sites, esports is “just another tab” in their legacy sports betting offering, but that esports fans are not simply just another type of sports fan. “They are an entirely new customer category and deserve a platform tailored to them,” he says. “This is why Midnite exists.”

With that in mind, Wright pitches Midnite as an “entertainment platform” that provides an immersive experience for esports fans. He says fans get the thrill of watching, analyzing and betting on their favorite teams and players as they face off in tournaments around the world.

Noteworthy, although operating in an invite-only beta, the startup has already acquired a betting license in the U.K., which Wright claims is the biggest betting market in the world.

He says this makes Midnite the only dedicated esports betting platform that accepts customers in the U.K, and that the company is focused on operating globally in jurisdictions that can legally accept customers. “[We] are acquiring additional licenses to do so,” he adds.

“In the past, betting on esports has been carried out by unregulated operators, which meant that the unregulated market was several times bigger than the regulated market. Many operators offering esports betting would not be licensed, were not taking responsible gambling seriously or even performing age verification checks. This meant customers want to bet on esports were often placing themselves at risk.

“We are creating a safe and responsible environment for these fans. Customer safety is our top priority and we are taking it very seriously. We are doing everything by the book to ensure our community is safeguarded and are compliant with all the regulations in markets where we are operational.”

The is no stopping the rise of eSports progamers and other titles will be joining soon.

Professional Status
2013 saw the US Government issue the first P-1 visas to League of Legend players making them officially players in a professional sport. The visa finally stops the inevitable battle to gain entry into the US and gives the holder the right to stay up 5 years and a whole team for a period of 6 months.

The official League of Legends eSports tournament League Championship Series was the first to be recognized as a fully professional eSport by the U.S. State Department. Danny "Shiphtur" Le was the first progamer to receive a visa acknowledging him as an "internationally recognized" athlete. For Le, a native of Canada, the visa allowed him to go to the United States for training ahead of the world championships.

Other eSports players have been granted visas previously, mostly for one-off events, but Le was the first who was able to make a salary during his stay. Convincing the visa bureau of gaming's legitimacy as a pro sport wasn't easy. "We had to get endorsements from participants and prove that this is a consistent, viable career path and people can make a living playing games," Riot Games VP Dustin Beck said.

The P-1 visa is applicable to aliens entering the US to perform in a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognised level of performance.

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