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Take-Two CEO: Legal (e)sports gambling 'meaningfully positive' for games

Take-Two CEO: Legal (e)sports gambling 'meaningfully positive' for games

May 16, 2018 | By Alex Wawro




"In terms of the recent Supreme Court decision on the potential for sports gambling: this will now be left to the states, we certainly think it’s a good decision, we think there may indeed be an influence, and a meaningfully positive influence, on our business."

- Take-Two Interactive chief Strauss Zelnick, speaking during a recent conference call with investors.

This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning most states from legalizing gambling on (e)sports events, and Take-Two chief Strauss Zelnick seems to be all about it.

Notably, following the publication of Take-Two's full-year financial report today Zelnick told a conference call full of investors that legalized gambling on esports may have a "meaningfully positive influence" on the company's business.

“In terms of the recent Supreme Court decision on the potential for sports gambling: this will now be left to the states, we certainly think it’s a good decision, we think there may indeed be an influence, and a meaningfully positive influence, on our business," Zelnick said. "However, it’s not in our current sights, we don’t have any expectations right now, [we’re] simply observing that there are potential opportunities in the future. And I’d be very surprised if sports gambling didn’t intersect with the industry at some point in the relatively near future.”

This sort of polite enthusiasm seems like a good sign for those who feel publisher involvement is key to effective eSports gambling regulation, though it remains to be seen how a company like Take-Two might involve itself in gambling on its games when such gambling is legal in some states and not others.

Zelnick was responding to a broader question about the state of Take-Two's esports business (which encompasses ventures like the NBA 2K eLeague), which he said was on the rise.

"In terms of where monetization can come from, I think your expectations would properly be sponsorship, which is going well," he said. "It's early days but it's going very well, and media rights, also going well, and then eventually, depending on the level of success of course, you could imagine event-related revenue, merchandise and the like. But again, it’s early days."



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