According to Joel Dale when he started the threat on Reddit asking for esports bettors whose lives have been “significantly affected” by their involvement in gambling on eSports, Sky Sports has asked his production company JBD Productions for a documentary on eSports. Therefore, he was looking for people to interview for their personal stories of gambling on eSports.
The first reaction was skepticism that Dale and his partner, who is never named, would do a fair and balanced piece, or that Sky Sports wanted to run a fair and balanced film. The assumption was Dale and Sky Sports would rather focus on the sensationalistic aspects, in line with hatchet jobs other major media outlets have done on phenomenon outside the mainstream, which is especially true when the subject is something many people are against, such as gambling.
Dale insisted he and his partner had no such agenda. They are both fans of Counterstrike: Global Offensive and have no wish to destroy an activity which they love as well. His intention was to tell the story of eSports and gambling, both the negative and positive points. Later, he admitted both he and his partner had gambling problems. They had each lost “five figures” betting on CS:GO. They lost both real money and skins.
However, Dale insists he is also interested in the positive points of eSports betting. He cited how sponsorship deals from betting sites could infuse more cash into eSports tournaments. This new stream of revenue would open up more opportunities for eSports to grow. They are discussing that angle with organizers of major tournaments in the UK.
He estimated it would take them around 2-3 to deliver the finished documentary to Sky Sports.
Traditional sportsbooks and gambling organizations would no doubt like to get a piece of all the money gamers are putting into gambling on eSports. The large bookmaker in the United Kingdom, William Hill, invested 150,000 pounds in BetGame. That’s a start-up in Manchester with an app that allows people to place bets on the outcome of games played on a console or video game based on a personal computer.
According to an interview Dale gave, the purpose of the documentary is to introduce Sky Sports viewers to eSports, not to fearmonger. Dale still plays CounterStrike 30-40 hours per week. He used to play on an amateur team, and even traveled to tournaments. He and his partner are hardcore gamers themselves, and therefore it is passion project for them.
However, as one of the participants in the Reddit threat noted, gambling on online gaming is not regulated, unlike regular bookmaking and online casinos. Minors seeing it can find out how to participate.
Therefore, some participants in the thread fears the documentary would make parents stop their children from playing Counterstrike: Global Offensive just because they watched or even just heard about the documentary. One Reddit member volunteered his story as someone who can self-manage their gambling and other risk-taking behavior. One poster claimed they are 17 and began betting on eSports a year ago. And they have won around 25,000 pounds.