Take-Two Interactive CEO hails the recent Supreme Court decision allowing US states to legalize sports gambling, says its likely to intersect with games industry “in the relatively near future”.
This weeks Supreme Court’s ruling overruled a law that prohibited gambling on sporting events, and although it didn’t reference esports specifically it’s almost inevitable that it will impact the industry, given the continued blurring of boundaries between conventional sports and esports. In an earnings call, Strauss Zelnick cheered the law change, and said that it’s likely to effect gaming “at some point in the relatively near future”. That would have a “meaningfully positive impact” on Take-Two, he added.
However, Zelnick wouldn’t detail any ideas about how esports gambling would be implemented or on how much impact it could have on future Take-Two interactive future earnings, saying, “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.
According to ESPN, before the Supreme Court ruling lifted the federal ban on sports gambling, Take-Two’s partner in the NBA 2K eLeague, the National Basketball Association, said it would seek a 1% payout from every bet placed on the league. No further steps have been taken by the NBA to ensure it receives such a payout, but if that does become a standard practice across states and sports leagues, video game companies might also look for a payout of their own for bets made in esports competitions regarding their properties.
As has been a common theme in investor calls, Fortnite was brought up on multiple occasions. Take-Two Interactive didn’t hint about its own entry into the soon-to-be-bustling battle royale genre, though. “I don’t think what one takes away from this properly is that a particular approach, a particular mode, has suddenly redefined the business,” Zelnick said. “I don’t believe that’s the case. I think if one changes one’s business to follow other people’s big hits, to constantly be playing catch up, and to say that you wouldn’t be in second place is an understatement. You might remain in last place. It’s our job to constantly innovate, and more often than not, that has led to success.
Big hits, by their very nature, are unexpected and what drives a big hit is innovation and not derivation. That’s what we’re proud of around here. When we put out Red Dead Redemption, the conventional wisdom was that Western titles don’t work in the video game business. I think the fact that Fortnite surprised everyone is just a reflection of the fact that if you innovate and give consumers what they want, you can get an extraordinary result.
When you look at the quality of the intellectual property created and owned by ourselves and by some of our competitors, it’s hard to imagine that there wouldn’t be opportunities in other forms of entertainment,” Zelnick said.
Even though such a cooperation is achievable, Zelnick may have soured on that idea. “If it makes sense to enter other forms of entertainment in which some traditional media companies are already experts, you would imagine that kind of consolidation would have some kind of industrial logic. But I would observe that not only has that not occurred but that some legacy entertainment companies have in fact exited interactive entertainment,” Zelnick concluded.

By George Miller

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.