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Published: June 23, 2021

Written by: Hannah

  • Rivalry prepares to list publicly in a move that will empower the company’s further expansion
  • Rivalry boss Steven Salz welcomes the benefits that a public listing would bring
  • The company is in no hurry to explore the United States 

It’s all down to the final countdown now that is preparing a direct listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (STE). 

Going Public to Benefit Business is closer to listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange as the esports bookmaker is pursuing exciting new growth opportunities. Just recently, the company concluded a $22 million funding round in subscription receipt financing which will sit in an escrow account over the next 120 days and be subject to further prerequisites.

Essentially, the funding round will boost Rivalry’s war chest if the company successfully lists on the TSE. Failing that, the money will be returned to investors. The subscriptions receipt funding comes on the heels of a previous round worth $21.5 million and puts the company’s net worth at $150 million based on Rivalry CEO and Co-founder Steven Salz.

When esports bookmakers were only getting started, not many thought that the business would prove sustainable. In fact, many shunned the idea of esports betting altogether. Out of the hundreds of big sports betting brands, only a handful managed to develop a successful formula, to name Pinnacle and Betway.  

Rivalry Considers Exploring Direct Listing in Toronto

Then, companies such as Rivalry and Luckbox began appearing. They completely upended the paradigm and created entirely esports-focused products instead of trying to use competitive video gaming as a fad to convert more people into esports fans.

When Rivalry was founded in 2018, it started with the clear idea to be a fully-committed esports bookmaker, and it has been successful. Today, 85% of the company’s revenue and traffic comes from esports, with people betting on gaming titles such as Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and League of Legends, which are the world’s most popular betting titles.

Yet, Rivalry has been slowly transitioning to sports betting as well, something that one of its main rivals, Luckbox, has also been entertaining as an idea. Soccer and basketball have helped Rivalry generate steady traffic as well, but it doesn’t really stop there.

Rushlane, Rivalry’s proprietary multiplayer casino game, is an attempt to take on the traditional iGaming experience and put a unique twist that appeals to the consumers that the bookie attracts. Thanks to its Isle of Man license, Rivalry can operate pretty much anywhere in the world.

It claims to have 450,000 registered users, with 90% of them under the age of 30, reflecting the fact that esports fans tend to be younger and often have plenty of disposable income. 

The United States, Next Frontier for Rivalry?

While Rivalry has a scope of operation that others may only envy, the company is still not permitted to operate in certain jurisdictions. The United States, which takes a dim view of international licenses, is one of them.

Yet, Rivalry doesn’t seem to be in a particular hurry insofar as its esports and betting licenses in the USA go. Salz, though, is confident that there is a way into the market, citing the partnership between theScore, a Canadian media, and gaming company, which teamed up with Penn National Gaming and used its licenses to gain access to numerous markets in the states.

There is no rush to make a mark on the USA, though, Salz argues, as the company doesn’t see the same urgency in entering the market as others often do. In fact, there are far more important markets that Rivalry wants to explore. One of those is Australia, where Rivalry is preparing to launch after obtaining a license successfully. 

One of the obstacles towards expediting Rivalry’s growth is also the due diligence process that is necessary before a company can obtain a permit to operate in any given jurisdiction. As a private company, any due diligence process of the company and its executives takes longer as the information is not publicly available and often has to be requested separately.

Rivalry is getting closer to its goal to go public, but the company will opt for selling what shares it already has through a direct listing as opposed to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) where new shares have to be minted. Reflecting on the “belated” listing, Salz argued that while private gambling companies faced more regulatory difficulties, he appreciated the flexibility and freedom that the status had conferred on the company over the past years. 

This will soon change as the TSE’s listing is definitely happening.

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