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From Lara Croft to Thor, personal trainer re-creates the fitness regimes of iconic gaming characters – European Gaming Industry News

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The global betting and predictions market is expected to grow to over $92 billion by 2023 as new players, nations, and states embrace the industry. Huge economies such as the U.S. have long prohibited gambling but in 2018, some states legalized the practice, adding $1.5 billion to the global recorded figure of online betting revenue by the end of 2020.

Image source: Azuro

With many other states expected to follow the path, the gambling industry may surpass the predicted figure – $100 billion in annual revenue being the target by the end of 2023.

In light of the explosive rise in sports betting during the pandemic, many decentralized betting protocols have come up trying to sway users and players towards blockchain-based prediction markets. On Wednesday, Azuro, a decentralized DAO of betting and prediction markets, announced a successful $3.5 million seed funding round led by top VCs and angel investors ranging from DeFi, GameFi, traditional betting markets, and other blockchain-related areas.

The seed investment round was led by three companies namely Gnosis, Polymorphic Capital, and Flow Ventures. Other investors in the round included Ethereal Ventures, Arrington XRP Capital, AllianceDAO (a.k.a. DeFi Alliance), Delphi Digital, Meta Cartel Ventures, Merit Circle, and Clever Advertising.

Since the launch of decentralized prediction platforms in 2017, the space has rather stagnated despite the demand from players and the crypto ecosystem skyrocketing to a $3 trillion market capitalization. While many attempts have been made to make them work, most of these platforms have failed terribly in delivering on the fundamentals that Web2 betting companies capitalized on including an array of events, deep liquid markets, competitive odds, and multiple betting options. Additionally, current blockchain-based betting solutions suffer from single liquidity providers, product depth, and a bad UX for their players.

The latest capital injection into Azuro aims to solve these problems by launching a transparent, trustless, and decentralized platform. Currently, liquidity providers (LPs) on prediction markets have to start markets manually, set the odds and seed liquidity to each market they create. This means the LPs hold all the betting risks while having little incentive to do so. This has caused massive capital and liquidity exiting the decentralized prediction markets – as it happened with Gnosis, a partner of Azuro.

Furthermore, prediction markets are inefficient for bets with 3 or more outcomes. Most are bound to stick with YES/NO markets, which is dramatically insufficient especially for sports and related bets with more than two outcomes. Lastly, most of these platforms face regulatory pressure and geographical constraints, which could impact the growth of betting markets or even see them shut down.

Unlike its competition, Azuro is building a new protocol to enhance liquidity provision and minimize the betting risks for LPs on the platform. The platform employs a “pooled liquidity structure”, similar to DeFi protocols, which means LPs will not have to manually create markets and are not exposed to the betting market’s systematic risks. Instead, the risk is spread across all betting markets on the protocol, and therefore dramatically reduced for the LPs.

Additionally, the funds will be used to build a friendly UX architecture that allows for the full depth of the betting product available at centralized sportsbooks and a classic frontend, similar to traditional betting markets. Unlike most of the decentralized prediction markets today, Azuro will also allow users to easily set up multiple betting options, moving from the binary “Yes/No”, currently widely spread across decentralized prediction markets.

The decentralized betting governance protocol

Over the past year, DAOs have become the norm in the crypto industry, allowing participants on the platform to vote on proposals made to improve or upgrade the protocol. Similarly, Azuro plans to launch its DAO to reduce the external influence from regulators and authorities.

According to a statement, the platform holds liquidity as the base infrastructure layer with players and customer interactions built on top of it. This approach “outsources much of the direct-to-consumer efforts and relieves Azuro from most of the regulatory, KYC, legal and operational lift”, the statement further reads. Azuro breaks the role of traditional bookmakers into smaller roles, much more attainable for smaller participants. Azuro connects these participants in an elaborate dance thus providing players with a better experience in a decentralized way.

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Team Spirit, Virtus.pro and NaVi roster movements ahead of DPC 2023

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The CIS teams are on the move to reform a new powerhouse roster for the upcoming Dota Pro Circuit 2023 (DPC 2023). After the Eastern European teams’ poor showcase of results at the International 11 (TI11), it wasn’t surprising that even the TI10 Champs, Team Spirit themselves, are up for a roster shuffle.

Team Spirit parts ways with TORONTOTOKYO

Team Spirit announced the departure of their mid-player, Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek. Renowned for his calm and wise demeanor during drafting discussions, the young prodigy is also infamously known for typing “ez game” at TI10.

Anyways, the departure from Team Spirit was by no means a good sendoff. Team Spirit had the worst run in their career-long TI participation, where BOOM Esports eliminated the defending champ at sixteenth place. While there were rumors about the internal conflict among Spirit players prior to TI11, which may have led to their poor performance. It’s difficult to envision Spirit crumbling so drastically after just winning the PGL Arlington Major 2022 beforehand.

TORONTOTOKYO’s new team

Speaking of rumors, word has it that there is a CIS super-stack in the making, consisting of Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko, Danil “gpk” Skutin, Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, Vitalie “Save-” Melnic, and TORONTOTOKYO himself.

These are high-profile players, who have played for powerhouses, such as Virtus.pro and Entity. Traditionally, Pure, gpk and Nightfall are carry players, who are best known for their position 1-3 roles respectively. This begs the question of where TORONTOTOKYO fits into the roster.

Well, it seems like TORONTOTOKYO will be taking the backseat in the team by playing as hard support. He was spamming position-5 support role in pubs since TI11 concluded, so the rumors seem to fit into the puzzle.

Virtus.pro welcomes young blood

VP has had a decent DPC season, all things considered. They placed thirteenth, just shy of 0.5 points after Valve re-calibrated their DPC points calculation. Sure, it’s unfortunate, but VP certainly didn’t let that stop them from qualifying for TI11.

Fast forward to TI11 Last Chance Qualifier, Team Liquid and Secret hoarded the top seeds, ending VP’s TI11 dream. Regardless, VP is still a staple in DPC, which has consistently cultivated new line-ups. As such, they announced a new stack of young players for DPC 2023.

Recruiting players from five different teams, VP has their eyes set on creating the next generation of CIS powerhouse. Evgeniy “Noticed” Ignatenko from BetBoom might just be the only notable player, who has somewhat of a background after BetBoom played in TI11. Besides that, the rest of the team are from unknown origins, and go by the names, Koma`, squad1x, sayuw, and Dukalis.

Natus Vincere releases Solo and Noone

Navi shared a similar journey with VP at the TI11 Last Chance Qualifier, falling just short despite making it to Singapore. With that, the veterans, Volodymyr “Noone” Minenko and Alexey “Solo” Berezin left Navi. Although Navi never met the expectations of a well-established powerhouse, having Noone and Solo’s guidance gave Navi some relevancy.

Anyways, Nikita “Nicky`Cool” Ostakhov and Arman “Malady” Orazbayev take up the vacant roles left behind by their predecessors. Like many other new powerhouses, there seems to be a trend in picking up young blood. The two players are phenomenal in the pubs, so hopefully that transitions well into world-class performance for Navi.


The trio of CIS powerhouses have their eyes set on the new DPC season, whereas a rumored powerful stack is in the making. Considering how drastically the competitive scene has shifted in favor of South American and Western European teams. CIS needs to step up its games in order to stay relevant in DPC 2023.

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Brazilian CS:GO player slams quality of practice in North America

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Just days after winning the $20,000 CBCS Invitational 2022 in Brazil over 00 Nation, paiN Gaming have traveled back to North America to play their last matches before the player break. Rodrigo “biguzera” Bittencourt, paiN’s No. 1 star, is not happy at all to practice again with NA teams, though.

“How I missed practicing in NA,” biguzera ironically said today. “[Practicing in] Brazil is a thousand times better than here. Now I see why this region [NA] is so successful,” biguzera added, calling out how the NA players have been practicing.

Biguzera is not the first and likely won’t be the last player to complain about the quality of CS:GO practice in NA. This has historically been a concern in the region and the practice only got worse after the COVID-19 pandemic because several organizations stopped investing in the competition and almost all relevant tournaments shifted to Europe, which forces the only few good teams from NA like Team Liquid to spend most of their time practicing in Europe to have a chance of winning such big tournaments.

This is also the overall perception in Brazil as well. Most of the Brazilian teams move to NA to attend NA leagues and try to qualify for big tournaments, but with the practice being so bad nowadays, it’s unclear if that is the best approach for Brazilian teams. One of biguzera’s fans asked him if paiN could not move to Europe because they will “unlearn” how to play CS in NA.

The quality of practice in NA won’t likely change anytime soon unless organizations try to nurture talent in the region like Evil Geniuses is doing with its Blueprint project and tournament organizers invest in the grassroots scene.



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Uncrowned king steps down: Ame takes time off from Dota 2 as LGD begins huge rebuild

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Ame, one of the most respected position-one players in the Dota 2 world, revealed that he’ll be taking time off from competitive play today. The news came as a surprise for fans, as PSG.LGD has been one of the most consistent teams in the game’s history.

With even an Aegis in their collection, LGD has been placing top six at The International since 2017. Ame has been a core part of that success since he was recruited from CDEC Youth.

Ame has been a constant in multiple iterations of the LGD roster, which were all one step away from greatness. Ame fell one step short of lifting the Aegis twice in his career, running up in the event in 2021 and 2018 while securing the top four in the remaining ones except for TI11.

Though placing fifth in the most prestigious Dota 2 event of the year is an accomplishment of its own, TI11 marked the worst result for LGD in the event since 2017. Knocking on the door of success this many times only for the door to remain closed can take a toll on players’ mindset toward the game, and it looks like Ame is looking for a complete refresh with this break.

“We’re following the player’s wishes and respecting his personal development needs,” LGD said. “Ame’s status is inactive, temporarily away for rest.”

Ame’s future is currently unknown, but he seems to have the full support of LGD no matter what he decides. Considering Ame has been competing at the top of the Dota 2 mountain for six years now, this is a well-deserved break for the Uncrowned King who fans hope to finally crown when he returns from his break.

With a pillar removed from its roster, LGD only remains with two members in its active squad, NothingToSay and y’, opening the door for a major rebuild.

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