Riot will likely have to deal with backlash if the change goes through.
Part of the VALORANT community has expressed their disappointment towards Riot Games after Turkish news outlet Esporkolik reported earlier today that the developer will change its stance and allow partnered organizations to be sponsored by betting companies.
Gambling sponsors are expressly prohibited in VALORANT, according to the VCT global competitive policy rulebook published in 2021. Teams also cannot promote fantasy esports operators, alcoholic products, or partner with cryptocurrency platforms or other unregulated financial instruments. If Riot starts to allow betting companies to sponsor VALORANT teams, this could mean teams would get to earn more money to fund their operations, but part of the fanbase doesn’t agree this is the way to accomplish that.
“As someone who gambles, even on VALORANT sometimes, I don’t like this, [it] always feels off to have esports teams with gambling shit on their gear,” one fan said on the VALORANT Competitive subreddit. “This is awful since VALORANT has such a young player base,” one other Redditor added. Alongside with these concerns, some fans are also worried that allowing gambling sponsorships will put competitive integrity at risk.
Riot strictly prohibits betting sponsorships across the League of Legends scene and it’s currently unclear whether the developer is changing its stance in every one of its esports titles, or if it’s just considering allowing gambling sponsors in VALORANT so far.
Today’s report comes mere weeks ahead of the start of the franchised leagues across the Americas, EMEA, and Pacific regions. Should betting companies become allowed to sponsor VALORANT teams in the coming days, teams and companies could sign partnership agreements while the competition is ongoing.
The possible increase in revenue that gambling sponsors can bring across the board could help every team in the world in case a recession breaks through worldwide because of the current banking industry crisis in the United States.
Dot Esports has reached out for comment from Riot Games.