Specialist eSports fantasy league and online sportsbetting provider ESP Limited has announced that it has received a license from the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission regulator to offer virtual-goods games.

ESP Limited stated that the award is the first of its kind to be granted under revised rules that see the Gambling Supervision Commission regulate the betting of virtual goods and take these commodities into account as part of any license application’s business plan.

In addition to now being authorized to offer real-money and virtual-goods games via its domain at ESP.bet, the operator declared that the license will see it begin processing digital currency transactions. ESP Limited proclaimed that this means that its platform will be able to handle deposits and payouts in Bitcoin utilizing the BitPay.com exchange.

“To date, eSports betting and the gambling of virtual goods has largely been a grey market with a lot of unregulated operators failing to protect their customers,” read a statement from Scott Burton, Chief Executive Officer for ESP Limited. “We’ve always taken a more transparent approach, undertaking know-your-customer checks to verify age and running a really clear game system. With this licence, that work has been validated and I feel like we have taken the first step towards building a regulated marketplace that is safe for consumers, businesses and investors.”

ESP Limited, which is to continue to run its eSportsPools.com domain as a free-play site, explained that the license award follows a successful funding campaign that saw it obtain investments from the likes of BitKraft Esports Ventures, Firestartr, Charlotte Street Capital and Vancouver Founder Fund as well as several experienced eSports and gambling executives.

“Global revenues in eSports are now tipping past the $1 billion a year mark and we know the industry still has a lot of growth ahead of it,” read a statement from licensing specialist Alex McNee, who serves as a director for service provider Boston Multi Family Office. “As the betting markets for this industry mature, operators are going to have to be licensed to ensure long-term growth and that license will need to cover areas such as digital currencies and virtual goods. The Isle of Man’s recent inclusion of these assets into their regulations is a huge step forward, which has now been made real by the granting of ESP.bet’s license.”