Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of esports’ most enthusiastic supporters and this weekend he went ahead and proved his devotion to the sport.

Cuban not only participated in a League of Legends tournament, he took a few shots at esports critics and, as always, found a way to inject himself directly into the story.

eSports, and eSports betting, are quietly building steam in a market where plenty of operators simply don’t take video games seriously. What those critics are missing is the fact that eSports is already a major business and that eSports betting is its natural offspring.

League of Legends is a worldwide phenomenon that’s captivated the same demographic group (young males) that the internet gambling business has long coveted. Last year’s League of Legends championship tournament in Seoul, South Korea attracted more than 40,000 fans in person and more than 32 million watching worldwide on the web.

When viewed in that context, its easy to understand why Cuban has ponied up millions of his own dollars in esports startups like Unikrn.

Cuban, who actually did pretty well in his debut (which was part of tournament to benefit anti-cyber bullying charities) and is generally regarded as a pretty knowledgeable player.

He even took time to defend esports from former ESPN commentator Colin Cowherd who says the game is not a real sport. In a statement made while leaving the tournament Cuban said:

I love Colin but he is an idiot when it comes to eSports. This is a real sport and people are going to figure it out really, really quick.

Currently, wagering on esports is legal in some countries, but not the United States.


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