Dota 2 unikrn
The 2014 International "Dota 2" championships. Unikrn hopes that U.S. customers will soon be able to legally place bets on matches like these. Reuters

The founder of an e-sports betting startup is preparing to expand into the U.S., claiming that the practice will become legal in the next two or so years.

Rahul Sood, founder of Seattle's Unikrn, hopes that the practice will be legalized to bring it out from the shadows and made honest, according to Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Sood said, “We believe there is no better way to heighten the experience than through betting.”

Sood launched his business in Australia two months ago in association with wagering specialty firm Tabcorp. Players can bet on the outcome of televised video game competitions known as “e-sports.” The startup expanded to the U.K. and Ireland in May.

Bets are taken on the outcome of team-based combat games such as “Dota 2,” “Counter Strike” and “League of Legends.” Unikrn streams games through Twitch and changes bets in real time. Players who feel lucky can place a bet using a mobile app or via the Web. "When you look at the way e-sports is going, there is a huge audience out there for it," Sood said.

The partnership with Tabcorp provides expertise on in-game anomalies, such as players losing on purpose, and adjusts the odds to compensate. Unikrn Vice President of Business Development Stephen Ellis said, "If there is a crazy skew, we can tell there is something up.”

Unikrn is partway through closing a second round of investment described by Sood as “significant,” following an initial $3 million from investors. If his startup takes off, it won’t be Sood’s first success. He previously founded high-end computer company Voodoo before selling it to Hewlett-Packard in 2008.