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Would you place bets on a videogame?

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The-Wizard

Image Credit: Everett CollectionRemember The Wizard, the Nintendo advertisement movie starring Fred Savage and Christian Slater? Remember how that film ended with a gladiator-style Super Mario III showdown, complete with ravenous fans and a futuristic arena? Did you find yourself thinking, “This seems a bit unrealistic”? Well, think again! Today, videogames took one step closer to becoming an epic audience bloodsport, with the announcement by online bookmaker Paddy Power that they’ll be accepting bets on an upcoming Super Street Fighter IV championship.

The consensus seems to be that this is the first time a videogame competition will be opened for public betting. The players, Ryan Hart and Femi Adeboye, are apparently the two best Street Fighter players in the UK – and the betting is live!

Of course, this raises many troubling questions for the videogame industry. Does this mean that the mob will start rigging matches in Fight Night? Will children now supplement their allowance money with illicit after-school excursions into shady arcades where one round of Virtua Fighter can earn a prizefighter five bucks and a soda? When will Jean-Claude Van Damme star in a film about illegal underground videogame fighting? How will Wall Street use this new revenue source to further destroy the global economic system? And does this mean that the semester I spent mastering Super Smash Brothers Melee was not just a delirious waste of time and money?

More importantly, PopWatchers, would you actually bet on the outcome of a videogame? It has to be easier than figuring out how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, right? Although they probably don’t serve mint juleps at Super Street Fighter IV championships…