Punters will be able to bet on the winner of a videogame challenge for the first time ever, thanks to Paddy Power's momentous decision to open a book on a forthcoming Super Street Fighter IV bout.
The match between two of the UK's most respected beat-em-up masters, Ryan Hart and Femi Adeboye, will be held on Thursday 29 April at 7pm in the European headquarters of games publisher Capcom, and streamed live to the Paddy Power website. A selection of bets are on offer, including outright winner, the number of matches won, and length of the first round.
If everything goes well, betting on other videogame battles may be considered : "Videogames are as much a legitimate sport as any other," says Paddy Power, the company's eponymously titled communications director. "We wanted to offer sports fans and games players the ultimate thrill by offering the chance to win big on the outcome of a Super Street Fighter IV competition. If it proves popular, we'll open further books on other videogame competitions."
It's a move welcomed by Capcom's Leo Tan, "Recognising the game as a legitimate spectator event, as fiercely contested as any sanctioned boxing match, is a huge step for videogames as a whole." Of course, you can't get your ear bitten off playing SSF IV.
Starting prices are now available for the match with Ryan Hart heavily tipped as favourite at 1/3, with Femi Adeboye at 2/1. But what price for a controller being flung against the room, and one of the contestants having a major paddy, we ask? Maybe that's what they mean by Paddy Power...
Super Street Fighter IV is out this Friday on PS3 and Xbox 360, priced around £30.