Is eSports betting the future of sports betting?
With the industry growing every year, both in terms of value and the younger generation growing up with these competitions and events, eSports may become the main focus of sports betting.
Is this likely?
Read on to find out.
The Digital Age
Technology has allowed new businesses to start and thrive unlike any other period in human history.
Esports is just one of the most exciting examples of the seemingly endless possibilities.
In fact, as we noted in our previous eSports betting for beginners post, it’s projected to be worth more than $17 billion by the end of 2020.
Further, eSports attracts a massive audience; 443 million people watched eSports by the end of 2019.
This large viewership is translating across to the sports betting industry too.
While the number of people betting on sports, in general, is declining, mainly due to legislation, in the case of eSports, it’s actually growing – and rapidly!
Where We Are
We mentioned above that eSports has a large viewership…
Let’s explore this in more detail to show what the eSports landscape looks like right now.
The eSports industry has continued to grow over the past four years.
Growth never fell below 13.8% over these four years.
The audience grew 15.1% alone in 2019, rising from 395 million to 443 million.
The same stats expect eSports to grow to 646 million by 2023.
This huge expansion has forced the gambling industry to take notice, from key industry leaders to the stakeholders.
Recent investment from the likes of David Beckham into eSports shows how mainstream it’s becoming.
From the eSports betting perspective, investments in projects like Makers Fund are spearheading the charge – and with good reason.
$7 billion was wagered on eSports events in 2018 alone.
These numbers are only going to increase.
Then there’s the sponsorship of the events to consider, further generating lucrative deals as eSports continues to become a major market.
The Future Of Esports
Now, while the current projections show eSports has enormous potential, its longevity and position int he sports betting market is not quite as clear cut.
For example, most online sportsbooks consider eSports as just another vertical, even though its nature is unique and brings in a entirely new type of customer.
In this regards, eSports betting sites want to establish as a source of entertainment, combining live viewing with a betting platform for the complete experience.
The idea is to turn eSports into a market similar to horse racing where fans regularly wager on the events.
Just The Beginning
Startups like those mentioned above, and more, are helping eSports become more popular all over the world.
Its action-packed, fast-paced nature offers something that other sports cannot emulate.
Combine this with a wide, original range of betting opportunities and it’s to picture how platforms can capture new audiences and give the sport the attention it deserves.
To strengthen its case, latest developments may potentially marginalize rogue operators.
Having said all of that, it’s also important to note that eSports betting still has a few hurdles to overcome.
Nothing is guaranteed in eSports betting.
At the end of the day, it’s still a growing industry.
Here are some of the challenges eSports betting is facing:
Challenges Of Esports Betting
The main issues are:
- Much of the focus is on major tournaments only;
- Not competing with the booming Asian markets;
- Brick and mortar sportsbooks.
Let’s expand on these points in a little more detail.
Eyes On Only Major Tournaments
The top 5 eSports for betting get most of the attention, but even then, sportsbooks only focus on certain events, such as the League of Legends World Championships.
There are so many different eSports that sportsbooks can’t cover them all.
Major online books will still profit from the smaller selection, but the betting market as a whole won’t take off until they start offering more variety.
Booming Asian Markets
Europe and the US have been slow to adapt to eSports.
They may be more aware of it now, but they are not yet confident enough to actually put money on it.
On the other hand, eSports are extremely popular in the likes of China, South Korea and Japan.
Games like Dota 2 and League of Legends are massive in Asia and, by association, so is betting on these sports.
Europe and US has a lot work to do before eSports gets on a similar level as the Asian market.
Brick And Mortar Sportsbooks
The Gaming Commission requires more oversight before things can move forward.
Now, sports betting goes beyond Las Vegas and Nevada, but if the home of gambling isn’t too interested in eSports, it speak volumes about the state of the eSports industry as a whole.
There are some encouraging signs though – the Luxor eSports arena is a great example.
It features a 30,000 square-foot arena fitted with a broadcast center & production studio, a gamer-Inspired menu, eSports exhibition show matches and a 50-foot LED video wall to enjoy the games.
Though eSports betting is far from being considered an established market in Nevada, some people believe there’s potential for the construction of brick and mortar sportsbooks.
If things keep following the same path, it’s certainly a possibility.
eSports is still a baby.
But while it’s growth is meteoric, it’s by no means guaranteed.
However, the signs are showing that this form of sports betting could be a major player in the industry sooner rather than later.
Gaming is attracting more attention than ever across the globe.
Hundreds of millions of people stream the events every day.
These numbers will only increase.
Assuming the challenges referenced above can be overcome, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll be betting on eSports at your favorite Vegas establishment.
Overall, eSports betting may not be the sole future of online sports betting, but it’s certainly going to play a major role.