eSports is a digital version of video games played in a competitive tournament setting. With the advent of multiplayer gaming tournaments between professional players, it became a revenue-generating industry. ESports is more than just profitable for championship organizers, gamers, and bettors.
As per the industry insiders, the future is bright for eSports worldwide. Based on various aspects, let’s understand the connection between iGaming and the betting market.
Rise of Esports Betting
eSports gambling has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the rise of this industry as a whole. As casinos and sports arenas abruptly stopped, eSports games became the only source of entertainment for people confined within the four walls. Eventually, it enticed more fans, competitors, and betting operators to make money through this rapidly booming market.
Rest is the history. The viewership of eSports events, sponsors, and tournament prizes continues to thrive. According to the research, the eSports market size can grow to around USD USD 24,190 million globally by 2028 with a CAGR of 13.7%.
An end-of-year report by betting and media company Rivalry shows that most bets were on LOL, DOTA 2, and CS: GO gaming events. The “big three” games accounted for about 90% of eSports gambling revenue in 2022.
Convergence of Esports and Online Gambling
Gone are the days when you could place a stake in video game tournaments on dedicated eSports betting platforms. With the rise in popularity, even some online casinos for real money and sportsbooks feature eSports as one of the gambling categories.
However, eSports betting differs in various aspects from traditional sports betting.
Prediction Through Data Analysis
An inherently digital industry, eSports highly depends on data and technology. The games’ servers collect all in-game actions as data points, which creates an engaging live market during eSports. Due to the instant update and distribution of eSports gaming data, the betting vertical provides a better customer experience than traditional sportsbooks.
Hence, bettors can make informed decisions through detailed analysis and statistics of every eSports tournament. For instance, bookies can estimate game-win probability in CS: GO using parameters like player skill, map difficulty, the current score, and equipment value.
Injuries and bad weather are the key differentiators in sports matchups, whether punting on the basketball, football, or baseball market. These parameters can affect your wagering strategies, odds, and winning outcomes.
Contrarily, the digital format of video games eliminates this possibility in eSports gambling events. The betting result depends on the in-game virtual progress of a player, which makes predictions easy in the eSports segment.
Betting options and tournaments in sportsbooks are more compared to the eSports industry. Sports betting features straight, Moneyline, total, prop, future, and parlay bets throughout the year.
On the other hand, eSports offers limited wagering opportunities like the number of kills, game-winner, first blood, or the first team to destroy a specific in-game level. Besides, online video game tournaments happen less often.
Challenges and Risks
New problems emerged with the relatively recent popularity of eSports that need urgent attention to protect gamers, bettors, and operators.
- Mental Health Issues
Some people use eSports games as a coping mechanism to relieve distress and pain, which eventually turns into an addiction. Compulsive gaming is another risk factor that can increase mental health problems, such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Hence, it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Match-fixing Scandals
Match-fixing has been a part of this industry ever since its inception. One of the most famous examples of eSports match-fixing was during the CS: GO 2014 event when some iBUYBOWER players bet skins against themselves.
Twelve jurisdictions legalized the eSports betting market. However, the regulations are still constantly changing. Online technology also increases the risks of fraud and data breaches that require stringent regulatory scrutiny to make betting a safe activity for gamblers.
The Future of Esports Betting
To meet the exponentially growing demand, firms are seeking new ways to develop more engaging games with better quality. Besides, the digital metaverse concept can be the powerhouse in shaping the virtual casino environment.
Imagine entering the metaverse to watch an esports match wearing a VR headset like the audience in a real-world stadium. It even lets you quickly place in-play bets with a comprehensive picture of the entire field. Thus, get ready to enjoy a more connected, engaging betting experience.
Further, NFTs will cause a seismic impact in this segment by improving engagement between eSports teams and fans. From live event ticketing to esports-related artwork, memorabilia, and player images, NFTs offer various opportunities.
The digitalization and profit-making model revolutionized the whole video gaming landscape. Undoubtedly, eSports betting has hit new heights recently.
eSports fans and betting operators are also more open to adapt new trends. With strict regulation against prevailing challenges in this segment, this trend will only evolve with time.