Luckbox.com is one of the UK’s foremost esports betting sites. Offering bets on all the big events in the LOL, DOTA2 and CS:GO world, Luckbox offers secure safe and legal esports betting in over 100 countries.
EsportsBets managed to get CEO Quentin Martin to talk about how esports betting is faring in the current crisis and how he sees the sector growing in the future.
Esports events have had to adapt to the social distancing measures just like everyone else. But online gaming events have the advantage of being easier to continue even in the absence of a live audience. Live streams are an integral part of the audience experience and with the restart of the Overwatch League this weekend, they are back and they are hot.
First we took a look at some of the big issues faced by esports betting operators like Luckbox.
Esports are an adult sport
Regulation is a big issue for esports betting. Luckbox is licensed by the Isle of Man (IoM) Gambling Supervision Commission and started operations in 2018.
The IoM has always been an innovative gambling regulator respected throughout the world, but many jurisdictions, especially in the US don’t allow esports betting. One big issue Martin identifies is the widely held view that esports are for kids and therefore unsuitable for betting.
Martin roundly rejects this falsehood:
“This mythology that computer gaming is for kids is an absolute myth.”
Research indicates that the average age of an esports fan in the US is 31. Martin points out that despite some top players in Fortnite and other competitions being under legal gambling age, the majority of team members in esports are legally adults.
Age is a key element in the growth of esports. In the 18-25 age group Martin says that more watch esports than play, creating huge audiences for live streams on Twitch and YouTube.
In the 25 to 35 age group the figure is about 50/50. As these people age, the audience for esports is increasing and that leads to a larger pool of adult potential esports bettors. Kids are watching esports as well as and often instead of traditional sports.
Martin says it succinctly;
“The eyeballs are going to esports”.
Regulators and legislators in the US are now coming onboard with esports betting legislation expected to spread in the next few years. There is already a bill in New Jersey which is expected to pass soon.
The uplift will sustain
Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of betting. It isn’t creating a market anything like the size of the sports betting expansion in the US, but long term prospects look good. The coronavirus crisis has hit esports live events, but there are plenty of online only competition where bets are still available. Luckbox makes livestreams of the main events available through its betting site.
Martin says that even though esports betting revenues at Luckbox have jumped 50 percent between February and March that’s only a temporary effect:
“The growth level won’t sustain, but the uplift will sustain.”
The growth trend in esports may blip during the crisis but it will return to trend. There will be some additional interest that will continue after the crisis, so perhaps some esports growth is accelerated. Luckbox is more interested in winning future market share by offering a better product. Martin proudly explains that at the time of our interview Luckbox had three times more matches available for betting than competitor Bet365.
Quentin Martin is a former head of social poker at PokerStars, so he knows a mass market when he sees one. The social gaming aspects of esports are one of the elements that make esports betting distinctive. That’s partly the result of the social media experience of the esports betting demographic. But esports betting companies that recognise that characteristic and include it in their product design will thrive.
Luckbox is riding a trend that looks set to keep growing both through and after the current crisis.