When you think of the esports industry in Asia, you are most likely to think about the big players in that region such as South Korea and China. Other regions in that part of the world, such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines are also starting to reap the benefits of an expansive and inclusive esports industry.
Unusually, when it comes to the gambling mecca of Macau, it is a name that is strangely not on the list. Perhaps best known as a casino resort, home to some of the biggest casinos in the world and generating more revenue each year than Las Vegas, it is odd to think that in a part of the world where competitive esports could thrive and esports betting be hugely popular, it remains somehow in the shadow.
However, that could well be about to change as Macau is currently hosting the Global Gaming Expo Asia Online Conference and a number of speakers at the event are focusing on the global esports betting market.
“Fear of the Unknown”
One of those speaking at the conference was Chris Kissack, the head of esports for Digital Isle of Man, and he explained that part of the reason why esports betting was slow to take off in a number of places around the world was due to a lack of regulatory frameworks and a “fear of the unknown”.
Kissack argued that a slow uptake in esports betting in some regions
“ultimately is about [regulators] being afraid to dive in. There is this fear from decision-makers to jump into these [kinds of] games”
“They need to see it and they need to play it to get over this fear,” Kissack added.
“Pandemic Proof Option” for Operators
Kissack was just one of a number of speakers at the conference that was explaining how better regulation of esports and esports betting can provide what they termed a ‘pandemic-proof’ option for esports betting companies.
The conference, while not specific to any particular region’s requirements, is seen as a way for Macau to perhaps start to embrace a more structured regulatory framework for esports, which would then encourage more betting companies to offer esports betting in what is a region that is synonymous with gambling.
Although small, Team Macau has a representation at the IeSF World Championship and the Asian Games. League of Legends tends to be the most popular esport in the region with the most prominent teams from Macao, both current and those now disbanded, competitive in this particular esport.
Despite LoL’s popularity, perhaps one of the most prominent teams at present from Macao is the Arena of Valor team Esports of Macao China. The team has earned over $300,000 in prize money over the last four years alone.
However, the head of Macao’s esports association Mario Ho also is the owner of the Victory Five League of Legends team, which is one of the 16 teams competing in the LPL Spring 2021 tournament at present.
There is no doubt that the Macao esports scene is ripe for development and alongside that the potential for a profitable Macao esports betting industry is equally enticing. No doubt the foundations being laid at the current conference may well have positive ramifications for the future of esports in Macau for many years to come.