The total number of bets made on esports this year has been predicted to hit the $8 billion mark by the end of 2019. This number was revealed in a report made by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and it would make esports betting one of the most dynamic fields in the online gambling industry.
Esports betting booming
The esports betting scene is booming, and the overall value of bets on competitive gaming could double in the coming years. Although traditional sports betting is thought to provide the gambling industry with a whopping $1 billion in revenues in 2019, it seems that esports betting is catching up, and there will be an expected $560 million in revenues from wagering on competitive gaming this year.
The rapid growth of the esports betting scene has meant that there has been something of a goldrush amongst established bookmakers to cater to this relatively new market. Alongside classic sports bookmakers like William Hill and 888sport, there’s a growing number of dedicated esports betting sites who aim to offer a specialist approach to wagering on titles like CSGO and LoL.
From Curacao-based brands like Cyber.bet, to Malta-based betting sites like Vulkanbet, all of these new companies are aiming to encourage customers to sign up to their sites through gamer-friendly features. These can range from free Twitch live streams that are embedded into the in-play betting pages, to special bonuses that can only be used for specific esports tournaments like The International.
Some recently launched esports betting sites have gone a step further by allowing customers to bet on their own gameplay. This can be seen through the UMode at the Unikrn betting site where you can play and bet on yourself on esports such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.
Although all of these measures have added a great deal of excitement to the esports betting, the industry has some way to go before it loses much of the negativity that has surrounded competitive gaming.
What about the Esports audience?
Many commentators have stated that the use of loot boxes in esports games could prove to be a gateway to underage gambling, and there remain fears about how skins gambling might also cause ethical issues. Thankfully a recent report by the UK Gambling Commission has reaffirmed that loot boxes do not qualify as gambling under the current laws.
So what does esports betting have to do to catch up to the sheer popularity of traditional sports betting? As esports tournaments start to gain greater acceptance on traditional media networks such as ESPN, there’s hope that competitive gaming might reach beyond its fairly niche audience.
However, as none of the 100 finalists of the Fortnite World Cup were female, it shows how much work needs to be done to open up esports for all. But with the esports betting industry showing no sign of slowing down, it seems that competitive gaming is here to stay.