Given the sharp rise in the number of esports betting sites over recent years, it is easy to ascertain based on the growth in numbers of esports sites alone, that the entire esports industry, and all its associated offshoots, is in rude health.
Particularly under scrutiny is the relationship between esports and esports betting, with the assumption often made that the future of esports betting depends very much on the continued success and growth of the esports industry.
However, there is a growing feeling within the industry that rather than being entirely dependent on esports for its success, the esports betting industry may well be contributing significantly to the development and continued popularity of esports, to the point at which the two have an almost symbiotic relationship.
An interesting article by Danni Santana on frntofficesport.com, revealed that the growth in esports betting is almost a carbon copy image of the growth in the number of fans viewing esports. Now at first glance, that would appear to be a somewhat obvious statement. If fans view esports, then there is the chance that a certain percentage of them would bet on esports too.
However, what is not yet known is whether more fans are viewing esports more often because of the esports betting opportunities that are available to them now, particularly in countries in Europe, South America and Asia, where esports betting is more embedded.
It is certainly feasible, given how popular betting is for esports viewers, that many are attracted to viewing esports because of the esports betting opportunities that exist.
“Most Underappreciated Opportunity”
It is a point made eloquently in another article from June 2019 by Kevin Wimer on Venturebeat entitled “Betting is esports’ biggest and most underappreciated opportunity.”
Wimer points out that betting on esports came about almost by accident, by players betting items or objects from in game economies, such as skins, on esports games. Although companies like Valve moved to shut down skins gambling a short time later, it was abundantly clear given the number of people involved in this type of betting that esports betting would be popular.
It wasn’t long therefore before companies started to offer this particular form of betting, not just specialist esports betting sites like Unikrn or Pinnacle, but also more traditional betting sites such as Betway esports and bet365.
The growth of this market is absolutely huge, with Wimer estimating that in coming years more than $16 billion in wagers will be made, with $1 billion in revenue to be earned by bookmakers.
Further Expansion of Esports Betting
Indeed, the importance of esports betting to the esports industry as a whole can easily be seen in the number of esports betting companies that are involved in major sponsorship deals for esports tournaments, teams or individuals. Many of the top events across a wide range of esports today, would be much poorer without the backing of these esports betting sites.
Add to this the potential of expansion into relatively new and untapped markets, such as esports moving into the American market, starting with the New Jersey experiment back in November 2019, and it is easy to see why the esports betting market is not just an offshoot of the esports industry, but has become central to it and part of the reason for its success and appeal.
It is fair to say that without esports, there would be no esports betting, but we have now reached the point, where the future of esports is linked in with the future success of esports betting. The two are linked inextricably.
Image courtesy of Robert Paul / LoL Esports