Gaming has transcended its previous self in the past few years, going from an activity you play with friends to something you watch on the television. When the likes of T-Pain claim that they make more money from gaming on Twitch than they do from music, you know it’s time for the bookies to start paying attention.
Of course, the Twitch market itself is something that is bigger than Esports, but nevertheless, it’s setting the trend of normalising watching games instead of just playing them. Bookies on the likes of Allbets.TV have begun accepting bets though on Esports competitions, and here’s why.
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Esports betting market
The global betting market is expected to hit $205 billion by 2027. The reason for this rise in Esports can be attributed to the fact that many competitive Esports players are also Twitch streamers, making them both competitors and entertainers – such as Ninja. These garner vast viewership, which stick around to watch the competitions. Arguably, it was the first Fortnite world cup that set the stage for mainstream Esports, despite the industry being around for way over a decade prior to this.
Given that the Esports market is a rapidly growing billion-dollar industry, it makes sense that bookmakers want to capitalise on this. Fortunately for them, Esports competitions are run by professional organisations with adjudicators and clear rule sets. Whilst it’s still an infant industry that could pose some issues (i.e. match-fixing), there’s little difference between a competition being on a video game or on a field.
Plus, the demographic of Esports viewers doesn’t actually over overlap that strongly with typical baseball/soccer viewers. Naturally, it will somewhat, but it has a weaker correlation than between other sports. This means that the new money being brought in by Esports betting is actually from a new customer base, one that isn’t traditionally involved with sports betting. This makes it all the more valuable for bookmakers, as it’s not a matter of Esports bets taking away from other sports bets.
Esports betting poses some interesting new markets and betting types. Because there are constantly new games evolving, there will be new bets being offered to adhere to these (i.e. how many rounds won in a given match). This also poses a new challenge to bookmakers, though, because they do not have the experience or software that is mature enough to accurately assess outcomes and possibilities.
One possibility to adapt to this is for more bookmakers to offer a betting exchange, so customers can bet against each other with Esports. This means the odds are created naturally according to their supply and demand.
Finally, it would also pose a new opportunity to garner viewership within the betting platforms. Not only could there be live, in-play betting and cashing out options, but streams in which they can watch the events on the bookmaker’s platform itself. This kind of partnership could help bring in a lot more traffic and subsequent bets whilst the market and distribution deals are still fairly new.