Esports and the new sports betting trend

Albert Sheng • June 25, 06:00

The pace with which esports technology has developed has been electrifying. The gaming genre is now so engaging, so exciting, that inward investment is coming from all angles in the form of sponsorship and commercial partnerships.

But there is another level of new external interest in all things League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike in the betting industry.

Imagine if you had contacted your local sportsbook 10 years ago and said “I would like to place a bet on who will win a computer game between two people.” You will have been told to leave quickly and close the door behind you.

Now, betting on esports is big business. So big that when you visit the websites of some online sportsbooks, esports has its own section.

The reasons for this are numerous and it all comes down to money in the end. Sportsbooks always seek to add new markets, but they will only bother to do so if there are enough events to cover and enough people willing to wager their money on it.

As the prevalence of esports grows, so does the number of people willing to back their favorite player or team in the betting markets. First, a few sportsbooks tested out the emerging trend by offering only basic markets on big esports events.

The uptake was such that they continued with the market, and many other sports betting sites joined in.

2020 saw a big uptick

This is an interesting image from Google trends, showing the rise in Google searches for the term ‘esports betting’ around the world since 2012. Quite clearly, there is increasing interest with a major spike in 2020.

This stems from an uptick in interest coming from traditional sports punters who were looking for something else to bet on while leagues were paused. That left punters looking for something alternative to bet on and esports filled the gap thanks to its matches taking place in an online setting. Figures claim the esports betting market was worth $1 billion in 2019, and that will reportedly grow to $3 billion by 2025. Who knows where that might go in another 10 years’ time?

Attractive customers

There is good reason for sportsbooks to want to attract esports fans to their site. Any new customer is always welcome of course, but especially so the esports brigade. Why? The unique demographic. 

MLB has a very old fanbase and sports like the NBA and MMA have average fan ages over 40. While these groups may well have more disposable income, they may not be sports betting customers for long.

Esports fans are considerably younger, with different esports titles’ fandoms averaging an age in the 20s or early 30s. A sportsbook would love this new type of customer.

You can add to this the general appeal of esports. Computer gaming is cool, it’s newsworthy, and it is popular worldwide. It’s also something that anyone can try. 

Sure, not everyone can be a pro esports player, just as not everyone can become a professional golfer. But trying and getting good at it is within reach of any player regardless of age, gender, or ability.

This sort of inclusivity is a massive bonus for sports betting operators and it ensures they have a good potential customer base to target.

How to bet on esports

If you are of legal age and legal online sports betting is available in your state, then you can view local online sportsbooks to see which ones offer esports markets. Click to view which matches and tournaments are available and you’ll likely see a long list of markets on any given day.

Pick your game and start simple, perhaps selecting a win or lose market, betting only a small amount. Once you get confident, you might try other bets like the team player with the most kills, or which team will win the first map, depending on the game.

As with all forms of sports betting, it helps to have a good knowledge of the genre so that you can spot some decent betting opportunities. Just make sure that, if you decide to give it a go, that you gamble responsibly.

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