The next stage in this evolution has seen these operators introduce dedicated sections of their sites for esports betting. Competitive gaming is a fast-growing and extremely dynamic sector, and the global wagering handle on esports is expected to increase to $13 billion in 2020.
Operators simply cannot afford to ignore it, as it is already massive and it is soaring in popularity on an annual basis. The number of viewers around the world has surged past the 450 million barrier this year – equivalent to the population of the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia combined – and it will shoot up to 645 million by 2022.
The Rise of Esports Betting
These esports viewers love to bet on the action, as it makes the experience a lot more exciting. It brings them closer to the excitement, and ramps up the tension that accompanies a big CS:GO, League of Legends or Dota 2 match. It also affords them the opportunity to turn their expertise on the games they love into a profit, which is a tantalising prospect for many esports aficionados.
It might seem bizarre to the uninitiated, but esports are very similar to traditional sports in a number of ways. There are leagues, cups and international tournaments between the world’s best teams. Most esports are multiplayer, so there are big teams around the world, and they all have to pull together to achieve a common goal.
The teams have training camps, sports psychologists, players federations, sponsorship deals and merchandise for sale. Individual players are revered as superstars.
Fans pack into big stadiums to watch the action unfold and roar their heroes on. The action is fast-paced, exciting and extremely competitive. It requires a great deal of concentration, anticipation, agility, intelligence, strategy and endurance.
Fans treat CS:GO, LoL and so on similarly to the way traditional sports fans treat football and basketball. They love to wager on those sports, and esports viewers enjoy betting on the action they are watching.
A Sophisticated Offering
Esports wagering is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is already extremely sophisticated thanks to the efforts of a handful of pioneers. Unikrn, an esports betting and news media company based in Las Vegas and with offices in Seattle, Sydney and Berlin, was founded in 2014 and it has done wonders for betting on gaming tournaments over the past five years.
Investors include Mark Cuban, Mark Wahlberg and Tabcorp, the largest betting firm in Australia. It has been a real trailblazer in the esports betting sector, and if you check out some Unikrn esports markets you will see just have comprehensive its coverage of the sector is.
It features the top three esports first – League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 – and they have the broadest coverage, but then there is a wealth of alternative games to choose from. You can find odds on battle royale titles like PUBG, Fortnite and Apex Legends, real-time strategy games such as StarCraft 2, fighting games like Street Fighter and Smash Bros, sports games such as FIFA and NBA 2K, and many more shooters, from Overwatch to Rainbow 6 Siege.
A Wealth of Markets
You can bet on futures markets like who will win a particular tournament, and you can find a wealth of pre-match and in-play betting options on a range of games. It is similar to a traditional sporting event: you can bet on over or under 2.5 goals in a soccer match, and you can bet on under or over 2.5 maps on a CS:GO match. You might bet on who will score first in soccer, and you might bet on who will slay the first dragon within a League of Legends match.
You will find all manner of exotic, quirky prop bets and you can find plenty of value on all matches. You can then stream the action via Twitch or YouTube and revel in the excitement.
The world’s largest online sports betting sites followed in Unikrn’s footsteps and created esports sections. The top online casino operators are now following suit, because almost everyone is investing in esports.
Big companies Pile in
McDonald’s, MasterCard and Toyota are among the sports, Snoop Dogg, LeBron James and Robert Kraft are among the investors. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are fighting for supremacy within the esports streaming sector. It is only natural for online casinos to grab a piece of the action, particularly when you consider how high the esports wagering handle is.
The demographic visiting online casinos are also perhaps inclined to be esports fans, as they are potentially young, tech-savvy and interested in exciting games they can play from their mobile devices or desktops.
It is now really common for online casinos to have sportsbooks with dedicated esports sections, and the worlds are converging. Online betting companies are already significant sponsors of the esports scene, because they know how popular it is among the future generations of consumers. It is a brave new world and everybody wants to be a part of it.
Online casino operators can bring a great deal of entrepreneurial skill to proceedings and they have a great chance of capitalizing on the soaring popularity of this exciting sector.Updated Date: 20 September 2019, 04:34