eSports betting has exploded and is predicted to continue to do so. Recent Skin gambling regulations have cleared the way for traditional sportsbooks.
Understanding the eSports Frenzy
In recent years eSports have exploded, and their popularity just continues to rise. The best definition of an eSport, or electronic sport, is a competition that is facilitated by electronic systems. The most common version of this, of course, is video games, and this is what comes to mind for most people when they think of eSports.
There are several different kinds of games involved in eSports, including first-person shooter, multi-player online battle and games based on real-life sports. The industry is moving into so many new areas that it is even possible to study for an eSports degree now! Inner Mongolia’s Xiligol Vocational College recently started the first admissions process for this exact course.
Blurring the Boundaries Between Real Sports and eSports
Fantasy leagues for football and other sports have been popular for many years, and are based on the real-life statistics and performances of the players that you choose to assemble in your dream team.
Now, as eSports become more and more of a force to be reckoned with, this idea is also being taken to the next level. Kieran Brown has just been signed as the first e-player for Manchester City, for example, and West Ham recently similarly recruited Sean Allen. More such appointments seem very likely.
Bookmakers Jump On the Bandwagon
For any new phenomenon in popular culture betting is never far behind, and that certainly seems to be the case with eSports. Online betting sites are accepting wagers on eSports more frequently, not only on fantasy leagues for real sports but also on major online games such as Counter Strike. Betway seems to be leading the way here, with a good variety of options available to punters.
Betting on eSports has even reached the bright lights of Las Vegas, where William Hill has been granted the first licence to accept eSports bets on the Strip. With such global appeal, the fact that virtual athletes are paid more than real-life Olympians is almost unsurprising.
Skin Betting Successes
At the beginning of 2016 Newzoo, an intelligence firm that covers mobile gaming and eSports, predicted that revenue generated by eSports during the year would sit at around $463 million, up 43% from 2015. The firm also asserted that eSports revenue would be in excess of $1 billion by 2019.
Much of the prosperity that Newzoo predicted for eSports, however, was based on Skin Gambling revenue. Skin Gambling refers to betting and trading in digital items needed for online games rather than cash, a practice that has been going on for some time. Recently it reached new levels, but due to several issues has now been severely restricted.
Factors in the Skin Gambling crackdown include the fact that under-18s could use it to engage in illegal gambling activities, and that regulation in general is much more difficult than with regular gambling. Valve, a major video game company and a producer of many popular eSports titles, has been the main instigator and leader in the boycott and subsequent regulations around Skin Gambling. After it was banned for their massively popular game Counter Strike: Global Offensive, prohibitions were set for many other games.
Future eSports Market Predictions
The predicted market size for Skin Gambling is now around 20% what it once was, and the total turnover for eSports is predicted to be $30 billion by the year 2020.
With traditional sportsbooks, both land-based and online, now accepting conventional cash wagers on these new competitions, and with no Skin Gambling obstacles, the time for them to capitalise on the predicted wagers is now.