E-Sports – the next big thing for sports betting?

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What is ESports?

ESports – short for electronic sports – is multiplayer organized competitive video gaming usually but not always played by professionals and enjoyed by spectators and millions of fans online.

Firstly, it became popular in China and South Korea, the first to license professional players since 2000, but not so much in Japan due to anti-gambling laws prohibiting professional gaming tournaments.

ESports rose to fame globally in the early 2000s due to streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, which caused a surge in professional gamers and spectators. By the 2010s, esports was a massive deal in the video gaming community, with significant gaming developers designing and funding tournaments and other events.

Now, you may think that playing video games can not count as a professional sport. However, despite not being physically demanding – ESports, just like Chess, still requires immense mental acuity, strategic thinking and intense focus. 

Some popular ESports are Fortnite, Street Fighter, Tekken, Fifa, Mortal Kombat, Call Of Duty, League Of Legends, and the extensive list continues. 

Why is ESports so popular? 

The reason can be put down to many factors; it is more inclusive and accessible than any other sport. Anyone can become an ESports champion no matter their physical ability, age or gender; of course, becoming one will still require much practice. Another reason is the gigantic gaming catalogue – there is something for everyone. 

Esports also potentially creates more social opportunities than any other sport; if you are a video game fanatic, you are well aware of the intense competition and conversation it makes and leaves plenty of room for meeting new people of all ages, backgrounds and genders. Not to mention the big winnings you could take home – this year, Esports tournament organizers; Gamers8 announced a mammoth prize pool of £37.96m ($45m) for its 2023 event, called ‘The Land of Heroes’- the largest prize in ESports history. 

ESports Betting and its growth

Esports has become a new phenomenon and is growing increasingly popular, so of course, bookmakers and betting operators are now weighing in on the popularity. Just like any sport, placing a bet adds to the excitement. 

Esports betting has become a new favorite pastime; bookmakers and betting operators now offer odds on the thousands of matches played daily. In 2020, we saw a considerable surge in ESports betting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the rest of the world, traditional sports stopped, and bookmarkers had to turn their heads to the only sport being played 

The following is a comparative report produced by the TXODDS data science team showing the relative growth of Esports in betting over the last five years.

Could another reason for its growth be due to how easily accessible it is? At any given moment, there is a top-level ESports match going ahead to place a wager on, and it is all available at your fingertips as all games are steamed on platforms such as Youtube and Twitch online, unlike traditional sports that may require a subscription to watch your chosen sport. 

ESports is a rapidly growing marketplace and shows no signs of slowing down due to the number of spectators and participants increasing yearly. Unlike other sports, it is played all year round, meaning there is always a match to place a wager on.

Additionally, there are many ways to place a bet on an Esports match from sportsbooks to online betting sites. Unlike other sports, data can be updated and provided in real-time creating highly accurate real-time odds and increasing your chances of winning. On top of that, it is effortless for viewers to easily switch between watching their favorite team fighting it out in an arena playing their favorite video game to placing a bet without missing any of the action. 

Esports is a lucrative industry and produced over $1 billion in revenue in 2019 alone and is expected to be worth $6.75 billion by 2030. If you haven’t already placed a wager on an esports match, you probably should.