eSports Opportunities for Sportsbooks
Bookmakers are always looking for new opportunities to expand their markets, and this dovetails perfectly with the ascent of eSports (a blend of video games and competitive sports).
The Rapid Growth of eSports
When it comes to standard sporting events, wholly new categories are as rare as hen’s teeth with most new sports being very closely inspired by existing ones (synchronized diving or speed walking springing to mind). But eSports is just that, an entirely new type of sports and an area that has already seen huge amounts of growth and has great potential for even more.
Fusing together video games and sports was always going to be a winning proposition, and the increasing technological advancements that made playing online easier helped create the solid foundations of the current eSports landscape. Trend growth has been significantly positive for a while, and during the pandemic lockdowns, which curtailed or canceled almost every traditional sport in the world, the natural resilience of eSports helped win it a bucketload of new fans. (In much the same way a lot of regular business shifted online at this time). And with greater fan interest comes greater betting potential for bookmakers (there’s a reason why some major league sporting events can have in excess of a hundred markets per game, after all).
A Diverse Betting Portfolio
Sports betting these days is a much broader category than just regular major leagues or European soccer competitions. It includes talent show results, political markets, and niche sports, and this more diverse portfolio of markets increases the potential pool of bettors, to the advantage of the sportsbook. In much the same way, many bettors enjoy dabbling in casino games, and there’s no shortage of great USA no deposit casinos to try. Take advantage of this excellent US bonus source to start casino betting with no deposit bonuses, which enable players to bet for real cash prizes but without having to risk any losses at all. This may sound too good to be true but the highly competitive playing field in the casino world has led to an arms race in promotions, and no deposit promos are the weapon of choice for sites aiming to attract new players.
eSports Meets Real Sports
One area where eSports and traditional sports overlap is with major league (and other) teams who have a directly affiliated/associated eSports wing. This is one of the easiest ways for fans to step into eSports and for bookmakers to easily open up new markets because the rules (and therefore the betting possibilities) will be almost identical to the traditional sport. Betting on a virtual NBA team to win a game in the NBA 2K League is very similar to betting on a real team, after all.
Special Tournament Events
Although Fortnite is not as big an eSport as Dota 2 or League of Legends it was responsible for one of the milestones of the category – the Fortnite World Cup. This event saw the winner take home a lottery-sized prize and may well prove the model for future intermittent but massive competitions, in the same way that the soccer world has its World Cup every four years. On an annual basis, The International is already a multi-million prize pool tournament for Dota 2, and as eSports gets bigger we can expect to see a greater number of major competitions like these (in the same way the USA has the World Series and Super Bowl, and Europe has the Champions League). Such events open up a huge array of betting markets for sportsbooks, including title betting, stage of elimination, finalists, and betting between which of two teams progress furthest in the competition.
Young Audience, Great Future
While eSports is growing it remains behind the likes of the NFL, NBA, or (internationally) the EPL in terms of popularity. But it is nevertheless a large sporting category already and growing far more rapidly than the competition. This is due to the generally younger fanbase, with 84% of US fans being under 35. These fans watch a lot of gaming streams growing up, let’s play videos on YouTube, and, of course, enjoy playing video games themselves. This makes eSports (as competitors or spectators) a natural step for those who enjoy gaming and seems likely to increase the fanbase organically by millions every single year. And more fans means more bettors.
New Games, New Markets
Many of the top eSports (including the highly popular League of Legends as well as Dota 2) have been around for a long time, bringing an interesting degree of longevity to games. However, developers are not standing still and new games are continually being created. The potential of eSports makes it an attractive proposition to design new games that have compelling solo and (primarily) team contests, and new games designed specifically around competitive multiplayer will naturally create new betting potential and markets for sportsbooks. While the match result bet will always be around, differing eSports have different minor markets, such as map winners in CS:GO, rampage and ultra kill bets in Dota 2, and pistol round winners in Valorant. As time goes by and new games come into being, this potential will only grow.
The substantial growth of eSports makes it an open door at which bookmakers can push. Couple this with the wide variety of games (and thus markets) and new creations being developed all the time, and betting on eSports is only going to get bigger.