Mark McGuinness: eSports poses challenge for traditional sportsbooks

Mark McGuinness on eSports industry

In this interview with’s Rebecca Liggero, Mainstream Marketing and Communications’ Mark McGuinness explains why the online gambling industry should get on the eSports—seen as the biggest gambling and entertainment opportunity in the next decade—train right now.

The eSports industry is already growing into a lucrative industry. The sector is already generating an estimated $748 million in revenue worldwide this year, according to SuperData Research, and analysts believe competitive gaming will experience “explosive growth” on a year-on-year phenomenon.

Skeptics might say the number is a bit exaggerated. Mark McGuinness, of Mainstream Marketing and Communications, admits the real figures—in terms of gambling—is still unknown, but sportsbooks that have started offering eSports betting are already reaping the rewards.

“What we are seeing is several traditional sportsbooks offering eSports betting, and in particular, companies such as Pinnacle who came into the marketplace in 2010 have said publicly that they are seeing a doubling of their eSports betting handle year-on-year,” McGuinness told “Certain sportsbooks, such as Betway, are reporting four-figure side bets, [and] some bookmakers in the Russian area are seeing average side bets of €60 to €100 per eSports match.”

He believes the eSports industry poses a challenge to the gambling community, especially since this sector caters to a particular market.

“The challenge for traditional sportsbooks is that they have to think about the demographic, which is a 21-year-old average age, predominantly male,” McGuinness explained. “They have to understand what technologies that he is interested in… In particular, they have to create an almost eSports hub withink their gaming platform.”

In essence, McGuinness said the eSports industry is very similar to poker during its early days.

“In the early days of poker, you had to educate the amateur players. Likewise, [in] eSports you have to educate the amateur gamers through the betting propositions, and one of the ways you can do that is actually create an eSports hub—almost a 101. The pro gamers already understand betting because effectively, they are doing that already in some of the unregulated, unlicensed or black market sites,” he noted.

For those who haven’t caught the eSports train, McGuinness said now is the perfect time to get on the industry with new products that will address the needs and desires of the very particular demographic.

“They’re looking for instant gratification, so [it’s] on demand,” McGuinness said. “I think again, it has to be mobile first. It has to be an app-based proposition, almost having a companion-based app that you can actually take to [an] eSport live event, or if actually watch a Twitter stream of your favorite team. The betting operator has to be thinking about more mobile strategy first and mobile apps to support the actual eSports betting proposition.”