This is a guest contribution by Adam Stevens of CustomEsports, If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
Gambling and betting in eSports has seen a boom in popularity as games, such as Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO), have risen to eSports fame with skin betting sites being at the forefront of this growth. However, many people in the gambling industry don’t seem to understand the hype or don’t feel like eSports is something to heavily invest in. The general consensus is that it’s just another channel like football or basketball.
In this article we’ll compare and contrast eSports betting and traditional sports betting, and hopefully convince the gambling industry to invest heavily in eSports.
Traditional sports gambling is a massive industry with global sports betting being worth approximately $3 trillion, with about 65% of that being spent on football betting alone. Obviously eSports betting is nowhere near this, but Eilers Research analysts projected it will be exceed $23bn by 2020. So it’s definitely a healthy portion of the overall market that could disrupt the traditional sports betting industry.
Traditional sports gambling has four major forms of betting: match betting, event betting, fantasy team betting and micro-event betting (for example, betting that a football match will to go to penalties). eSports betting has match betting, event betting, fantasy team betting, and possibly the most popular, roulette betting.
In terms of joining eSports betting, there isn’t anyone currently offering micro-event betting in eSports, which could be a good selling point for your betting platform if you’re looking to come in to the eSports market. Roulette betting is lucrative but the market is quite saturated as you can tell from this list of CSGO betting sites. And I’m sure the big traditional sports betting sites know all about match betting and fantasy team betting.
Let’s take a look at the micro-event betting in eSports, which isn’t being utilized by the big betting companies both industry specific and wide spread. There’s a huge list of different bets you could offer but here’s a few examples: who will win Round 5, who will get first blood, who will get the most kills, what time will the first tower fall, who will win the half, team 1 to win and player A to get the most kills on the server, team 1 to lose and team 2’s player A to get the most kills on the server. You could really branch out in to what you offer for each game and as far as I’m aware, no one is doing this currently.
In eSports there are very few websites that bring together social gambling and eSports gambling. The social element may rest on players playing directly with or against other people in a virtual environment. In games such as CSGO, players love to talk about how good they are and how they’re better than you. What would be a good idea in eSports—and something that I think would be very successful—is a website where people bet in game items that are worth money (such as skins in CSGO) or actual money on them winning. I believe there’s one website that is doing this already, but it uses bitcoin instead of actual money or skins. To make this successful would be to use in-game items such as skins as the currency for betting, everyone has some skins, the game drops them randomly at the end of every game you play. Like roulette sites, you will take a small commission from each transaction. This makes the idea accessible to a wider audience, and if you get in there now and invest some money into marketing the idea, I think you’re on to a winner.
What many big betting sites aren’t doing is making a big deal about offline events, for example, LoL Worlds, CSGO Majors or The International in DotA 2. Have single bets on who will win the tournament, have bets on how many rounds will be played in the tournament. I’m really surprised people aren’t taking advantage of this on the big real money betting sites.
What could be an issue with some eSports games is the sheer amount of games going on. Games can be online and offline, sometimes with a single team playing three or four games a night in various tournaments. I know that could be hard to manage if you’re an online betting company, so what I would do is either only focus on offline games or only focus on the top tier teams. There’s many top 10 lists in every eSports game, find one that is relevant and trustworthy and use that to aid your game selection.
Traditional sports betting is a widespread industry and does generate a lot of revenue; I think eSports betting will easily fit right in. I don’t think the eSports betting industry particularly needs the big players in traditional sports betting to fit in, but we’ve highlighted some areas where they can really create a splash within eSports and fill potential gaps in the market. We’ve seen some big players such as William Hill come in to eSports but the betting company hasn’t made any visible investment and is lacking in the quality of bets on matches they feature on the website in my opinion.
The first big betting company to come in, spend a little money and do things correctly will win big, blowing the small- to medium-sized companies that are currently operating in this space out of the water.
Adam Stevens can be found running the day to day operations at CustomEsports, a custom eSports jersey supplier, or on a server in CSGO.