Esports refer to all those video games that have at least the same degree of competitiveness and emotion of traditional sports, which in turn is what makes people want to bet on them. And according to Sigma, Esports betting has grown 180% within the last four years. That evolution did not occur overnight and was immensely affected by the recent pandemic – an effect that is by no means construed as a temporary increase.
However, the pandemic is not the only reason behind the growing number of bets in games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The most notorious motivations are described below, but they do not intend to limit possibilities in that regard.
Why is Esports Betting Growing Popular?
First, it is a fact that Esports have been growing in popularity. That is true even for those who cannot or do not bet at all. Those who were not away doing a sabbatical period are aware of how the championships of League of Legends and Dota 2 rapidly turned from odd to mainstream events. Consequently, the more popular they are, the more people are looking to Esports betting markets, either out of greed or excitement.
Exposure is another relevant factor for the recent and booming increase in the popularity of eSports betting. Social media is ruled by engagement and demand, and more people interested in Esports leads to more exposure. According to BusinessofApps, Twitch had 5.1 billion hours of game watching, and Youtube had 1.5 billion hours. Those people already are or are entering the legal betting age, and they benefit from their knowledge of how those games work. Instead of simply watching them, they can bet on live Esports events.
Finally, the most important recent factor that increased the popularity of Esports betting is related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the reasons why it is an obvious component, it is worth mentioning:
- The pause of traditional sports events.
- Increase in the number of people bored due to quarantine.
- The new audience that was too busy to pay attention to how Esports works.
Why Esports and not Virtual Sports?
For those who are not aware of the difference, virtual sports are “fake” matches and events with random results that simulate traditional sports. Horse racing, basketball, soccer, and many other sports receive bets based not on an athlete’s or a team’s skill, but on pure luck.
Esports differ from virtual sports in two different aspects:
- Even those that replicate traditional sports, such as FIFA, rely on the skills and talent of real people, not on randomly generated numbers.
- There is nothing similar to what League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive offer within virtual sports.
Therefore, Esports offer a much broader experience, and was not threatened by virtual sports at any moment – but most likely the other way around.
What to Expect from the Future of Esports Betting?
Esports betting is not giving any signs that it will put a stop to its growth. While the pandemic will end at some point, all the other reasons above should not only maintain but accelerate its increase. The main difference punters may find five years or more from now may lie within which games are responsible for the largest income of Esports betting sites. Those websites, by the way, are already increasing and requesting licenses connected to Esports betting, according to TheGameHaus. It is too soon to tell if Esports will compete on equal terms with traditional sports, or how virtual reality betting will take part in it. For now, punters who value opportunities should not forget to check promotions with boosted odds for Esports.