Esports has been carving a path through online sports entertainment for the better part of a decade as it continues to pull in huge viewer numbers at the biggest events of the year – but it’s easy to forget that familiarity in sports betting has only really been around for the past four or five years, or a year or two longer if you consider a different form of betting that had first emerged – so how has esports changed online sports betting for good, and what can traditional sporting events learn from the successes?
Skin betting ousted many flaws early – Back in 2013, an update to the popular esports title of Counter-Strike brought cosmetic items into the game, and a marketplace that grew with it. In just a few short years by the time change was brought around in 2016, it was suspected that the skin betting, gambling, and trading market had peaked $8 billion, a huge milestone – but it exposed some early floors as match betting scandals and less than trustworthy markets scammed plenty of unaware users. Although some of these small issues still exist, to some degree, it has been much less prevalent since a shift to a more familiar form of gambling occurred – and with many bigger operators available, where there are still lots available away from initiatives like Gamstop, the number continues to grow as more operators subscribe to the wider esports market.
A large number of events has certainly helped growth – Across many different games, and a number of different regions, there are a huge number of matches played on a regular basis – from smaller community run events to the larger developer supported tournaments, there is always something to watch. International tournaments are also very regular, with some games having international play every few months at big events which certainly help viewer numbers and competition as a whole – where traditional sporting is often limited on international competition, there’s certainly a lesson to be learned from the success here.
Ease of broadcasting has been vital – The biggest sport events in the world are often tied behind a paywall or paid service due to broadcasting rights, and for some it limits accessibility – esports has always been widely available for free through platforms such as Twitch and has allowed for viewers of all backgrounds to tune in without difficulty –punters looking to watch and bet are able to do so without restriction and often without the same challenges that face traditional sport, and have been a large part of the reason esports has been so successful. Further changes will certainly prompt traditional sporting to follow as many have already made adjustments following the success of esports, but there’s certainly still ground to cover given how much esports has grown throughout the past year during the pandemic, and how it seems to be on a long trajectory to keep growing much in the way it has.