Is Betting on eSports the next big thing?
Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 11:03am (UTC), 0 Comments

Sports betting is a really hot topic right now. With the United States now taking a much more lenient stance with regards to wagers on sporting events, the industry is booming in a very big way. But what does this mean for eSports industry? And as a matter of fact, is betting on eSports even a thing?

Before we answer that, let's take a quick look at exactly what's going on in the US right now and how it affects the rest of the world.

The US betting industry

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that each state in the US had control over sports betting within their own state lines. This meant that for the first time, a state other than Nevada could allow residents to bet on sporting events.
In the two years since, many of the betting industry's major heavyweights have entered the US market. This is great news for fans as it means a much more competitive industry. In fact, many of these big names are now offering free bets to new customers

eSports and betting

Believe it or not, eSports betting is actually already a thing. According to a report released in 2018, the industry is set to be worth an estimated $12.9 billion in 2020. That's an incredible figure, but one that shouldn't really surprise us too much.

As we all know, major tournaments such as The International and the Fortnite World Cup have prize pools that would rival the budget of a small nation. And as unbelievable as it may seem, many of the biggest eSports tournaments now offer prize pools that top the world's most popular traditional sports. That includes the US Golf Open and many of the tennis majors.

So as you can imagine, it makes perfect sense that in a sporting industry that is highly competitive and lucrative, spectators and fans alike are starting to get in on the action themselves.

eSports coming to a wider audience

In times gone by, video games were played in bedrooms and arcades. The only people watching were our friends and family members. Then along came the internet and gamers began streaming their games on platforms such as YouTube and later Twitch.

Next came the first major eSports tournaments and suddenly gaming was brought to a much wider audience. The nature of eSports tournaments made them perfect for viewers who weren't necessarily interested in playing the actual game, but simply wanted to watch and see players compete. And within a very short period of time, viewing figures increased significantly.

By 2017, there were an estimated 192 million casual viewers of eSports and 143 million enthusiasts that watched on a regular basis. That's a mind-blowing 335 million people watching people play games like COD and Fortnite. In 2018, that figure grew by 13.8% to hit viewership figures of 380 million people. And a report issued by Newzoo predicts that by 2021, that figure will hit a whopping 557 million.

All of this heightened exposure to casual viewers will no doubt result in an increase in market value for the eSports betting industry. As non-gaming viewers become more interested in eSports, they will look to become more invested in the games they watch. And what better way to do so than by placing a wager on the tournament outcome or supporting your favorite team as they navigate the leagues.

So in answer to our earlier question on whether eSports betting is the next big thing, our answer is a resounding yes. As a matter of fact, it's already getting there. The next logical step is for eSports tournaments to hit prime time TV. When that happens we could see the lid blow off the entire eSports betting industry.

Who'd have thought that one day we'd have grown men and women sitting in front of the TV cheering on their favorite gamers? Certainly not your parents when they gave you a hard time for playing too much Sonic back in the day, right?
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