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eSports Betting Sector Overview For 2021: Stats, Key Drivers And More
Friday, 27 August 2021
eSports betting was once considered a mere subset of gambling, but in 2021, it has transitioned into its distinct market. More people than ever before are placing bets on eSports tournaments and tuning in to watch video game tournaments. But what’s driving this interest? How did we get here, and what does the future hold? In this article, we will explore the statistics and key areas of interest that made the eSports betting sector one of the most dynamic of today.
Statistics from the eSports betting sector
By the end of this year, the global eSports market is expected to reach just over $1.8 billion, almost 50% more than in 2020. But when we look at eSports betting, a completely different vertical, the figures are equally promising. Over the last two years, eSports and eSport betting have transitioned into the mainstream.
At the end of 2020, the eSports betting market brought in around $14 billion in revenue. This is set to reach a staggering $205 billion in the next six years. Considering that the sector was only bringing in just under $700 million in 2019, this is an incredible increase. With growth estimated at between 13.1% and 15.1% during the next few years, those setting up in the eSports betting sector are in for an exhilarating ride.
There are already several big players in the industry. Companies like eSports Technologies, DraftKings Inc, and eSports Entertainment Group benefitted from the eSports boom. Publicly traded companies are doing well, and a series of significant mergers and acquisitions have testified to the dynamic nature of the sector.
But we must also take a look at the size of the potential eSports betting market. There are around half a billion avid eSports watchers worldwide. In addition to this, there are some 6.5 million regular eSports bettors and between 1.6 billion and 4.2 billion frequent gamblers. This shows over a billion online gamblers and 400 million eSports fans are not currently betting on eSports.
This, combined with the overall growth of the online gambling sector, means that there is a lot of room for potential investment.
Key drivers of the eSports betting sector
So what caused the eSports betting sector boom? Several factors have driven it forward over the last few years.
The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and sent many industries into freefall. As many countries went into lockdown, sporting events were cancelled or postponed. This left sports betting sites in a precarious position, not knowing when things would go back to normal. It also left sports betting fans with nothing to wager on. eSports and eSports betting was something of a niche market at the time. But noting its gradual increase in popularity, operators seized the opportunity. They positioned eSports betting as an alternative to conventional sports, plugging the gap during the pandemic. Millions of bettors became interested in eSports betting and placed bets accordingly.
When sports tournaments started up again, interest in the eSports betting sector didn’t wane. A new sport was added to the roster. But this one came with millions of dedicated fans and a vast, potentially untapped audience. Some eSports betting had been taking place illegally, but with its mainstream popularity came increased protection for gamblers. eSports betting sites sprung up, and existing betting sites created eSports sections.
Now, its popularity is unstoppable, and eSports betting has well and truly cemented itself in the mainstream.
eSports fans are typically in their early to late 20s, a demographic that some operators had previously struggled to engage. With a penchant for video games, technology, and excitement, regular betting sites didn’t always meet their needs. But the inclusion of eSports betting on mainstream sites, and the creation of new sites, bridged the gap. Bettors found it much easier to find reputable sites to gamble with, and existing bettors bet more on eSports.
The inclusion of this younger demographic also gives operators the chance to market other games. This includes games using AR or VR, and of course, cryptocurrency gambling.
A desire for technology
There is a real demand for innovative technology in entertainment. Both younger and older players are looking for ways to enjoy new technologies in betting. As mentioned, this can include VR and AR, cryptocurrency and blockchain, and streaming services. Our lives have become increasingly more digital and as a result, so have our preferences in entertainment.
We are increasingly attached to our smartphones, and they become more high-tech as time goes on. Internet is cheaper, faster, more accessible, and this also fuels the desire for technology. As eSports takes place with computer games, involves streaming, and is popular with those that like technology, it’s not hard to understand that this is fuelling its popularity.
eSports betting providers must be constantly innovative in the services they offer to stay ahead of the competition.
Areas of interest for the eSports betting sector
Asides from meeting the demands created by the above drivers, operators must pay careful attention to a few other areas of interest. The eSports betting sector is young enough to focus on its drivers, but there are other areas of interest.
One of these is cryptocurrency eSports betting. Cryptocurrency betting is a hot topic and an area of growth in its own right. Its use as a payment method has opened up the sector to millions who didn’t want or couldn’t pay with conventional fiat currency. It also gave bettors quicker transactions at lower costs, with more security.
The use of cryptocurrency in esports betting also plays into the fact that many eSports bettors are younger. This is also a demographic that is more likely to want to use cryptocurrencies to pay.
Currently eSports betting accounts for 4.5% of the online gambling sector. Furthermore, around 4% of online gambling is carried out with crypto. It’s reasonable to assume there could be significant overlap there. With more than 300 million global crypto users, this is a large number of potential eSports betting customers.
It’s safe to say that crypto payments will be a big part of the future of the gambling sector. It will also be of significance to the eSports sector as it continues its growth over the next few years.
Another area of interest is different kinds of games. Right now, Dota 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Halo, and Starcraft are some of the leaders, but this could change. As eSports is more popular, developers will work to create games to cater specifically to competitive, public playing.
The top three eSports betting sector markets are Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe. Asia-Pacific has long enjoyed eSports with more than half of the world’s viewership. This is mainly concentrated in Korea and China. Countries such as Australia and Japan hold potential as well. In Europe, Denmark and Germany both have an active eSports sector, followed by the UK, Sweden, and Russia.
In terms of emerging sectors, they include both the ones mentioned here and sectors that are enjoying general online gambling growth. For example, Latin America. With more countries legislating for online gambling or at least considering it, this is an area to watch. Asia will continue to dominate and should be a big focus of those looking to reel in new bettors.