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Friday, December 9, 2022

Expect More North American Esports and Sports Teams to Sign Deals with Gambling Operators

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Anyone within the casino and sports betting industries will tell you that the Covid-19 pandemic changed the way that they work and shifted how the industry grew over the last 18 months.

There have been different changes we have seen – but for example, sports games that simulated real-life leagues increased in popularity as real-life major sports leagues were canceled. The cancellation of large events meant that people were driven to take part in something else instead – and that is where sports games really stepped up to the mark.

It isn’t just a shift in where sports fans have gone that we have seen, we have also seen the way they participate shift too. For example, people are keener to take part in esports betting than ever before.

Unable to bet on their favorite players or teams winning the league, people took to participating in esports events and betting. This led to growth for a number of esports companies, including Esports Entertainment Group, which recently became a Nasdaq-listed company. Globally, the betting industry has seen massive growth over recent months and the esports section of this is no exception.

Partnerships and Sponsorships

A few years ago it would have been some way of an alien concept for a major bookmaker to offer betting video gaming and virtual events. However, we’re most definitely there and there in a big way! Recently we have seen Betway announce that they would be welcoming esports betting onto their books. They have been offering sports betting in the traditional way since 2006 and then become one of the first major betting sites to announce that they would keep up with customer demand to offer esports betting too.  They did this with a sponsorship of the OGA Dota Pit Season 3 in October 2020. It is widely thought amongst esports fans that this was seen as a test run by the company, who are likely to expand the events that they get involved in.

North America Involvement

Betting throughout Canada and North America has always been under strict rules, in fact at one stage it was banned completely. As such, sports betting and esports betting hasn’t always been as acceptable as it has been in other parts of the world. That said, this is going to change as the rules and regulations surrounding gambling in Canada are going through a reform. From the 27th of August, sports betting will be enshrined in Canadian law, which will allow for a wider reform – for example, provinces allowed to go through their own process of legalizing online gambling. These changes are likely to make sports betting much more accessible to a wider audience, and it will only be a matter of time before sports brands want a big piece of this pie.

The reform of gambling laws within Canada has certainly got the attention of people involved within the industry throughout North America. As a result, there has been a rush by brands, operators and affiliates to operate in the country as they look to get in on the ground floor in certain niches like legal slot sites in Canada. As this expands to things like sports betting, it is likely that sports betting brands are going to want to get involved.

The Future for Sports Teams Sponsorship

As betting starts to become more acceptable and accessible, brands will likely start to sign deals with gambling operators. Advertising via online casinos and sports betting websites is big business, as they often bring in large amounts of traffic during big events – as such, it could be that sports brands and teams decide to advertise on these. On the flip side, if esports betting becomes more mainstream then you may find that places like Betway and other companies that offer betting on esports events start to sponsor more events and show their support that way. By sponsoring events that are showing the fan base that they are happy to support this industry, however, it also is a fantastic advertising opportunity for them. Not everyone will know that you are able to place bets on these virtual and esports events, so advertising during events and sponsorship of games/leagues just makes sense.

No one can reliably predict exactly what will happen, as we simply do not know what the new reforms will bring and what this might mean for different provinces within Canada. This is especially true as esports are really limited to one area, so if there are different rules for different regions this could make things tricky. However, what we can be sure of is that the esports and sports betting industry within Canada is opening up and that can only be a good thing for everyone involved within that industry.

Longer-Term Future

These changes indicate that esports betting is becoming a much bigger part of normal life. Gone are the days where esports betting companies had limited places they could advertise and promote their services. Now there is a whole esports culture that they’re able to get involved in, enabling them to target a much more direct set of potential customers. It is likely that they’re looking at the data within this to understand how they can help both esports and esports betting to grow – not only within North America but globally. Now that things are starting to calm down after the height of the pandemic, companies like Betway and Esports Entertainment Group will be looking at what trends are changing and how their audience is adapting. We’re starting to see the return of real-life sporting events which is likely to have an effect on the popularity of esporting events someway. 

However, with things like the new Oxygen Esports campaign to create a digital AI-driven first-person shooter coach for youths interested in basketball, one thing for sure is that it isn’t going to disappear completely and as technology continues to evolve is likely to creep up in popularity once again.

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Deepak Ojha
Deepak Ojha
Founding Editor, TalkEsport

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