Esports have jumped from the background to the mainstream in recent years. No longer are they seen as just a hobby for teenage boys – esports is now considered a true sport. Esports has become a big industry, with tournaments and series that have established teams and millions of fans worldwide.
Some games, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, have huge followings and the ability to attract enough attention that prize money can be in the millions.
Another recent trend is the move from traditional land-based to online casinos. While some online casinos focus primarily on slot machine games, the majority also offer table games such as poker, roulette, baccarat and blackjack. Some also offer sports betting opportunities. For example, Guts offers online casino games of all types. As esports and online casinos have both grown in popularity, there has begun to be some overlap between the two. What does this look like in an esports setting?
Land-based casinos and esports
Casinos, particularly the big resort casinos in places like Las Vegas, are always quick to get on board with the hottest trends in entertainment. The artist residency programs for singers such as Celine Dion, Elton John, and Britney Spears have earned hundreds of millions of dollars for the hosting casinos and the artists. Once Las Vegas casino owners realized how big dance music had become, many opened clubs at their casinos, and in some cases, these venues were bringing in more revenue for the casinos than gambling was.
The newest trend in entertainment that casinos are getting involved in is esports. The HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor is considered one of the most cutting-edge esports arenas in the world and features a 50-foot LED video wall. By building arenas and sponsoring tournaments, traditional casinos are able to get involved in the esports industry.
Betting on sports has been a popular form of gambling for centuries. In recent years, laws governing betting on sports have begun to loosen around the world and it is now easier than ever to place bets on sporting events. Betting on esports has become a popular form of sports betting with the younger generations – and it probably would be popular with the older generations too, if they understood it a bit better!
Online casinos are the best places to find esports odds and sportsbooks that take esports bets since they aren’t hampered by traditional views on which sports should be bet on. Some sportsbooks are even beginning to sponsor esports professionals, showing that the partnership between online casinos and esports is growing steadily.
Esports casino games
The biggest area where the rise of casino gaming in esports can be seen is in the creation of online gambling platforms inspired by the most popular esports games. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) has inspired an entire gambling world based around the skins available in-game.
Despite efforts by game developer Valve to put an end to this informal economy, skin gambling grew into a legitimate industry in its own right. In the simplest terms, skin gambling is betting on the outcomes of esports matches or other gambling games using cosmetic in-game items – referred to as skins – as currency, rather than actual money. The rarer the skin, the higher the monetary value placed on it, making the ability to use them as gambling currency quite exciting.
As skin betting on esports matches grew, the sites facilitating these bets also began to offer players the opportunity to bet on games of chance using their skins as currency. Among the more popular games offered were jackpots, where players put their skins in the pot, with the winner taking all the skins. Some of the games offered were as simple as an online coin flip.
Just like regular online casinos, some of these sites allowed players to cash out their skins for real money. While CSGO is the most popular esport with a casino gaming element, there are others that also have a following. The FIFA gaming franchise has also seen an increase in gambling sites offering gamers the chance to bet their players and trade them with one another.
Casinos and esports might not seem to have much in common besides involving games played online but in reality, they are more related than you would think and actually work very well together. From casino-based arenas to online sports betting and beyond, casino gaming and esports are perfect for each other.