It took around a decade for esports to rise from its humble beginnings to a truly lucrative business. Still, this did not mean that people started to take eSports seriously, and many older sports fans didn’t suddenly start watching video game streams. But, in the wake of COVID-19, sports events around the world were brought to a halt.
Guess who was in the spotlight all of a sudden? That’s right, esports. Moreover, sports betting also had a role to play in this development. So, let’s see just how the betting world started to turn its attention to eSports.
More Bets than Ever in Europe
As eSports were one of the competitions that were not as affected by lockdown as other events, the betting on this activity has boomed. According to some estimates, there were 40 times as many bets on video game competitions during 2020.
Moreover, some bookmakers in Curacao also reported that eSports bets make the total wagers.
Casinos Took Action as Well
Everyone in the betting and gambling business was quick to notice this trend and decided to take action. Online gambling parlors wanted to expand their offer and facilitate these betting options. Even in mid-March, there was a high number of eSports wagering applications from casinos. Some reports suggest that regulators were processing one request per day.
This should come as no surprise as iGaming is a highly competitive market. There are so many incentives among the best online casinos that are trying to attract as many users as possible through better casino games, e-sports wagering, betting options, and bonuses. However, this goes beyond just attracting bettors.
A Strategic Move
Casinos and gambling are not exactly easy for advertising. There are lots of regulations in place that don’t allow for the companies that offer this entertainment to air their ads. Similar to cigarettes and alcohol, it is viewed as a bad habit. By getting more partner businesses that are part of mainstream media, casinos can get some sort of brand exposure.
Their core business is slots and table games of chance, so that’s where they want to attract new players. All of the online Casinos Analyzer platforms review the types of offers and games these gambling parlors offer for the users. So, if you can rank as a site that has eSports betting, that gets you more users. Also, if you sponsor eSports teams, your brand can get more positive association, which helps the public image. On top of that, anyone who plays on that platform feels like they are indirectly supporting their favorite gamers as well.
In other words, the goal is to create an image where digital sports are the main attraction. That is done through sponsorships, hosting the tournaments, or creating more gaming-themed slots.
How Do Gaming Companies Feel About This?
This is somewhat uncharted territory for publishers and developers. On the one hand, you can gain more traction and more rich sponsors backing you up. On the other hand, do you want your product to be associated with gambling, as your idea is also to advertise it to kids?
Betting operators were initially under the impression that they didn’t actually need permission from gaming companies to place wagers on their events. Ironically, almost none of the companies complained about their products being displayed on betting sites.
This kind of approach can create a Wild West atmosphere as there needs to be a body in charge of ensuring the integrity of the matches. As a result, some of the biggest brands in the gaming world teamed up with Sportradar to monitor betting operators. This way legitimacy and longevity of the eSports betting ecosystem are preserved.