Since physical sports events were canceled or rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a notable rise in eSports betting and online gambling in the past few months. True, virtual sports have been a big deal even before the health crisis, but at the moment, estimations are that it is a $900 million-worth business.
The eSports industry has been growing more than 40% each year. It is expected to be worth $1.8 billion by 2022. The numbers show that over 600 million people follow, bet on, and participate in it. If you look at the stats, you’ll understand why this type of gambling is on the rise.
- eSports give rise to competitive gaming betting and gambling
- The pandemic affected eSports tournaments, but the industry adapts
- eSports expected to reach $1.8 billion worth by 2022
eSports Booming Industry
What started as leisure, entertainment into the late hours of the night by groups of friends competing against each other in a video game, has become a multimillion industry today, and an official, legit sport.
The eSports industry has become increasingly popular, with over 600 million people participating in it and following it. It revolutionized the concept of sports betting and fandom. Currently valued around $900 million, this market has given rise to competitive gaming betting.
The Impact of Skin Betting
Now, how did that happen? Well, games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive and DOTA 2 introduced a process called “skin betting.”
It began when skins, aesthetic updates that allow players to change the appearance of their weapons, were introduced in the desktop version of the games. Players could win these skins through gameplay, buy them, trade, and sell them for real money.
Skin Betting Lawsuits
Numerous sites that allowed these skin betting activities appeared. As this seemed like unlicensed wagering, Valve Corporation, the company behind these games, was served with a lawsuit.
The suit claimed that the company was complicit in creating, sustaining, and facilitating a market that allowed players to skin bet. The company made it clear that it has no affiliation with any betting site.
But as the industry continued growing, it created more opportunities for online gambling. That’s mainly due to the introduction of eSports tournaments.
eSports tournaments completely changed the “conventional betting on sports.” While we would previously bet on live matches, where players would do sports physically, now we’re watching players sit in front of their computers and play a video game.
Yet, eSports went mainstream for some reason, and the more it grew, the more money was poured into the tournament. The International 2017 for DOTA 2, believe it or not, had the world’s largest prize pool in an astounding $24,787,916 prize pool.
Effect of COVID on eSports
The COVID-19 crisis has left no industry untouched, including eSports. Organizers had to cancel or reschedule the World Championship, which was set for August, and the Pokemon Championship Series (June) because of social distancing measures.
Nevertheless, thanks to its nature and ability to go remote, this industry will survive. People who want to watch live play can still do so through streaming platforms like Twitch and Steam. Many major tournaments have gone online, and some have adapted to an online-only format.
The Future of eSports and Online Casino Gambling
It is clear that eSports have come a long way and have yet to grow. Expert analysis shows that this industry would reach $1.8 billion by the year 2022.
Legit online casinos are always on track with global trends. In addition to their gaming portfolio, they have allowed players to bet on eSports. Online betting has certainly evolved a lot, and as long as new things emerge, the industry will keep up.