Rapid Growth of Esports Betting

Esports, or competitive video gaming, has exploded in popularity over the last decade. As more people tune in to watch skilled gamers compete, a massive new opportunity has emerged – esports betting. Wagering on esports matches at Pamestoixima OPAP is one of the fastest-growing segments in the online gambling industry.

Spectator Sport is Born

Esports events have transitioned from small local gatherings to sold-out arenas and massive online audiences. The League of Legends World Championship finals drew over 100 million viewers. To put that in perspective, the Super Bowl averages around 100 million.

As viewership has grown, so have the tournaments and leagues. There are now hundreds of professional esports leagues around the world that offer tens of millions of dollars in prize money.

This growth has sparked increased interest from advertisers and broadcasters. Amazon, YouTube, and Twitch have invested heavily in streaming esports content. Even traditional sports networks like ESPN have started to broadcast gaming tournaments.

Betting Goes Mainstream

With a built-in audience of dedicated fans, it was only a matter of time before gambling companies took notice of esports.

Most regulated sportsbooks now offer esports betting in some capacity. New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and several other states allow real-money wagering on competitive gaming.

Unregulated offshore sites have offered esports betting for over a decade, but increased regulation is bringing more trust and transparency to the market. Well-known brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM now operate regulated esports betting.

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According to analytics firm Narus Advisors, over $12 billion was wagered on esports in 2020. That is expected to grow to over $20 billion by 2027.

While still a fraction of traditional sports betting, esports wagering is growing at a breakneck pace.

What Can You Bet On?

For newcomers, esports may appear chaotic or confusing. But the betting options are relatively straightforward.

Popular Esports Titles

The most common esports bets are made on popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) style games:

  • League of Legends – Teams destroy the opponents’ base in head-to-head 5v5 matches
  • Dota 2 – Complex strategy game with over 100 playable characters
  • Counter-Strike – Fast-paced first-person shooter pitting terrorists vs counter-terrorists
  • Overwatch – Team-based hero shooter with special abilities and roles
  • Rainbow Six – Tactical military-style shooter

These games make up the bulk of esports betting. Various tournaments, leagues, and matches can be wagered on throughout the year.

Bet Types

When it comes to available bet types, esports has more similarities than differences with traditional sports gambling:

  • Moneyline – Wager on which team will win a specific match
  • Spread – Bet whether a team will win by more or less than a set margin
  • Totals – Predict whether the combined score/points will go over or under a set line
  • Futures – Make long-term bets on league outcomes and more

Along with these basics, some books offer exotic prop bets on in-game occurrences like the number of kills or the first player to achieve 10 assists. These novelty bets make wagering more engaging for dedicated fans.

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Key Players Taking Notice

The sheer volume of spectators and potential profits have caught the attention of major players inside and outside of gambling.

Sports Teams Investing

Recognizing a growing new audience, sports franchises like the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Rams have invested in esports teams. This allows traditional sports teams to diversify their portfolio beyond the field or court. As esports betting grows, owning a team could prove quite profitable.

Vegas Making a Move

Esports still lacks infrastructure for large-scale LAN events where players compete in person. Land-based venues are being built to accommodate this need.

In 2018, the Luxor opened the 30,000-square-foot Esports Arena Las Vegas as the first permanent esports venue on The Strip. Other Vegas slots with bonus rounds are sure to follow as demand increases.

Game Studios Getting Involved

Major game publishers like Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Valve have taken notice. They continue developing titles specifically designed for competitive multiplayer matches and tournaments.

Offering support for the esports ecosystem makes good business sense. As viewership rises, so do game sales and in-app purchases from players hoping to emulate the professionals.

Future is Bright

Esports betting still faces challenges around match-fixing and unregulated markets. But the growth trajectory is undeniable as gaming moves further into the mainstream.

With increased regulation and billions pouring into the competitive video game scene, expect wagering to continue rising in tandem. Whether as a spectator or bettor, one thing is clear – esports is here to stay.

 

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