Esports and betting have always shared an interesting relationship. Over recent years, the industry has shifted in nature – moving from a lucrative, yet horribly unregulated skin betting world towards a regulated world akin to that of traditional sports.
Traditional operators working in the space were previously few and far between, and esports bookmakers simply didn’t exist. Now this couldn’t be further from the truth, with large amounts of high street names offering odds on esports events large and small across the world.
As skin betting has reduced in volume, the betting handle with regulated esports bookmakers has risen significantly. One could attribute this to be a natural shift, as punters seek other opportunities to gamble on their favourite titles. Conversely, this could also be put down to the increased depth of markets available to bettors. Those looking to place a bet at an esports bookmaker can now follow a similar convention to that of traditional sports.
Taking football (soccer) as an example, those wishing to place a bet have the option to build accumulators (parlays) with a selection of teams and also bet on more granular parts of the game. Whether it’s an Over/Under bet on the number of corners, or a “First Goalscorer,” there are plenty of options.
Now this is also the case in the world of esports. Taking Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as an example – markets on player with most kills, map score bets, handicap bets are all available. Similarly, through the availability of live, instant data, the potential for unrivalled in-play products is definitely there, and several esports bookmakers are already exploring and exploiting the opportunity.
The future of esports betting looks rosy, too. Many teams already have a dedicated betting sponsor and this trend is only set to continue. As game publishers learn more about the regulated gambling industry, and regulation continues to shift in the United States, we may see a future where each and every team has an exclusive partner from the industry. Entertainment products such as the likes of Darts, Horse Racing, and Greyhounds are almost exclusively propped up by sponsorship money from bookmakers – and many would argue that as long as those operating in the iGaming sphere adhere to local regulation across the board, the sponsorship money can continue to help the esports industry grow and blossom.
Ultimately, the growth at the intersection of betting and esports is unsurprising. Gambling has long been a hobby enjoyed by many, and this is set to continue. Whether publishers attitudes change towards remains to be seen, but regulated esports bookmakers are definitely an improvement on a dark past, dogged by scams and unregulated skin betting sites targeting young children.
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