With each passing year, the esports ecosystem continues to mature and professionalise — none more so than the esports betting sector. Whether it has been investment, expansions, integrations or product developments, 2022 has seen the esports betting industry flourish.
Whilst it’s not all been ideal, with some companies feeling the force of a global economic downturn, esports betting is an industry staple. As a sector in constant flux, it can be hard to keep up with. To clue you in on the state of play, here’s a rundown of some of the biggest esports betting topics of 2022.
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Nevada and West Virginia make huge esports betting strides
Similarly to 2021, the US underwent major developments with regards to the esports betting space. Most notably, Nevada and West Virginia continued to make steps through major regulatory updates.
Firstly, the Nevada Esports Technical Advisory Committee handed its recommendations to the Nevada Gaming Control Board in order to potentially permit esports betting by 2023. Whilst a decision has yet to be made, signs are certainly positive the move will go ahead. The story highlights how important esports betting is to the overall iGaming licence landscape in the US.
In more concrete news, West Virginia lawmakers passed House Bill 4826 in March, a huge victory for the esports betting industry. The bill is an amendment to the state’s legal sports betting industry which allows operators to accept wagers on esports events.
Rivalry’s profitable month
Amidst trying financial times, both for those within the esports industry and the wider global economy, it was rather comforting to see Rivalry announce that for the first time ever it recorded a profitable month in October.
Alongside the profitable month, Rivalry also reported increased revenue and betting handle in Q3 2022, continuing to highlight the bookmaker’s development this year. The esports gambling company also capped off the year in style, announcing a joint-collaboration with mobile esports powerhouse Blacklist International to launch a Dota 2 team.
Twitch’s stance on gambling content tightens
Twitch’s updated stance on live streamed gambling content is a defining moment, for all the right reasons. The platform’s decision to prevent streams of gambling sites that have slots, roulette or dice games that aren’t licenced in the US or other notable jurisdictions should provide more legitimacy and prevent bad players from entering the game.
One platform named on the banned list was Roobet, which had previously hit the esports headlines through its quickly-terminated partnership with Astralis.
GG.Bet takes centre stage
In a world where advertising is so difficult to execute within esports, largely due to its tech-savvy audience, GG.bet is perhaps the MVP when it comes to partnerships in 2022.
Headlined by the bookmaker sponsoring The International 2022, Dota 2’s biggest tournament of the year, the bookmaker also teamed up with esports host James Banks, Dota 2 guides author Torte de Lini, commentator Andrew Jenkins and even Team Vitality. As esports audiences evolve, so do sponsorship activations. As such, these deals didn’t just include brand endorsements — they also featured tailored activations.
This also wasn’t the first time that GG.bet teamed up with tournament organiser PGL in 2022. The bookmaker was named the exclusive betting partner of the CS:GO Major in Antwerp. All in all, a pretty good year for the bookmaker when it comes to bolstering its brand.
Midnite’s $16m funding round
Midnite’s $16m (~£11.78m) funding round in February still remains one of the top investment stories this year within esports betting.
The round, which was led by DraftKing investors The Raine Group, was expected to be spent on the company’s growth initiatives. From a sponsorship standpoint, the company actually only partnered with one new organisation, albeit being a major name in Brazilian team LOUD in August. Largely, the company has remained relatively silent in 2022 — perhaps a hint that there’s more to come in 2023?
EEG shuts down VIE.gg
In less optimistic news, Esports Entertainment Group’s shut down of VIE.gg in October revealed that the unpredictability of esports can even reach the betting sector. Not all was bad for the bookmaker.; EEG acquired a New Jersey betting licence earlier the year.
Nevertheless, the site’s failure to reach targets as well as EEG going through documented financial hurdles put an end to the site.
Casinos take a gamble on esports content
This year it wasn’t just bookmakers that took a deeper interest in the esports world. A range of casinos also looked to tap into the golden market.
One interesting activation came from US-based casino Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City, when it launched ‘eSports After Dark’ in June. The weekly activation took place at its sports bar and saw guests compete in casual esports tournaments across titles such as Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Tetris. The idea was to appeal to younger audiences by providing entertainment offerings that would bring in younger customers.
Another notable casino move, albeit by an online platform, saw crypto casino BC.GAME team up with North American esports organisation Cloud9. The multi-year deal includes logo placement as well as a range of collaborative content.
Luckbox’s mysterious iGaming purchase
The final story to highlight will perhaps become more clear in 2023. Luckbox announced in its latest financial reports that it is set to acquire an unnamed iGaming platform. It signals that bookmakers are willing to continue expanding, despite concerns regarding the economic state of esports, and the world, going into 2023.