Esports Insider (ESI) has published its latest ‘Gambling Report’, detailing critical insights, observations and opinions on the growing take-up of esports betting markets and related inventory by industry incumbents.
A two-part series authored by ESI correspondent Cody Luongo, the report is published at a time when all bookmakers are revising their player offerings countering global COVID-19 disruptions.
With traditional sports leagues grinding to a halt, esports can no longer be viewed as ‘peripheral market’ as bookmakers are forced to place competitive gaming at the forefront of their customer propositions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the world as we know it – the gambling industry entirely unspared. A lack of traditional sports betting markets and the closing of physical casino destinations has left operators desperate for a solution to bandage bleeding revenue streams” Luongo explains.
Despite bookmakers rushing to bolster their esports markets, ESI underlines that competitive gaming has not escaped pandemic circumstances, with live tournaments postponed or cancelled.
Nevertheless, esports ‘has served as an anomaly’ being the only professional sports capable of smoothly transferring its competitive capacity to an entirely digital environment.
Citing a market that is forecasted ‘to reach $17.2 billion (£13.9 billion) by the end of 2020’, ESI details the unique market make-up of esports wagering, sees dedicated new start-ups such as Luckbox take on an established old guard of traditional online bookmakers seeking to gain a foothold in a nascent market.
Beyond betting developments, ESI astutely observes that esports popularity is challenging all traditional dynamics of sports make-up, as leading TV broadcasters such as ESPN join the rush to secure esports content, adapting their media proposition for lucrative new audiences and sponsors.
Though growth metrics appear vibrant, ESI’s report underlines the rapid saturation taking effect across all core components of esports betting’s value chain, as big bets are placed on a new vertical.
Peeking under the bonnet, betting sees a £/$ multimillion technology battle taking place in which companies such as EveryMatrix and GRID compete to deliver the most comprehensive and reliable wagering platforms, software and data APIs.
Observing esports take-up, Malte Hegeler, Head of Product Development for OddsMatrix (EveryMatrix) states: “At EveryMatrix, esports now adds 65% turnover on top of the traditional offering, and it’s growing. For bookmakers, the adoption rate of FIFA and NBA 2k among traditional bettors is a blessing during this crisis. We actually see players betting more often as FIFA matches only take between 8-15 minutes while a football match lasts close to 2 hours.”
Operating in disrupted times, esports offers betting incumbents the vital opportunity to engage with new audiences and consumers. Nevertheless, these vibrant dynamics must acknowledge the unique integrity threats and intricate responsibility challenges posed by Esports Integrity Commission’s Ian Smith, whose organisation monitors the growth of the sector
ESI Managing Director Sam Cooke said: “Great work by Cody Luongo, undertaking a deep dive on esports betting’s current context and marketplace make-up. The report highlights the many variables at play, as esports moves in from betting’s peripheral markets”.
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