BETER CEO Gal Ehrlich recently took part in a highly topical panel discussion at the SBC Summit Barcelona 2022 which was focused on investing in the future of esports. In his speech, he highlighted some of the challenges ahead for this promising gaming vertical.
His interesting input into the top-professionals’ dispute urged us to catch up with him to ask some additional questions.
During the panel you have expressed a clear message that esports has already experienced skyrocketing growth, yet still has even more potential. What will drive this?
It is quite an essential process – people who started watching and playing CS:GO, DOTA 2 and League of Legends as kids are growing up and now not only want to play the games, but also wish to bet on them as a form of entertainment. The audience is growing every year and global shakeups like the Pandemic have only accelerated this process.
At the same time, more and more bookmakers that are concerned with long-term, sustainable growth have turned their attention to esports. For some of our operator partners, esports already counts for 20% of their annual revenue but with the right resource allocation, we believe this figure will rise significantly going forward.
It’s also important to know that, as an industry, we should not be looking for product expansion through player conversion. It’s very unlikely that we’ll ever get a traditional football bettor to start laying wagers on League of Legends. Instead, we must focus on attracting a whole new audience.
What are your thoughts on audience engagement and the intersectional communities that different games appeal to?
Every game title in esports has its own community and nuances attached with it. Some games like CS:GO have been around for over two decades, fostering fans who have followed the game since being teenagers and are now mature adults. Understanding each game related community is key.
The top three are CS:GO, League of Legends and DOTA2. They account for 80% – 90% of all esports bets made, so understanding these audiences is crucial.
However, there are some new titles coming through, such as Valorant and PUBG, that are quickly gaining popularity and would be useful additions to an operator’s portfolio. Battle Royale style games in general are very popular now.
At BETER we believe that variety is important for the end customers, and we offer products for over 20 gaming titles, with more to be added soon. The majority of esports betting happens in live play, highlighting the need for accurate, non-delay data and pricing strategies to meet the demands of punters who are chasing the buzz of the live game.
The traditional betting markets that are usually offered pre-match, such as win/lose or over/under are no longer applicable in esports.
Operators should understand that with esports, there are so many more options Eg. Number of kills, next round winner, headshots or first to complete map.
As the esports market continues to grow, how can we work together as an industry to maintain industry standards and keep players protected?
Yes, that was also an important topic which was mentioned in the panel discussion.
The esports industry is growing with skyrocketing speed and the number of tournaments occurring is snowballing. Such an intensive growth means that the organisation of events is happening uncontrollably and with little regulation. This presents a number of integrity risks. All the responsible market participants, who value their reputation and sustainable growth must combine their efforts to ensure a safe environment.
I believe that official, non-delay data is the foundation that the future of esports will be built on. That is why we work hard to strengthen our partnership with Bayes Esports, the world’s leading supplier for official live data.
Our collaboration not only enables us to offer reliable odds, but it also significantly increases the uptime and helps to manage the integrity risks more efficiently.
We are also part of the Bayes Esports Partnership Program, a global network that is making strides towards establishing rules and solutions, by setting standards within the esports industry to ensure the long-term integrity of this sector. Within this network we contribute to the development of tools that can ensure the reliability of esports competitions and the legality of esports betting services – all working towards a sustainable future.
At the SBC Summit Barcelona, you mentioned some special features that BETER offers in regard to esports. Could you tell us more about them and what this means for future growth?
We have some great new products in our portfolio, that we hope will drive the growth of our partner’s customer base and help push the industry to the next level.
Online gambling operators are fully aware of the huge potential that esports betting has to offer, but very few have been able to provide compelling wagering experiences that meet, let alone surpass the expectations of their customers.
We at BETER are hoping to change that with the launch of our brand-new iFrame solution. It has reinvented the esports betting experience and provided the industry with an exciting new product that creates an engaging customer journey for players.
The innovative iFrame Interface allows operators to attract a wider audience of esports fans looking for their favourite matches via a winning combination of intuitive UI/UX, a wide selection of global esports tournaments and the most accurate odds and markets available.
We are also constantly working on enlarging our in-house stream of esports tournaments which are available 24/7/365. For instance, quite recently we have launched ehockey matches, which amounted to 1,200 events monthly. So in total, we now provide approximately 29,000 streams for football, ebasketball, ehockey and CS:GO events every month, in addition the coverage of 400+ global esports tournaments.