SBC News Betting on traditional sports and esports: challenges and benefits for bookmakers

Betting on traditional sports and esports: challenges and benefits for bookmakers

SBC News Betting on traditional sports and esports: challenges and benefits for bookmakers
Sergii Mishchenko, CEO of GGBET UK

Hot on the heels of a key pair of developments for the company, Sergii Mishchenko, CEO of GGBET UK, assesses the key similarities and differences between esports and sports, the key developments that we can expect to see through the current year, what exciting things are in store and much more.

SBC News: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. What would you say are the key features of sports and esports betting? And what are the advantages of each?

Sergii Mishchenko: The word ‘esports’ has the word ‘sports’ in it for a reason. They share similarities and differences, the most significant, I’d say, being the variety of games that bettors can place bets on. Traditional sports have existed for decades, centuries even. Their rules are strictly regulated by international federations and traditions.

It’s hard to imagine, for example, FIFA deciding to change the size of a football pitch by 2 meters tomorrow, and the entire world suddenly adopting these new rules. But this happens all the time in the world of esports.

A prime example of this took place in April last year, when Valve updated the game map in Dota 2, making it 40 per cent larger. This had a direct impact on fundamental game strategies, heroes development dynamics, and even their movement speed. Another game, CS:GO, was completely replaced with a new version, CS2.

This constant changeability has prompted one very important requirement for esports trading: specialists have to stay flexible, try new things, and be ready for yesterday’s methods of calculating odds to no longer be relevant.  

Another distinctive feature of sports betting is the availability of historical data. To put this into context, we can look at data to find out how teams in the English Premier League have performed over the last 20 years, so we could make a fairly good prediction of who will win in 2030.

There are also established rules concerning the length of a match, the winning conditions, and the number of points needed to win. This means that sports traders can focus instead on other variables, like the condition of certain players, the manager’s style, and so on. In esports, we need to take far more variables into account.

In Dota 2, it’s impossible to predict with any accuracy whether a match will last 20 minutes or 80, or which of the 120 characters a player will choose.

This makes things more complicated for the trader, requires a higher level of expertise from the bookmaker, and makes sure each tournament is dynamic, exciting, and emotional for everyone involved in the betting, be they bookmaker or bettor.

SBCN: What differences will users find between both types of betting?

SM: Esports are for those with a sophisticated palate. We have noticed that many experienced sports bettors are starting to show an interest in esports competitions and are enjoying them. Esports can offer the seasoned bettor a healthy dose of unpredictability.

Here, there’s no such thing as boring, and it’s impossible to be 100 per cent sure of what’s going to happen. And it’s not just a case of there being more variables and some occasional unexpected outcomes.

In esports, it’s not uncommon for a complete underdog to reach the final of a major. A recent example of this is GamerLegion, a team from Germany who took second place at the Paris Major 2023.  

Bettors are also drawn in by the non-standard markets offered by GG.BET for esports matches. Since last year, we have had markets for the individual performance of Counter-Strike players: how many kills they get, what weapon they pick up, and so on. That’s just not possible in traditional sports.

Well, not yet anyway. Our traders are already working on a way of expanding the ‘standard’ selection of sports markets and offering something special. We recently brought completely new markets to the platform which compare results of parallel matches.

For example, let’s say two games are being played at the same time, one in Italy and one in Canada. We invite bettors to draw comparisons between their separate variables and place a bet. This provides experienced players with a real challenge.

SBCN: What new things can we expect from the betting market in 2024? What are the anticipated changes in trading and bettor interests?

SM: In the world of betting today, the global trend towards customer focus can be traced easily. This is due to the fact that it’s getting harder to catch clients by surprise, especially on the sports betting market.

That’s why bookmakers have to work constantly to expand their sportsbooks, come up with original markets, and try to offer bets that are really interesting to place.  

Client focus in betting helps to create an effective funnel to draw in and retain clients. At the first stage, we offer users whatever other bettors in their region are interested in. It’s highly unlikely that people living in countries along the equator are going to be interested in bobsleigh, for example.

Then, we offer them bonuses which, again, are based on our data about preferences in their country. GG.BET’s current philosophy is all about customer focus on a regional level.  

After that, we observe how the user interacts with the platform: which sports does this particular person like? What kind of bets do they place most often?

To do this, algorithms have been installed on the GG.BET platform which will keep track of a user’s choices and, based on these, will put together a personalised event feed.

If AI were to be fully implemented, it would open up possibilities to provide even more targeted offers to each individual person on our platform. I think this will become the gold standard for the betting market in a few years.

SBCN: What exciting things does the sports and esports scene have for us in 2024? What events is the industry looking forward to most?

SM: The most hotly anticipated sports event next year is probably the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. GG.BET is already getting ready for the Games.

We want to offer all Olympic sports on a wide scale and put together an interesting selection of markets right down to specific events, so that every fan can swing by GG.BET and find something for them. We have traders with extensive sports expertise, so we’re planning to develop some really original markets for the Olympics.

In esports, we’re looking forward to some electrifying matches in the first-ever CS2 major, and we’re preparing the strongest possible sportsbook with a detailed selection of markets for each game day, and for the hottest matches, even for each stage of a match.

Right now, we’re working on player props – bets on your favourite players – which we launched in 2023. These went down well with our audience, so we’re continuing to work on that. 

Regarding forthcoming Valorant events, this is where the element of surprise that I talked about at the start comes in. Based on this last year, in 2023 there was a total of seven important tournaments, including a women’s Major. I expect this trend will continue, so we’re readying ourselves for a few more surprises in this discipline.

The main League of Legends tournament, the World Championship Finals, has also been announced and will take place in London again. I’m sure we’ll find a way to bring our users some exciting surprises to celebrate the tournament.

Overall, we really have our finger on the pulse of every event in the world of sports and esports, and we want each event to spark joy and excitement for everyone who plays with GG.BET.

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