Could ESports be the Future of Online Sports Betting as we know it?

21 May 2018, by Shihaam Isaacs

Could ESports be the Future of Online Sports Betting as we know it?

Online sports betting has come a long way in a relatively short space of time and is one of the most dynamic gambling industries in the world today. The first online sportsbooks began to appear online in the late nineties, in an industry that was rapidly expanding across the web. Within less than two decades, online sports betting is accessed all across the globe by millions of punters, every hour of every day.

One of the most remarkable aspects of online sports betting is that there is always room for new markets and entirely new platforms. Electronic sports, more commonly referred to as ESports, is the perfect example of how an entirely new platform can not only integrate into an existing online sports betting platform but could potentially become the chief attraction to web-based sports betting.

Understanding ESports and how they work

For many veteran online sports bettors, ESports are an entirely new option which has yet to be explored. Most punters that spend time at various online sports betting sites such as Bet365, William Hill and others, tend to pick out their regular sports like football or basketball. They don’t spend a great deal of time browsing through the long list of alternatives, ESports being one of them.

There are a number of reasons for this. For one thing, most experienced sports fans are set in their ways. They follow the sports that they enjoy watching and wagering. No surprise there really. Another reason and perhaps a more prevalent one is the fact that many sports fans, particularly those of older generations, simply have no idea what ESports are.

ESports is a shortening of ‘electronic sports’, an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of electronic game-based competitive platforms. This includes the likes of FPS (first person shooter) games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and team-based games such as League of Legends (LoL), DOTA and others. ESports events are held in tournament style playoffs between individuals or teams from all over the world.

Is this the future of online sports betting?

Of course, there will never be a sport or an event that will be the big enough to supersede all others. The global online sports betting market is big enough to accommodate all sorts of interests and betting markets. However, out of all sports betting markets, none can show growth as fast as ESports.

Here’s something interesting to consider. According to Forbes.com, ESports sponsorships currently attract around 600 corporate sponsorships, totalling US$168.9 million. While the actual dollar figure may still pale in comparison when compared to major league sponsorships like the NBA’s 26 sponsorships totalling US$5.87Bn, or NFL’s 38 sponsors at a total of US$13.3Bn, the significant point to realise here, is the actual number of sponsors that ESports are currently attracting. It shows how much business views the future of ESports regarding popularity, physical event attendance, and online viewership.