Are eSports disrupting sports betting?

More and more companies are trying to offer to bet for eSports games and competitions. This side of the eSports trade is quickly getting a lot of traction and media spotlight.

Competitive video games aren’t a new phenomenon. Since the early 80’s games have started garnering a lot of attention and competitions started popping up everywhere. While the games of that time were not targeted at multiple people so all the players had to battle amongst themselves only based on score, nowadays multiplayer has been doing the rounds for quite some time. Whether it is an FPS, RTS or a MOBA, gaming competitions now attract millions of viewers every year. And those numbers just keep increasing year after year.

The most important feature besides the multiplayer aspect is the socialization. The concept of being able to share the same interests with a huge crowd of people has created huge eSports communities which all revolve around particular video game franchises.

The main reason that gaming operators should take notice of this trend is that every facet of our digital lives is now connected. We see ads for games on Facebook every day and even our mobile devices are invaded with newer games all the time. For example League of Legends which is one of the most popular eSports franchises, has a community of around 67 million players which play the game monthly.

Despite all of these huge numbers, eSports could still disrupt sports betting quite a lot. People who enjoy eSports are used to socializing, competing and engaging in live chat. All of this while they are watching different live video streams of games. On the other side of the fence, we have current gambling models which are devoid of any such activity. When you are sports betting it’s just you and the operator. The same goes for slots or table games.

The eSports ecosystem already has gambling services which are developing quite nicely. Platforms like CS: Go Loung provide the ability to buy and sell digital items like skins for weapons and other things for the game Counter-Strike. These generate millions of dollars in betting trades each day. It also seems that Riot, the developers of League of Legends, is about to make around $1 billion in revenue from micro-transactions on digital goods with are related to the game.

This community has already embraced other alternative value exchange models like Bitcoin and other forms of digital currency. The online gambling industry, on the other hand, is still struggling to do so and they will probably start losing a lot due to this. A new age is dawning on us, an age in which people want instant gratification, social giving and a community at the heart of their digital experience. This means that traditional forms of gambling should rethink their business models in order to win over this new digital consumer.