The remarkable expansion of esports gambling globally — a trend that has accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic — has set a new floor for this rapidly growing segment of the overall sports betting industry, according to projections from FansUnite Entertainment Inc., a technology company providing leading online gaming solutions, and its subsidiary Askott Entertainment, which focuses on B2C and B2B esports betting products.
“What we have seen this year is the beginning of a new era in the esports gambling industry,” said Scott Burton, Chief Executive Officer of FansUnite. “Fueled in part by a shutdown of traditional sports worldwide, extended time at home because of the pandemic, and growth in legal betting opportunities in the U.S., esports gambling has gained significant new interest. The unusual circumstances of the spring and early summer created an opportunity for esports to reach a new audience that it might not otherwise reach. That new audience is not temporary, and their participation will have long-term effects on the industry’s growth potential over the next few years.”
Esports, a catch-all term for competitive video gaming, has fostered a booming new segment within the sports betting industry. From March through September, Euros wagered through FansUnite’s business-to-business platform Chameleon has increased 650% from the same seven-month period in 2019.
Even with major sports back on the schedule, the boom of esports betting is expected to continue, on pace to account for 10% of the legal online sports betting market, according to projections from consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar opportunity, and grows if you include the chance-based game segment alongside the more traditional esports match betting segment,” said Chris Grove, managing director of Sports and Emerging Verticals for Eilers & Krejcik and member of the board of directors for FansUnite.
Among the factors expected to fuel the expansion is an overwhelmingly positive reaction by that newly exposed audience. Esports enthusiasts have shown growing interest in betting on titles such as EA SPORTS FIFA and EA SPORTS Madden NFL.
However, the most dependable wager generators include in order:
- Counter Strike:Global Offensive
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
The increased betting opportunities created by the spread of legal sports betting across the U.S. bodes well for the future of the industry, too.
No state has explicitly legalized betting on all esports events to date. In the wake of pandemic shutdowns in March, Nevada regulators approved betting on the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League. New Jersey has also authorized legal betting on certain esports events, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Legend Series tournament in September. But esports betting is murky in other states, even where sports betting is legal. However, among legal sports betting states, only Indiana has expressly disallowed esports wagering.
“With states in search of new revenue possibilities, esports will inevitably become more alluring,” Burton said. “With demographics shifting and sports betting rapidly expanding across the U.S., states won’t be able to ignore the potential of esports wagering. Offshore books are already successfully offering esports to U.S. customers, showing the enormous potential. And as states begin to embrace it, the esports market will gain exponentially.”
For more information, visit FansUnite.com.