The Rise of eSports

by on April 26, 2022

The rise of eSports caused by the digital revolution is taking the world by storm. Things we couldn’t imagine doing online ten years back are possible now with just a click. For example, you’d go to your local mall if you wanted to shop. Also, you’d go to the bank if you needed to transfer money. However, all of these activities are possible today through your smartphone in just a few clicks, with countless venues like Casumo bookmaker offering ongoing bonuses for active members

eSports are a spawn of the digital world. As younger people are less likely to attend physical sports events, the popularity of online events like FIFA or Call of Duty is rising. Additionally, eSports have become more mainstream, and bookmakers now offer free bets on various events. There is real value in many of these events, causing bookmakers to offer attractive welcome offers and free bets on several teams and clans.

The Impact of Generation Z on the Rise of eSports

Those born between 1997 and 2012 (Generation Z) have had a significant impact on the rise of eSports. These generations live in a world more reliant on technology and have witnessed an increase in the number of kids playing online with their friends instead of in person.

For example, Generation Z males say online gaming is an integral part of their identity. It’s therefore only natural that they look up to online gamers as role models. These men regularly watch gaming videos, making it easy to see why they would make the ideal target audience for top-level esports.

Reports show that only half of Generation Z are sports fans, which is low compared to older generations. However, 35% identify themselves as eSports enthusiasts, which is more than any other age group. This suggests that the rise of eSports betting will continue through Generation Alpha and beyond.

Additionally, eSports have grown in popularity to the point that they sometimes surpass sports leagues like MLB, NHL, and NASCAR.

Real-World Implications

Florentino Perez, a football magnate, famously supported the creation of a European Super League (ESL) in April 2021. The goal was to preserve football’s relevance and counter the rise of eSports. It would have more spectacle and shorter match times through streaming agreements with Amazon and Facebook. 

Perez claimed that “young people don’t care anymore about football” because they have “other platforms to distract themselves.” He was likely referring to Twitch or YouTube, where Generation Z spends more time watching others play video games than any major sporting event.

Indeed, eSports tournaments don’t draw the same audience as the FIFA World Cup. But, the reason is that they are still young. G2 Esports founder said in a press release, “…everyone knows about football. Some people play it, some don’t. Some people watch it, some don’t. Everyone certainly knows that it exists. Esports will get there at some point.” 

eSports is catching up fast. Data from Statista shows that the worldwide eSports market had a value of approximately US$1.08 billion in 2021, almost 50%more than the previous year. eSports’ growth has nearly doubled overnight, opening the way for eSports betting.

Filling The Gap Created By Traditional Sports

However, it is not fair to attribute the rise of eSports betting solely to increasing eSports competitions. Esports betting has grown because of the better customer experience than traditional sports.

Data is the critical driver of eSports betting’s rise. eSports have a higher volume of low latency data, making them more suitable for betting. In turn, this data determines odds and outcomes. Since the competitions take place on computers, they can provide a superior customer betting experience to traditional sports. Game-related data supports instant distribution and goes through continuous updates every millisecond. 

Therefore, bookmakers can offer customers new and improved betting experiences without the limitations of traditional sports betting. They also have plenty of data available to play with. So, here are five opportunities and challenges that eSports betting offers for both bookmakers and bettors:

  • New data-driven customer experiences
  • Nuanced & engaging betting strategies
  • Highly-accurate real-time odds 
  • Advanced in-play betting (one of the most significant reasons behind the rise of eSports) 
  • Guaranteed data integrity

New Data-Driven Customer Experiences

There are countless options for data-driven customer betting, and visualizations such as informational widgets are the most evident. They allow gamblers to track the game down to the very last detail. Map schematics will enable you to see the movement of players in real-time on a virtual map. For example, live log widgets record the events, such as that player one killed player two at 10:12:15. 

Additionally, team scoreboards document characters’ statuses, such as their health, kill count, and inventory. However, prediction trackers are the essential visualizations responsible for the rise of eSports betting. They use machine-learning models in real-time to predict specific outcomes and compare teams at a glance.

Consequently, eSports betting has seen a rise in popularity. Some production companies, such as Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Blast, have offered a new way for fans to invest their money in eSports. Tokenized digital content is one example. Also, blockchain-based digital collectibles based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could not be more suited to the esports format. Bookmakers could also open up a new betting category if NFTs became part of the games as prize winners.

Nuanced & Engaging Betting Strategies

The more you know the sport, the better your chances of winning a bet when it comes to the rise of eSports. For instance, Formula One is a traditional, strategic sport. Fans may consider the weather and track layout when assessing the probability of a particular outcome. Gamblers have access to F1 car information, such as fuel consumption and tire wear. This sets F1 apart from traditional sports like basketball, where they can’t see how tired a player is. 

eSports is comparable to F1 because it offers gamblers valuable information such as player health, respawn rates and tactical deployment. A gambler can make their betting strategy more effective if they have more information.

If a League of Legends player kills a dragon, does that mean that the player is happy? In the same way that a goal within the first five minutes of an NFL match could indicate that a player is in good shape, bookmakers must find ways to contextualize in-game events within the larger game strategy. 

Non-expert gamblers face a narrow, educated audience, and the complexity of the eSports titles makes it difficult to win. Therefore, bookmakers need to break down different eSports titles to make them more accessible to a broader clientele. This step is crucial if they want to capitalize on the rise of eSports betting to maximize potential revenue.

Highly Accurate Real-Time Odds

The true power behind eSports comes from machines that generate a lot of data. This fact allows the benefit of machine learning, which has two advantages. First, it enables bookmakers to price pre-game odds more accurately if there are more tournaments. Built-in algorithms can update the in-play odds every millisecond that events occur. 

In CS:GO, for instance, calculating a game win probability could occur by combining current score, map difficulty, and equipment value with player skill. When it comes to the rise of eSports betting, this algorithm can account for numerous characteristics which are not trackable or quantifiable in traditional sports. Consequently, eSports bookmakers can build an accurate picture of the likely outcomes.

However, although machine learning is an essential driver for eSports betting’s rise, eSports are far more complex and can be almost impossible to model. To put it another way, creating these algorithms requires that you first identify which in-game events impact specific outcomes. 

League of Legends and Dota 2 are currently the only fully-modeled eSports titles. There is a real opportunity to win money for new titles if you have an in-depth knowledge of the game. Then, the gambling operators can strengthen your models. Bookmakers will need time to adjust, but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial difficulties.

Advanced In-Play Betting

When it comes to the rise of eSports, they allow gambling operators instant access to game-related data and data in real-time. eSports betting has seen an increase in popularity because it enables bookmakers to offer a wide range of in-play wagers. 

In-play betting in traditional sports can only be as complex as it is for bookmakers to track and report the outcomes manually. Due to the simplicity of conventional sports compared to eSports, it only makes sense to bet on certain occurrences within a traditional sports event, such as the winning team in football.

Guaranteed Data Integrity

Understanding the importance of the rise of eSports betting is crucial. Information is key to making money within the gambling industry, and bookmakers should know the outcome of in-play bets as soon as they happen. If the event is delayed and the market receives this information, it could lead to financial losses. Courtsiding is a technique where spectators can watch a sporting event live and then retrospectively place bets on the outcome before the bookmaker can process it.

Because of the manual nature and collection of data, it is challenging to eliminate this delay in traditional sports betting. The classic example is tennis. No matter how fast an umpire presses to update the score, it will take them a few seconds. 

But eSports betting has revolutionized an industry that relies on everyone having access to the same information as you. It allows for instantaneous information about outcomes. Gambling operators can instantly receive official rights-held data via automated data extraction technology and directly from the source. Therefore, the rise of eSports has not only already revolutionized the betting industry but will continue to do so in the future.