The global sports betting market has continued to grow at a rapid rate in recent years. Estimates vary, but according to a report from Grand View Research, the industry was worth approximately $67 billion in 2020. Furthermore, it will enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10% until at least 2028.
Electronic sports (esports) betting is one of the fastest growing sectors of the entire industry. Business Research Insights estimated the esports betting market size at approximately $9.75 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.7% until 2028, outstripping the impressive growth of the gaming industry as a whole.
What’s interesting is that industry professionals are confident that esports will also become a major part of crypto betting. This article looks into why esports crypto gambling will likely take off and theorizes what’s next for the industry. First, let’s briefly review what esports are and the types of betting markets available.
Esports are forms of video game competitions featuring players from all over the world. Gone are the days when the only way to play against someone else was to sit in front of the same console!
The first recognized video game competition took place at Stanford University in 1972. Although interest in esports grew over the next 30 years, it wasn’t until the 2000s that global tournaments became the norm.
Nowadays, professional video gamers compete against each other in major tournaments with huge prize money up for grabs. Indeed, it is possible to become a millionaire if you reach the pinnacle of the sport. The most popular video games played in esports competitions include:
Organized play is based around leagues with promotion and relegation. Players participate in tournaments as part of a team, and the winners earn lucrative prizes. The biggest esports tournaments include:
When we say big money is up for grabs, we mean it! The International 2021 tournament had a prize pool of over $40 million!
How can an esports league pay so much money? The lucrative nature of these tournaments boils down to their huge viewership. Statista found that there were over 435 million esports viewers in 2020, which could exceed 640 million in 2025. With so many spectators, it makes sense that online bookmakers offer a wide range of esports betting markets, which we now explore briefly.
Historically, betting on esports was illegal. However, restrictions have been lifted recently, and electronic sports gambling is now legal in certain American states. It is also permitted in major betting markets such as the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Spain, Australia, and South Korea.
Countless mainstream fiat-accepting bookmakers offer dozens of esports markets, as do top crypto betting sites such as Stake.com. Newcomers to esports betting are often stunned to find that the range of markets is similar to what they find in sports such as soccer, tennis, or basketball.
Depending on the esports league and the game being played, popular betting markets include:
· Match winner
· Match handicap
· Team to win maps 1, 2, or 3
· Total kills, towers, Roshans, barracks
· Match totals
Real money betting, using fiat or cryptocurrency, remains the #1 most popular form of esports gambling. However, here are a few other options:
As we revealed above, esports betting is extremely popular due to the number of betting markets and the wide range of games and tournaments to wager on. However, why are industry professionals so confident that esports crypto betting is the future?
There has been a significant increase in the number of crypto betting sites that have established themselves as trustworthy operators. Consequently, prospective esports gamblers have far more choices if they intend to use crypto.
Crypto betting sites that provide esports markets offer everything their fiat-accepting counterparts can and much more. One of the main benefits is anonymity. When you use Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin to bet on DOTA 2, for example, there’s no way for your bank to find out about your pastime. This is very useful when it’s time to apply for a loan!
Furthermore, crypto betting sites offer fast transactions, ultra-low fees, and higher deposit and withdrawal limits.
For successful gamblers, cryptocurrency betting sites offer a fresh start as they are likely running out of bookmaker accounts. Traditional bookies are notorious for restricting or banning profitable punters. While some crypto sites may do the same, most offer more leeway than their ‘conventional’ counterparts.
Already, the esports crypto betting industry is growing, but there is room for further esports betting growth. The recent changes to gaming laws in the United States are great news for those interested in Bitcoin esports betting.
Indeed, according to a Statista survey of esports executives worldwide, over 50% said that the increased adoption of regulated gambling in America represents a great opportunity for the esports betting market.
In addition, cryptocurrency is gaining mainstream acceptance. One example occurred during the 2022 Super Bowl when companies clamored to pay for advertising space. Coinbase was the biggest winner as its viral ad resulted in a 309% week-over-week increase after it was aired on Super Bowl Sunday. The installs figure then grew by almost 300% on the following day.
As it happens, three of the top 10 performers in terms of download growth were crypto apps; the others were FTX and eToro.
At one time, crypto was derided as a Ponzi scheme with no intrinsic value; now, its potential worth is becoming more apparent to a wider audience. As bettors can see the benefits of using digital currency instead of fiat, the sky’s the limit for the cryptocurrency esports betting industry.
Of course, it is unlikely to be a straightforward, linear rise. There are still some hurdles for operators to navigate to ensure bettors retain their interest in crypto esports betting. It is a niche that still only represents a fraction of the market. Therefore, bookmakers may experience a lack of volume on markets relative to sites such as Betfair.
However, as the industry grows, so too will the volume. Remember, there are well over 400 million esports spectators, a figure likely to exceed 600 million within a few years. If only a small fraction actively engages with crypto esports betting, the issue of volume will soon be a thing of the past.
Another problem providers and bettors face is finding data on esports teams. It is challenging to find information on the teams competing in lesser-known leagues. The lack of data on lower-tier tournaments and leagues is problematic for bookmakers when pricing games. It is also an issue for punters, particularly those looking to make money in play.
Betting sites are beginning to find a solution in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). It is only a matter of time before all serious providers follow suit. At that point, providing accurate pricing on esports games may become easier. As far as bettors are concerned, if there is a way to take advantage of mistakes in odds offered by crypto betting sites, now is the time to do it!
Unquestionably, cryptocurrency esports betting is one of the hottest trends in the gambling industry. As the number of spectators grows, so will the volume of available bets. Punters will have the luxury of gambling anonymously and have the chance to make money by enhancing their knowledge of electronic sports.
However, as it is a new industry, plenty of fraudulent companies are on the loose. Unfortunately, if you are the victim of a scam, there is virtually no chance of recovering your money. Therefore, you must stick with reputable providers such as Stake.
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