Betting on sports has been around for a very long time. Some of the earliest records date back to ancient Greece when spectators would place bet on which gladiator would win the fight. Since then, sports betting has evolved into a complex machine that let’s anyone bet on pretty much anything.
Over the past two decades, gambling companies and sportsbooks have added several new ways to gamble such as: live dealer casinos, live betting and virtual sports betting. One of the latest gambling trends that has become increasingly more popular in the past few years is eSports betting.
Of course, some may argue that eSports is not a real sports and should be classified as a competition. However, an increasing majority of people like John Skipper, the president of ESPN, consider it a sport. This is because to be a professional eSports athlete requires tremendous motor skills and tactical understanding.
And since it is a sport, people will bet on it!
A short History of eSports
For those who are not familiar with e-sports, it started as simple competitions between fans of video games that go as far back as the 1970s. Gamers would get together and hold private competitions for games like “Spacewar” in 1972 to the famous “Space Invaders Championship” held by Atari in 1980.
As technology improved in the field of video games and multi-players game technology, so did the need to prove who is the best gamer. This led to more tournaments for larger and larger cash prizes around the world.
Today, eSports is a huge industry that continues to grow in terms of revenue and attracting investors. In fact, Business Insider estimates that by 2019, eSports will bring $800million in advertising and sponsorship revenues.
Some of the most popular video games played at eSports tournaments are: League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Starcraft II.
eSports Betting Today
Today, you will not find gamers playing video games for its health benefits or for fun at an eSports tournament. eSports is no longer a sport for amateur. It is now a venue for professional gamers with real professional teams. A professional gamer can earn actual salaries ranging from $36,000 to $250,000 a year with top super star gamers earning millions of dollars per year.
As in all professional sports, there will always be some form of betting involved. eSports are not an exception. If you Google “eSports betting”, you will find several sportsbooks that now offer eSports betting options.
Bookies, betting shops and sportsbook are always looking to offer more events and competition for their players to bet on. If there is a demand for it, they will create odds and take your bets. Since the early 2000s, several sports betting shops have offered betting on eSports.
At first, it was more of a proposition bet for larger eSports events. As the popularity of eSports increased, gamers began to bet on eSports on a regular basis. This brought a new clientele for sportsbooks leading to many sportsbooks offering eSports betting on a regular basis. Today, you can bet on any eSports event in the world.
eSports betting has become so popular that players have been indicted for match fixing. One of the latest and more widespread match-fixing took place in 2015 leading to several indictments in Korea. This is when Lee “Life” Seung and Jung “Bbyon” Woo Yong were indicted for match-fixing along with 7 other professional gamers. Each player was punished with jail time ranging from 10-18 months, fines and banned for life from eSports.
Is there a Future of eSports Betting?
The sportsbooks certainly seem to think so. Just last year, William Hill US became the first land based casino in the U.S. to offer legal eSports betting in Nevada. Earlier this year, Pinnacle, which started offering eSports betting in 2010, re-launched their “eSports betting Hub” to offer more in-depth betting options.
Several other sportsbooks are following this trend and it doesn’t look like it is about to stop anytime soon. Even Sportsbook Pay Per Head companies are looking into adding eSports betting to their list of available sports.
So our opinion is that eSports betting is not just a trend, it is here to stay as part of the regular betting line up.