eSports Betting: Why every operator should incorporate it into their portfolio

19 October 2020
A few years ago, very few knew what eSports was. It was something of a nice sector, largely ignored by the mainstream sports, and gambling stakeholders.
That is no longer the case.
eSports has all but transitioned to the mainstream.

eSports has all but transitioned to the mainstream. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Over the last five years, and particularly in the last 12 months, eSports has all but transitioned to the mainstream. Now, we see mentions of eSports everywhere we look — adverts, write-ups, industry sites and publications. For those operating in the online gambling sphere, now is the time to get up to speed on eSports and consider including it in your offerings.
The rise of eSports
Over 2.7 billion of the world’s population play some kind of computer game. Many play for fun, but a growing number are playing competitively in structured competitions and tournaments. These events see professional game players pitted against each other, battling it out for prizes that reach hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Popular games include League of Legends, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Fortnite, Call of Duty and Overwatch.
At the moment, around 557 million people tune in annually to watch eSports events — a figure that is expected to grow year on year. As we move into 2021, some are even forecasting that eSports could even surpass the popularity and market size of professional sports.
According to Newzoo, the global games market will exceed revenues of $180.1 billion by 2021 and eSports will be one of the main drivers of this.
In the U.S., big-name media conglomerates such as AT&T, Comcast and Disney are already in negotiations for rights to eSports tournaments and events, something that will onboard a whole new demographic of the viewer. It’s expected that on-demand across their platforms.
eSports betting
This stratospheric increase in popularity, accessibility, and value will, of course, have a knock-on effect on eSports betting.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, conventional sports tournaments across the world were cancelled and postponed. Stadiums fell silent and those who enjoyed betting on sporting events were left with nothing to wager on. This presented a big issue for online sports betting operators who were destined to face a sharp drop in revenue. They also risked a mass exodus of players from their sites that may have stayed and used the sites for other kinds of gambling.
Thankfully, eSports was able to plug the gap. As eSports tournaments can be played online and remotely, the global lockdown had little impact. Of course, there were disruptions, but overall it flourished. With limited other options, viewers tuned in to watch eSports matches and tournaments, and betting sites started listing odds on eSports events.
eSports provides yet another sport for people to wager on.

eSports provides yet another sport for people to wager on. (photo by Gunaxin)

The online betting industry was saved, or at least a significant amount of damage was mitigated. eSports garnered interest from a new demographic of players as millions became enthralled with this new sport and a new way to bet. Many saw it as a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” moment but the reality is that this lemonade will remain popular on an indefinite basis.
Not only does eSports provide another sport for people to wager on, but it brings with it a cult following of individuals from a relatively untapped market. These individuals are tech-savvy, younger, immersed in the game, and ready to pursue their passion in a variety of different ways. This provides rich pickings for innovative and responsive betting providers.
Now, even as conventional sports have started up again, betting operators have realized they need to factor in eSports betting to their platforms. Those that were once hesitant have redefined their opinion and others have simply embraced a new way to serve players and generate revenue.
Licensing and eSports betting
As an existing online gambling operator, it doesn’t usually require much to include eSports betting into your portfolio of products. Depending on the jurisdiction you choose, it may not require any paperwork, or it may require notifying the licensing authority and updating company information. Either way, providing eSports betting via your existing site is a no-brainer for those that want to capitalize on its popularity as well as meeting the demands of their client base.
For those that are looking to set up an eSports betting site or are venturing into the betting world for the first time and have chosen to pursue eSports, you will need to acquire a license. This means you can operate legally and in a compliant manner, open a bank account, get contracts with payment providers, and advertise. The licensing process can vary in cost, time, and complexity depending on the jurisdiction you choose but there is an option to suit every situation.
Fast Offshore typically recommends Curacao for startups and smaller businesses looking to start operations within a few months; Kahnakwake for startups, medium-sized businesses and those looking for a well-respected licensing authority, and Malta for established businesses and those who can afford the gold standard in gambling licenses. All of these jurisdictions are eSports friendly and are ready to support operators in providing eSports betting.
There has never been a better time to incorporate Sports into your business model or start an eSports betting business. Doing so now will give you the benefit of striking while the iron is hot and ensuring you have a solidified place in the market. With more and more companies getting involved each day, those that act now are at a distinct advantage.
For over 22 years, Fast Offshore has been working in corporate services, with a focus on licensed industries. We have comprehensive, hands-on experience in online gambling and have been working with eSports and eSports betting since it emerged. We are here to help. Let us guide you in making the right choices for your business venture, as well as taking care of all the setup, licensing, and other paperwork. Contact us today to find out more.

Ron Mendelson

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based business and financial consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over two decades of experience in corporate services, iGaming, international business, finance, licensing and legal matters, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.