The creation of the European Super League (ESL) was meant to keep football relevant in the age of online competitions, online casino games with a Grande Vegas no deposit bonus code and other video games. The League intended to work through Amazon and Facebook to stream tournaments and create greater spectacles and shorter match times. Football great Florentino Perez supported the move, saying “Young people are no longer interested in football, they have other platforms on which to distract themselves.”
Perez was pointing out that today, Gen Zs are spending more time on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook Gaming and other streaming platforms where their sports entertainment consists of watching other people play video games. Carlos Rodriguez, CEO and founder of G2 Esports, told the BBC, “Everybody knows about football. Some play it. Some don't. Some watch it. Some don't. But definitely, everybody knows it exists. We'll get to that point with esports at some point in time."
No one is denying that esports is growing quickly. Statistica now values the global sports market at over USD $200 billion. It seems like overnight, esports has doubled and that’s making bookmakers sit up and take notice. But analysts note that the rise of esports betting isn’t only a result of the industry’s expansion but reflects the fact that customers enjoy a superior experience when betting on esports as opposed to betting on traditional sporting events.
That difference can be summed up in one word -- data. eSports easily produces a high volume of low-latency data which lends the sector to a type of betting which relies on data to determine outcomes and inform odds. That’s exactly the kind of service in which esports excels.
eSports is seen as a run-off machine in which game data is distributed instantly and is updated in seconds. There’s no need to collect data manually which is how traditional sports betting operates. There’s a huge amount of accurate and updated data available that allows bookmakers to provide customers with new and enhanced betting experiences.
Some opportunities that the rise of esports betting presents for bettors and bookmakers include:
In any type of sports betting, information is the key. Delays between an event that occurs and the betting market receiving the information affects the betting market. For instance, if bettors receive information before the bookmaker, the bookmaker could see serious losses. Or if courtside spectators might see an event occuring in real time and then, if there’s live betting available in the stadium, bet on it. If the bookmaker hasn’t had a chance to process that event, the system is cheated.
By eliminating the delay, both sportsbooks and bettors enjoy a better betting experience. In traditional sports events, it’s not possible to entirely eliminate this delay because much of the data collection occurs manually. But with esports, everything takes place digitally which means that the betting market is updated in milliseconds.
Esports betting is a game changer in an industry where the business model relies on no one having access to information before the sportsbook. It uses automated data extraction and distribution technology to ensure that gambling operators receive instant official rights-held data.
Thanks to esports producing vast amounts of data they benefit from machine learning. That means that built-in algorithms update in-play odds as events unfold by the millisecond. Secondly, bookmakers are able to price pre-game odds increasingly accurately as more and more tournaments take place.
Games’ odds can be calculated by combining the current score, equipment value, money carried, map difficulty and player skill. In traditional sports many characteristics that such an algorithm could take into account, such as player health, aren’t quantifiable or even trackable. But by building such a picture, esports bookmakers can construct an accurate picture of likely outcomes.
Machine learning is driving the rise of esports betting but traditional sport are much trickier to model. Creating such algorithms involves the ability to calculate which in-game events may impact certain outcomes. eSports hasn’t been around for so long so currently, CS:Go, Dota 2 and League of Legends are currently the only fully-modelled titles.
As newer titles emerge, gambling operators will be strengthening the models but in the meantime, gamblers with an in-depth understanding of the games can win some serious money.
The digital nature of esports gives gamblers to not only receive data in real time but make access to all game-related data instant. This is one of the elements that has contributed to the rise of esports betting because sportsbook now have the ability to more easily offer a wide range of in-play bets.
In traditional sports, it’s difficult for sportsbooks to track and report outcomes through manual means. That means that in-play betting can’t reach its potential in complexity. But that’s not true in esports betting where there is a wider range of events on which to bet.
In any sporting event, the better you understand the game, the higher your chances are of placing a successful bet. If you understand how the weather, injuries, home-team advantage and other elements can affect the outcome of the game, you can place a more accurate bet.
In esports, before the event even begins, the bettor generally has a lot of pre-play information that can help inform the bet including player health, tactical deployment, respawn rate, etc. With more data, a bettor can develop a more tactical betting strategy.
Sportsbooks are finding that with esports, they can better contextualize in-game events as part of the broader game strategy. If a player slays the dragon early in a League of Legends game, can the bettor then assume that the player is having a good day in the same way as if a basketball player scores 5 baskets in the first 5 minutes of a basketball game?
Novice esports gamblers might find it difficult to understand these subtleties in the same way that an expert can but if the sportsbooks can break down different esports titles and present them in a way that makes them more accessible to novice gamblers, it will promote the continued expansion of exports betting and allow operator to maximize potential revenue.
Visualizations, including informational widgets that help viewers track even the smallest details of the game, open up the possibilities for new data-driven customer experiences for esports bettors. Live-log widgets can record events as they occur, team scoreboards can follow characters’ status (kill count, inventory, health), map schematics can show player movement on a virtual map….these and other features track occurrences that allow bettors to predict outcomes in real time while comparison graphs provide comparisons a glance.
Blockchain-based digital collectibles, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other such features give fans a new way to place wagers in esports. An even more exciting betting category could soon include NFTs that are introduced into games as prize winnings.
Many sportsbook operators are already offering esports betting but the future possibilities are endless. In a short amount of time it’s clear that esports will be as ubiquitous an offering on the leaderboard as basketball, football, baseball and other traditional sports.