The start of 2020 has been a particularly difficult period of time for regular sporting events, with plenty of postponements and cancellations many different leagues and teams around the world have taken a huge hit – but with games now returning it seems some are starting to find their feet once again and the markets that have relied on them in the betting sector can start to find some recovery too – but there has been one niche that kept things going, whilst everything else around was being cancelled, online esports were able to continue unhindered and a further push for esports betting as a whole occurred.
It’s easy to forget just how young esports betting is – it has only really been in the last few years that it has become a widespread feature for many operators and since many players have started using it – there hadn’t been much interest in the late 2000’s as the scene was developing until 2014 when Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developed its own betting market using cosmetic items in game as the currency, but once many found out how profitable it could become a change quickly occurred and esports betting as a whole had grown massively by the end of 2016. With bigger names in betting sponsoring events and teams, it did not take long for many fans to take notice and start using the sites, but the change really took over when it reached a more casual audience.
To bridge the gap between fans of more traditional sports and the growth of esports, there needed to be some familiarity – viewers who may have never played the games before may remain confuse at what they’re watching, and those without the ability to play may become frustrated because it may not be something they can learn first-hand, but with the introduction of esports betting the familiarity of having a feature they’re comfortable with, and used to, has helped propel esports betting even further – the viewership shows just how much esports has grown in this regard too as the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, perhaps the biggest esports event of the year, was able to hold 44 million concurrent viewers in the final days with over 100 million tuning in over the course of the event – numbers that rival even the biggest traditional events such as the Super Bowl.
There’ still a long way to go however, with the market being so young there are plenty of teething issues to be seen – the latest has been within match-fixing and match-throwing as younger, perhaps less compensated players, are looking for ways to earn a bigger investment for their time. Once regulation starts to be put in place and more safeguards are added to ensure more safety and fair play at Esports Betting, it will no doubt continue to see the huge growth it has, but to go from nearly non-existent to the biggest betting market in the world in just a few years is no small feat, and will continue to grow much in the way it has – a very exciting time for esports fans and casual viewers alike.