For those within the scene, you’ll know about Counter Strikes storied, and somewhat spotty betting scene as it has evolved and changed – long gone are the times of skin betting through third party sites that could feel a little sketchy at the best of times – but could other names in esports catch up?
It isn’t entirely surprising that Counter-Strike is leading the way here either, there have been a number of tournaments sponsored by betting companies and the logos can be seen all over banners and promotional material – it’s understandable for this game too, as it largely captures a bit of an older audience. Many of the players have been involved since the early days of beta, 1.5 and 1.6 back in the nineties but the same is yet to be replicated in other esports. This could be due to a number of reasons, the first being that it just isn’t so openly advertised in others – whilst there are events and games that are heavily bet across the other big two in League of Legends and DoTA2, there have yet to be any big public sponsors from betting within them. Another factor to consider is just that the audience isn’t big enough to justify a market developing there, the three games mentioned make up about 95% of the entire esports betting industry and until a time where another game may capture some of that these figures will likely remain the same.
Betting in a large part has also been attributed to the growth for many esports too as it begins to attract a growing audience – for some time it had been a bit of a difficulty sport for new viewers to become interested in, it is quite nuanced and niched afterall, but bigger names recently have become involved through major sporting organisations and a bit of a growing understanding has taken place that has allowed a wider audience to become involved, not to mention recent events with the coronavirus also being a big part as more traditional sports have been either cancelled or postponed.
There are challenges to overcome too, however, as recent regulation changes add some difficulties to the growing sector – within the UK, the launch of the initiative known as Gamstop had recently become mandatory for all operators, the self inclusion scheme provides a space for players to register if they’d like to reduce participation options for betting and gambling sites – fortunately a number of operators are choosing to register outside of the UK, and as shown in TBC’s review of Agent Spins many of these sites are becoming more and more popular as users seek alternatives.
Esports can certainly be seen as the future in sporting events, already capturing huge numbers for viewership and attention for a relatively young sport – betting may be a big part of this growth as it provides a familiarity for players who may never have experienced esports before, helping to bridge the gap between traditional sporting events and the new guard.