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eSports Impact on the Betting Industry

Sportsbook managers can no longer ignore the impact of eSports betting in the sports wagering market today. 

The sports betting industry consistently finds ways to match the ever-growing demands of its players and the latest addition to that puzzle is eSports. 

We’re aware that many of you might be familiar with the term “eSports” but perhaps many don’t really know what it is. 

Here’s my crash course in eSports and explore why you should be offering and promoting it within your client base.

What is the eSports industry?

eSports is an umbrella term for the playing of competitive video games, head-to-head, tournament style. 

Long gone are the days of LAN parties; they have been replaced by a legitimate force in the industry of competitive sports. 

The eSports industry went from zero to a billion-dollar and still growing fast. 

Websites such as Twitch allow gamers to live stream to followers, which has further expanded the reach of competitive gaming worldwide.  The industry which develops these games is very aware of this boom and free marketing and has begun creating games specifically to be played competitively. 

Players at the highest levels are rockstars and can earn upwards of a million dollars a year, plus sponsorship money, and streaming subscribers.

With a competitive industry making billions, it was only a matter of time before the gambling industry took notice.  Studies indicate that the gambling side of eSports could reach $30 billion before the end of 2020.  Those are figures which can’t be ignored, especially by those running independent sportsbooks. 

With the meteoric rise in the interest of eSports betting, the future for it is as bright as the sun.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the industry, let’s go over the main games which make up the eSports betting, so you can market this phenomenon to your players. 

League of Legends

League of Legends or LOL as it is commonly referred to is a multiplayer online battle arena video game that is played on PC and Mac computers.  The user plays a summoner that controls a champion, each of which has unique abilities that complement each other. 

Your champion joins a group of others who then battle against another team of Summoners and their champions.  The goals vary, but the main play mode requires teams to overtake and destroy the opposing team’s base. 

These bases are protected by powerful structures and require teamwork and skill to take down.  The game is popular for both it’s gameplay and also its setting, which mixes features of Lovecraft with steampunk and fantasy elements. 

League of Legends might be the most popular game on this list with a massive competitive scene in North America, Europe, and Asia.  There are leagues organized worldwide with the League Championship series and LOL European Championships the biggest in the market. 

Similar leagues exist in China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and various other regions throughout the world.  They all play to be crowned in the annual World Championships.  Last year the LOL World Championship was viewed by over 60 million people and had a prize pool of $4 million dollars.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

CS:GO is a first-person shooter which pits teams against one another in rounds of head to head combat. 

The teams are always the same, terrorists and counter-terrorists, and the goal is to either protect a bomb or defuse it.  Not the most PC of plot choices by today’s standards, but hey, it was the 90’s.  Available on all major platforms and with rounds taking less than a few minutes each, CS:GO is a very attractive experience for eSports gamers and fans alike. 

The CS:GO competitive scene is made up of countless tournaments hosted by the developers and third-party organizations.  These tournaments take place daily around the world.  Major tournaments previously had prize pools set at $250,000 but they have quickly risen to over $1,000,000 and beyond. 


DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game or MOBA.  The full name is Defense of the Ancients but the game is rarely if ever called that.  It is played by two teams of five players whose aim is to destroy the opposing players “ancient” or base center. Each player controls a hero player, each of which has different play styles, powers and abilities.  During each match, heroes collect experience and items which assist in making your player stronger.

DOTA 2 has a huge eSports scene with international players competing in various tournaments and leagues all year round.  The biggest of these leagues is known as the DOTA Pro Circuit, which is made up of a series of tournaments that award points needed to get invited to “The International”,  its champions tournament. 

Unique to “The International” is the prize money that is crowdfunded; this has seen pools as large as $30 million dollars.  Each year has surpassed the last with 2019’s pool over $34M.  This makes DOTA 2 the highest paid game for players. 

Tournaments that large routinely sell out, and not only arenas and stadiums; they are also broadcast live on television with viewer numbers in the tens of millions. 

The above mentioned are the main trio of games which you are likely to encounter when beginning with eSports, so do some further research if you really want to become an expert at bookmaking eSports. 

Heck, even get into playing them if you have the extra time. Who knows? Maybe you can retire from being a PPH agent early with your winnings from winning a major eSports tournament someday. 

Who Gambles on eSports?

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, how do we use this information to expand our PPH business?  Firstly, it’s important to understand that the average eSports bettor is from a very different demographic than the average sports bettor.  With eSports being one of the biggest growing industry trends,  a unique fan base comes along, which is probably new to sports betting.

First off, they are younger than the average sports bettor.  This makes sense as people who are considered “gamers” tend to be millennials and younger.  This is actually a fantastic advantage in that many of these “new bettors” have not yet made a commitment to a sportsbook and therefore are perfect targets for new clientele.

The other advantage is that it’s far less slanted to a male audience than you might think.  The ratio of females who watch, participate and bet on eSports is far higher than those who are fans of traditional sports.  This gives independent sportsbooks yet another relatively untapped market to target.  For example, 58% of tablet gamers in a recent study were women.  This requires bookies to adjust their marketing campaigns to appeal more toward both sexes. 

Another plus is that fans and bettors exist worldwide.  Unlike NFL football betting, for example, eSports bettors are globally plentiful.  With gamers and gamblers spread out in all corners of the world, independent bookies can really make a move toward clients abroad.  Thinking globally is something that wasn’t always possible for an independent outfit, but with the right marketing, it is far more viable than you might think. 

What Types of Bets can you make on eSports?

Much like traditional sports betting, the offering of eSport bet types varies a lot depending on which game you are looking to gamble on.  For example, if you are playing a sports simulator such as NBA 2K, betting can be on the outright winner, points totals or spreads, much like betting a real NBA game.  But when you mix in other types of games, things get interesting.

In CS:GO you can bet on how many team kills are totaled, or player kills.  Totals can be points or time based and with rounds starting every few minutes, the betting options are simply massive.  Learning all of these types of bets takes some time and investigating.  Our PayPerHead software has a ton of daily eSports events to explore and bet on, so be sure to check that out to see what events are going on today.

Some upcoming major events to familiarize yourself with are:

  • 2019 League of Legends World Championship October 3rd to November 10th
  • PUGB Global Championship begins November 8th
  • DreamHack Atlanta November 15th-17th
  • DreamHack Sevilla December 12th-15th

eSports betting as an industry already presents a significant opportunity for sportsbooks, both new and old.  That opportunity will only continue to rise so we strongly urge our agents to get started now and not sleep on eSports any longer. 

The emergence of the eSports betting industry makes the first time in a long time that a new sport has entered the fray so quickly.  Even better is that eSports brings with it a new generation of sports gamblers in a truly unprecedented way.  That generation was born and raised with the internet, they are easy to find and the market is growing by the day. 

The window to win over these new gamblers is open, but won’t always be.  Now is the perfect time to get into eSports, as this is just the beginning of a new world industry that will be worth tens of billions as early as 2025. 

If you haven’t already signed up as a PayPerHead agent then there really is no better time.  Be sure to check out our promo page to get a great deal on getting your sportsbook started. 

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