Rise of eSports Betting

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The world of competitive video gaming, known as eSports, has absolutely exploded in popularity over the last decade. Given the massive global viewership that major eSports events now draw in, it was only a matter of time before the world of sports betting took notice.

As platforms, like Royal Casino, for wagering on traditional sports grew, it was a natural progression for them to add eSports as well. The result has been a parallel meteoric rise in eSports betting right alongside viewership. In fact, the eSports betting industry is now worth an estimated $13 billion and is projected to reach nearly $20 billion by 2027 according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.

This enormous growth is being fueled by demand from long-time gaming fans who want to engage with and heighten the experience of watching their favorite teams and tournaments. I’ve witnessed first-hand the rapid adoption of eSports betting among fans.

A key driving factor has been the proliferation of dedicated eSports betting sites and services. As experts in the space like myself observed interest growing, new platforms emerged to meet and encourage it.

Some Key eSports Betting Platforms

There are now numerous reputable and featured-packed sites catering directly to eSports betting. Among the top names are:

  • Unikrn: Founded in 2014 by a former Microsoft executive, it was an early mover in eSports betting and holds gaming licenses across Europe and Australia. Offers competitive odds on all major tournaments.
  • GG.bet: Features a wide variety of eSports betting options as well as live streaming of popular events. They frequently offer special promotions and prop bets based on in-game milestones.
  • Loot.bet: Built a strong brand around eSports betting featuring bonus offers and a loyalty program. It has expanded into virtual sports and casino games to increase its audience.
  • DOTA2 Lounge: Strictly focused on bets for DOTA 2, the popular multiplayer arena battles game by Valve. Features more props and specialty bets than any other platform.

I advise newcomers to compare several platforms to find one that aligns with their game and tournament interests. Most sites make it easy to get started with small deposit bonuses or risk-free first bets.

The Growth of eSports Viewership

eSports events have seen astronomic viewership increases over the last 5 years across all major streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. To illustrate:

YearViewers (in millions)

The 2021 League of Legends World Championship broke all viewership records with over 74 million peak concurrent viewers according to lolesports.com. For perspective, that outpaced the viewership of the 2021 NBA Finals by 10X.

These numbers demonstrate that audiences are clearly interested and invested. With fans highly engaged, they naturally want more ways to participate.

Types of eSports Bets

Just as with traditional sports, eSports leagues have expanded betting options beyond simply picking the outright event winner. Savvy fans now regularly place the following types of eSports bets:

  • Moneyline: Pick match winners, usually adjusting odds for favored teams
  • Handicap: Giving one team advantage points to even out match
  • Over/Under: Bet whether total score/kills exceeds set line
  • Prop Bets: Wager on outcomes within the match like first kill

These expanded choices cater towards seasoned viewers who want to test their in-depth knowledge. And with many tournaments featuring best-of matches across multiple games, there are inherent opportunities to adjust bets between games.

By offering robust betting choices, platforms encourage more engagement during events rather than just passive viewership. Fans have told me they feel more invested in matches they’ve wagered on.

Risks of Addiction

While the growth of eSports betting has mirrored the exploding popularity of online slots for real money, some risks bear monitoring. Young viewers comprise a significant portion of fans, especially compared to traditional professional sports leagues.

And according to a 2019 report in the Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, eSports viewers actually spend more on bets than traditional sports fans. Platforms and regulators will need to redouble responsible gambling efforts as the industry continues expanding.

As both an avid gamer myself and an industry expert, I’ll be following the continued evolution of eSports betting closely. With events like the 2024 Paris Olympics including medal events for gaming, there is no sign of slowing growth ahead. Ultimately platforms, leagues, and regulators must cooperate to promote responsible engagement by fans new and old alike.

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