The Esports industry has been growing larger with each passing year for a good portion of the last decade. The rise in its popularity and sizable investments that pushed the scene to a new level also helped Esports solidify its place in the world of betting, quickly turning into one of the most lucrative sectors in the industry. Online betting and online gaming just continue to blow up.
Even though the Esports industry has been developing rapidly ever since turning mainstream in 2015-2016, it was not until 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic when Esports started reaching new heights as one of the only forms of entertainment that kept going despite the pandemic.
This, however, begs the questions: can Esports continue growing at the same pace into 2021, will the competitive video game scene carry on competing with sports in the world of sports betting, and most importantly, what can we expect from Esports in the sports betting industry in the future?
Effect Of COVID-19 On The Sports Betting Industry
Despite the cancellation of numerous major sporting events and other negative effects the pandemic had on almost all elements of our lives, the sports betting industry continued to grow. Some sportsbooks even saw an increase in the number of bettors and gamblers, who either passed their time in quarantine playing fantasy sports, trying to make a buck in live casinos, or watching and betting on Esports.
The sports betting industry’s surprisingly strong resilience to the pandemic has attracted numerous investors, which resulted in the rise of many more online betting websites. This trend is expected to continue into 2021, especially with the increased demand for fantasy sports, live casinos, and Esports betting markets.
Esports Betting Is Projected To Grow In 2021 And Beyond
Aside from live casinos and fantasy sports, which gained in popularity during the pandemic, it was the Esports scene and the Esports betting market that has experienced tremendous growth. The overall Esports betting market size is expected to double in its size compared to 2019 and reach $14 billion by the end of 2020. The gross gaming revenue (GGR) – tracking at $343 million for 2020 – is projected to surpass $862 million by 2024.
If the projections prove correct and the Esports industry reaches the $862 million figure, it would equate to Esports holding a 3.2% share of global sports betting GGR. This would be a 100% increase from 2019 when it had a 1.6% share with $247 million GGR and a 52.4% increase from 2020 with an estimated 2.1% share.
The Esports betting volume, however, is not showing the same numbers across the globe. In the United States, only 11.8% of the sector’s GGR was created, which is significantly lower than in Europe (40.7%), albeit even in the U.S., the numbers are projected to increase. That is largely thanks to the Esports industry hosting many high-profile Esports tournaments in the States, including the 2021 Call of Duty League, the Overwatch League, the 2022 League of Legends World Championship, a possible return of Dota 2’s The International on American soil.
Younger Demographic As The Main Driving Force Behind The Rise Of Esports Betting
Since Esports is essentially a competitive video game scene, it makes sense it attracts younger viewers who grew up playing video games rather than the older generations, who still view Esports as a taboo. This is also one of the main reasons why betting on Esports is expected to grow exponentially in the next five years.
Most of the Esports viewers are still underage or don’t have the disposable income to start exploring the world of online betting. That, however, is bound to change as time goes on, which should, in turn further expedite the growth of Esports betting and its viewership.
That is not to say Esports will surpass the sports betting industry anytime soon, if ever. However, with the changing demographic and advancements in technology – which made viewing and betting on Esports far more accessible – the Esports share in the gambling industry should see steady growth for years to come.
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