The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year saw all major sporting events grind to an abrupt halt. The esports world, though, was relatively unaffected save the cancellation of tournaments requiring participants to be in the same room at the same time.
Given that one does not have to venture outdoors to engage in competition facilitated by video games, esports continued to trudge on. Who would have thought that esports would become such a thriving industry back in the day? It’s now so big of a thing, parents are actually allowing kids to quit school in pursuit of a gaming career. Games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty, FIFA and NBA 2K are among the top titles fostering competition on a near worldwide scale.
If you were short of events to wager on during the strict lockdown periods enforced around the globe, esports would have left you with an avenue to get your punts in and things definitely haven’t slowed now that restrictions have been loosened. Traditional bookmakers such as bet365 are among the top betting sites offering some of the most competitive odds. And, if you have any doubt how grand of a scope competitive gaming presents, look no further than the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, which drew over 10 million viewers in. Compare that to the Wimbledon Men’s final that same year, just over 9 million viewers.
That esports commands a much younger viewership certainly lends it an advantage. The average age of the esports audience is 26, while the average age of tennis viewers hovers just above 60.
Betting is on the rise as a direct result of said discipline. With a number of top sportsbooks now offering bets on esports tournaments and events, betting revenues in the UK went up a startling 30-fold between March 2019 and March 2020. They multiplied a further two-fold by June this year.
The betting market is predicted to be worth as much as $15 billion by the end of this year, a significant rise compared to 2016 when it was worth just $6 billion.
As it stands, bet365 has multiple odds going on CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2 tourneys. You can also expect to find bets on Call of Duty and FIFA events sometime after the upcoming CoD title, Cold War, and EA’s FIFA 21 drop.
A word of caution, though. The increase in esports betting is partly down to some very crafty advertising that went up three-fold during the lockdown months. Such advertising leaves teens more susceptible to the practice of unsafe betting. There is a measure of diligence required for any type of betting; maturity also goes a long way.