The Rapid Growth of Competitive Gaming Wagers: An Overview

Competitive video gaming, or eSports, has seen massive growth over the past decade, both in viewership and participation. Along with this expansion into the mainstream has come increased interest in wagering on eSports events and matches. While still a nascent industry, multiple projections point to eSports betting becoming a multi-billion dollar market in the next few years. This article will provide an overview of the rise of eSports and betting, discuss growth projections and market size, detail what types of bets can be made, outline integrity concerns, and analyze the future landscape.

Background on eSports Viewership and Betting

eSports refers to organized, competitive video gaming events and leagues. Tournaments at Toto Casino feature popular multiplayer titles like League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and more. Events emerged in the 1990s and viewership has boomed thanks to live streaming and promotions. There are now hundreds of professional teams and thousands of professional players. Tournament prize pools can reach into the tens of millions. Along with viewers betting skins in games, external real money wagering has grown. Early unregulated markets led some countries to introduce licensing systems. The expansion shows little sign of slowing even after factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.


Projected Growth in eSports Betting Revenue

Multiple analysts have made predictions about the future size of the global eSports betting market:

  • Newzoo projects the market will be worth $20.7 billion by 2024.
  • Research and Markets predicts a CAGR of nearly 20% from 2021-2028, resulting in a $75 billion market by 2028.
  • Goldman Sachs estimated a market cap of $15 billion by 2022 back in 2017.

These projections indicate robust growth thanks to increased viewership, tournament volume, creator partnerships, and broadcasting deals. Younger generations especially are driving engagement. The market appears poised for many new bettors and bets in the years ahead.

Types of eSports Bets Available

There are multiple ways viewers can wager on competitive gaming events:

  • Match Winner: Betting on which competitor or team will win a specific match. This is the most basic and popular eSport bet type.
  • Handicaps: Setting odds that favor one side to make contests closer and more interesting. Useful when one competitor or team is a heavy favorite.
  • Totals: Betting whether the total of something, such as rounds won, kills, or points, goes over or under a set line.
  • Outrights: Predicting the overall winner of a tournament or entire league season rather than individual matches.

These traditional styles mirror bets for physical sports. In-play betting on shifting odds during a live match has also grown in popularity thanks to streaming. Granular bets on in-game events are an emerging area as well.


Integrity Concerns Around eSports Betting

With many viewers quite young and a fully digital environment, eSports have faced accusations of match-fixing and other integrity issues. Safeguarding betting integrity continues to be a priority. Organizers have banned players, created sanction lists, required two-factor authentication, and more. Monitoring betting patterns and investigating irregular activity can also identify manipulation attempts. With so much revenue on the line, protecting against cheating remains vital as betting expands.

The Future Landscape of eSports Betting

Given the incredible growth, eSports betting seems likely to become a dominant trend in the broader sports wagering industry. Streamers and leagues will likely continue seeking partnerships and sponsorship deals with gambling brands. Better data and advanced analytics will spur more prop bets. Given varying laws and limitations around online betting, customers may use VPNs to access sites. Expansion into nascent markets across Latin America, Africa, and Asia also stands to grow total volume substantially. Just as video games have permeated mainstream culture, eSports betting seems primed to benefit from that passionate audience.

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