E-sports betting market expected to reach 18 billion dollars in 2026
E-sports is the hot topic of the moment. A few years ago, e-sports showed a lot of potential for growth and this was further driven by the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. Now, even with life “returning to normal”, this sector will not only remain strong, but tend to continue growing too high. In fact, it is now predicted to reach a few billion dollars in a few years.
In 2019, several studies showed that the e-sports betting industry was worth just over $1 billion. At that time, the expectation was that in just over three years this amount would double. However, they were very wrong in the projection and the pandemic was not the only reason for this.
More in-depth studies point to a market value of approximately 7 billion dollars as early as 2019. One possible reason for this discrepancy is the lack of attention that this market received until recently.
The e-sports market has been growing for years, with more people watching the various championships of the different titles of the moment and even playing, but this was not reflected in the sports betting business, where most of the revenue generated is still it came from traditional sports, mainly football, baseball and American football.
But then came the pandemic, in early 2020, and the landscape changed. For traditional sports all over the globe, the pandemic was something to forget and brought a downward spiral that resulted in tons of financial losses all over.
For emphasis to the above, FC Barcelona revealed they lost more than £150m to the effects of the pandemic. While it was negative reviews for traditional sports, it was quite the opposite for the e-sports sector.
At that time, the sports betting market was quite heated on national and global proportions. As almost all competitions stopped or were cancelled, the bettors found themselves with no option.
This allowed for e-sports to gain more patronage among a wider global community while also seeing many big investors play big in the sector.
In bookmakers’ event listings, for a long time there were e-sports event markets to bet on. For those who are unfamiliar, electronic sports competitions are mostly played in person (known as “on LAN”), however, you can play at a distance, over the internet (as used by all casual gamers at home ).
As this was the only option, bettors went deeper into the subject and made the market explode.
Now e-sports has grown into pop culture as well and more people are now familiar with what it is all about in the betting aspect as well. Integration into Hollywood events, real-life sports and many other facets of real life has further helped the course.
For instance, Fortnite has grown to be more than just a game globally, with many football clubs and celebrities keying into this as well. Players like Mesut Ozil, Harry Kane and a musician in Drake have in one way or the other been linked to the game which has also helped in bringing more popularity to it.
According to Insider intelligence estimates, there will be a total of 26.6 monthly viewers of e-sports in the United States in 2021. That tally makes for a significant 11.4% increase from 2020. This same estimation hints at 31.4 million monthly users by the year 2023. Just as in previous years, this estimation could come as ‘modest’ once again as there is a good chance these figures could well be under-estimated as it stands.
As it stands, many factors point to the fact that the e-sports sector could be set for a positive trajectory over in the years to come. All of the predicted data so far seem to back the aforementioned statement.
Growth of the E-sports sector will remain and get even better
It’s been a while since life returned to normal in many countries and in a short time this should happen across the planet. Even so, the trend is that the growth of the e-sports betting market will continue.
Different studies have a coincidence number: 13%, which corresponds to the estimate of the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). In short, it is one of the main indicators that show whether or not a market is worth investing in (and, in this case, too much).
If the forecast comes true, with a CAGR of around 13% between 2021 and 2026, in five years the e-sports betting market should be worth no less than 18.5 billion dollars. Still in the wake of these numbers, analysts predict that in 2027, the value will reach 21 billion dollars.
Even in the moment of “crisis” for sports betting, during 2020, those focused on e-sports surfed well. According to the UK Gambling Commission, one of Organs most important agencies in the sector in the world, the e-sports betting market grew 2.992% from 2019 to 2020.
E-sports has grown to be more than just a ‘hobby’
Before the pandemic, it was estimated that there were 170 million e-sports fans, people who closely follow one or another professional scene and who consume the things that market offers. In a year, until the end of 2020, studies point to an increase in this number, which reached the mark of 250 million people.
Games like Fortnite, Counterstrike, Dota2, Overwatch, League of Legends and Global Offensive are now the most foremost games in the e-sports industry. Every bookmaker now seems to have almost all of these games in their sportsbook.
In actual fact, e-sports has become more than just a recreational hobby but has even grown to become a profession for some. At the moments, lots of competitions are now being held which sees e-sports players from across the globe compete over a period of time for grand cash prizes.
Take for instance Johan Sundstein, commonly known as ‘Notain’ who is the most popular e-sports player in the world. He grew his prominence from becoming an expert in the popular Dota2 game s. He started playing this since he was only 15. As at the latest rankings in 2021, Notain has earned about $7 million from e-sports alone and is currently the most popular player globally.
As earlier mentioned, big brands are now happy to throw their cash in this and it has resulted to millions of viewers paying close attentions to live streams and watch diligently as they would watch a normal game of basketball, football or NFL.
Just recently, Entain acquired popular esports betting company, Unikrn for about £50m in what was an example of how valuable e-sports companies have now become in the modern day.
This means more audiences at championships, more audiences in the arenas watching competitions, more people buying team products and more players investing their bankrolls in e-sports events.
One of the reasons that drove this is the professionalization of teams and players. Not long ago, CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), one of the world’s top e-sports games, saw a major match-fixing scandal involving one of the biggest teams in the US at the time.
This caused the sports betting market not to take e-sports seriously, so much so that it took time for the offers at various bookmakers to increase. Today, there are lots and lots of titles available to bet with a series of markets on each of them.
The future is promising and has already caught the attention of Las Vegas, for example. Luxor Casino, for example, announced that it will build an exclusive arena for e-sports events in the city. Experts think other big casinos should do the same.
Another point that has been helping a lot in the growth of the e-sports betting market are the regulatory agencies that are starting to pay specific attention to the topic and treat it as something different from conventional sports.
New games should emerge and heat up the market
At the end of the first half of 2020, Valorant was launched, a tactical first-person shooter from Riot, the same developer and publisher of the successful League of Legends. It didn’t take long for the game to turn fever and in a few months it already had a robust community, with championships, large organizations hiring experienced players and young talents that were emerging.
This is perhaps the greatest example of how the world of e-sports is fast-paced and asking for space to expand. As the pandemic also helped to form or reactivate the gaming streak of older people who were not already in this world, the developers had an excellent year.
This becomes an incentive for new titles to appear and the chance of getting great acceptance like Valorant is great. With more games available to the public, more people are starting to enter this world and bigger are the gamblers that fatten the e-sports betting market.
There is a lot of potential to be realized from the e-sports industry and it would be interesting to see how this sector grows in the nearest future and in years to come.