The Rise of Esports
The past decade has seen the rapid rise of esports as the biggest names in games, like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, have started to lead the way for virtual sports. There has been a recent shift; other games are starting to fill the niche of traditional sports in the virtual setting. Names like FIFA and the NBA have had direct support with the full support of the organizations behind them too. This signals a change away from what would be traditional gaming and into traditional sports. It also leads a growing audience from different demographics into the space. This has also allowed for other sectors to emerge and resulted in major growth for all areas involved, whether this be the gaming industry or the sports sector. This will only continue moving forward. All areas see major growth and success, due to the ever-rising popularity around both.
Can You Bet on Esports?
Amongst these sectors is the growing interest in different betting on virtual sporting events. The initial market had primarily been aimed at cosmetic item trading and sales. “Skin gambling” had led the way for an esports gambling market back in 2013. But as concerns grew and changes adjusted the market, which had risen to a valuation of almost $8 billion by 2016, something more familiar took its place.
A more familiar form of sports betting now leads the market for esports. Different states have had adjustments to regulation. An example is with NJ gambling, which offers options through different operators across a variety of sporting events, as esports certainly looks to lead the way—but much of the change has come through different broadcasting options. It will now be fascinating to see this growth, and whether we also see esports emerging as a major force in the gambling world. More and more markets continue to open on some of the key events taking place each year.
Why Has Esports Grown so Fast?
Traditional sports have been typically been tied to television broadcasting behind paywalls. Esports has always had a platform through live streaming options on sites such as Twitch. This has been one of the primary reasons why esports has been able to grow as much as it has. With little to prevent access for many, it has brought many new eyes to the growing sporting scene. And with the newer titles attracting an audience not typically attracted to gaming, it certainly expands the market further.
More Obstacles to Overcome
There are challenges to overcome for growth to continue, however. Esports as a whole is still very young and there are still hurdles popping up. The latest has been a series of match-fixing scandals within the Counter-Strike scene, and questionable actions by different coaches within the sport, too. And isn’t the first instance of these actions, either. For further successful growth, there needs to be mechanics in place to ensure that there is more integrity in the online gaming space. Further issues here could turn many away from the betting market if they don’t feel it’s fair or controlled.
Similarly, although many of the biggest operators are represented in the esports space, there aren’t many regulations targeted directly toward esports or toward the betting market as a whole. Some changes may be necessary to cover the growing market and offer more transparency and more protection. Particularly as the biggest games still establish themselves and the smaller games continue to grow at a rapid pace, further helping the industry thrive.