In the 1990s, when the rise of multiplayer games really began, no one could have envisaged that professional, multi-platform esports could someday be challenging the world’s biggest traditional sporting fixtures and events.
Popular titles such as Counter-Strike – which was the first truly international, professionally organised multiplayer game, with organised teams and international tournaments – were barely scratching the surface of esports’ potential.
How things have evolved. The global esports market value has, according to Statista, exceeded US$1bn in 2021 – doubling its growth from the previous year. Considering esports is a newcomer on the global sporting scene, its growth is rapid. If it continues, it is set to blow away traditional sports entirely within a decade.
With this speed of growth, we are also seeing the emergence of esports betting as the driving force behind what could see it becoming the dominant part of a bookmaker’s book: accurate data and the immediate access to it for both punters and bookies.
Roman Semiokhin, a Russian-born tech entrepreneur who has launched multiple gaming and betting products in the esports arena, commented on what differentiates the experience from betting on traditional sports: “Customer experience, coupled with technological innovation, is a key driver in attracting and keeping punters. Esports can provide accurate to the millisecond data points, which are collected in an automated fashion. In football, for example, everything is inputted manually, which not only takes great resource, but causes a significant delay, with only the basic data points available in real time.”
Esports data is accumulated by a computer with far more data points, in turn enabling the bookmaker to provide new products, a deeper experience, and access to more enhanced betting strategies and products.
Semiokhin added: “Data being available in a split second ensures everyone, including both the bookmaker and the customer, is aware of an outcome on an in-play instantly, meaning the bet and its result have a much higher level of integrity. It also provides us with the opportunity to give customers the ability to leverage the digitisation of esports by providing access to much more data and adding more opportunities for in-play betting, as well as deeper complexity, in turn, driving engagement.”
While the esports market is in its relative infancy, considering its growth in popularity and opportunities for future evolution – and the almost daily improvement of technology – it is inevitable that we are not too far away from esports comprising the majority of a bookmaker’s revenues.
Its ability to harness real time, immediately accessible data, coupled with a continuously enhanced customer experience, means esports is well positioned to be the next big thing in betting.