The COVID-19 pandemic has jump-started a period of growth for the esports betting industry, and companies in the space are working to address the unique challenges that come with this relatively new way to gamble.
The U.S. sports betting market has grown considerably since the Supreme Court ruled that the practice was legal in 2018. The current size of the market is $9.5 billion, and it is projected to reach $37 billion by 2025, according to asset management firm ARK Invest.
While the esports betting market is much smaller, a recent report from Market Insight Reports estimated that it would reach a global value of over $13 billion by 2025, a significant increase from its estimated value of $800 million in 2019. “COVID was actually a great time for esports, because nothing was played in the sports betting area,” said Vlastimil Venclik, CEO of data analytics company Oddin.gg.
Most esports betting is relatively simple, with participants placing bets on who will win in advance of the competitions. For some of the larger esports, companies like Oddin provide more granular odds, allowing users to wager on specific in-game interactions: who will gain or lose life in-game, exact match scores, the first team to win a certain number of rounds and so on. As one of the few oddsmakers focused specifically on esports, Oddin covers a variety of games, but offers its live betting services for only the most prominent titles — Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends