The global gambling industry has come to a point of its development when it needs to make itself appealing to a new type of customers – a more demanding, inquisitive, and digitally savvy type of customers. Millennials, just as any other gambling group, are not that hard to please as long as they are offered exactly what they want.
And this particular demographic likes to be entertained in a clever way, to have its skills and knowledge tested, to socialize with peers, preferably through digital means.
Although competitive video gaming may have its roots traced back to the 1980s, it is exactly what seems to be very appealing to millennials. eSports have come to be a multi-million-dollar industry and so has become eSports betting.
Major betting operators have recognized the opportunity and have for some time now been offering eSports betting options alongside their traditional products.
What Is eSports Betting?
In a nutshell, eSports betting or gambling is betting/gambling on the outcome of eSports events. Bettors can use skins (generally perceived as a virtual currency) to bet as well as and real money.
Millennials are hungry for skill-based entertainment and eSports definitely have the potential to offer them exactly this type of experience. In recent years, eSports have seen professional leagues being formed, games like League of Legend and CS:GO gaining global popularity, including popularity on the eSports betting field, and billions of dollars being generated as a result.
In other words, eSports may not be something new to the world, but have been increasingly and successfully proliferated to lure the millennial public. Social media and video streaming have also contributed to the eSports market’s growth.
Why May eSports Become a Billion-Dollar Worth Industry?
According to data released by different sources, eSports has already become an industry worth millions (and possibly billions) of dollars. eSports market researcher Newzoo reported that the industry had won around $325 million in revenue in 2015 from merchandise, media rights, advertising, and tickets. And the market has really been growing with a fast pace.
As video games competitions continue to gain popularity, betting on these has also been quite a lot of attention. Market research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming had projected that the unregulated eSports betting market would generate the amount of $7.4 billion in betting turnover in 2016. Including betting turnover from regulated betting operations, overall bets probably exceeded $8 billion last year.
What is more, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming believes that eSports betting turnover may reach $23 billion by 2020 and operators may generate more than $1.8 billion in revenue from this type of offering.
eSports Betting Regulation
An industry of this potential certainly needs regulation so as for a safe and well-functioning environment to be created. Truth is that although eSports and eSports betting target primarily males aged between 18 and 25, minors can also bet easily on the outcome of competitions. This is why effective regulation should involve the exclusion of those under the eligible age from betting pools.
Another important thing to be taken into account is that eSports bettors should be considered a separate gambling category from traditional bettors. In fact, it can be seen on different betting operators’ websites that these treat their sports betting customers and their eSports betting ones in a different manner.
With eSports gambling, skin betting included, clearly being here to stay and grow further, several regulators have announced their stance on this type of offering. The Isle of Man has recently allowed the licensed provision of skin betting options.
The Norwegian Gaming Authority has recently issued a warning that it considers skin betting a gambling activity and that any operator that offers this type of product will face penalty. In Norway, online gambling operations are only conducted by a state-run monopoly.
Skin betting has also been discussed recently by the UK Gambling Commission. The regulator published a position paper on eSports, warning parents about the risks skin betting poses to their underaged children and promising to take action against any unauthorized websites that are offering this type of products.