The year 2020 was a turbulent year for many industries. The pandemic impacted us in many different ways, so in a short period of time we had to adapt and shift towards a “new normal”. The same happened to the gambling and sports betting industry.
After the pandemic broke, all brick-and-mortar venues had to close their doors to all customers. Luckily, many operators already had online casinos and sportsbooks that served as a life belt for many bookies and casino owners. However, online sportsbooks were facing another problem that online casinos didn’t have to deal with. And that is the absence of any sports events that had also been canceled due to the pandemic.
Therefore, the sports betting industry was left with only one choice. And that is turning to eSports that seemed to be the ideal solution in a time when only allowed activities were the ones that existed in the virtual world. Even though it seemed that interest in eSports was reaching an all-time high, it also revealed some key issues that could be a huge problem for this industry’s future.
The Advantage – Growing Popularity and New User Demographics
At the beginning of the pandemic, most users immediately moved to online platforms. Searching online for recommended Nevada sports betting apps, for example, or the best welcome promotions offers was something that every bettor had done before settling for an online sportsbook. But the lack of sports events left only one option for all wagerers. And there were the eSports events. The pandemic made it possible for users that never considered placing a bet on an eSport event or even to understand what those are, to completely change their betting strategies and plans towards this virtual phenomenon.
Before, most of the users interested in eSports were the ones who also played games, and most of them weren’t older than 25 years. But now people gaining from 25 to 35 became more interested than ever in these events, which made sportsbooks organize more competitive events and wider coverage. Let us provide you with an example. In July 2019 esports betting included around 3,000 events. One year later in the same month, it had over 50,000 events.
Before the pandemic, most esports betting fans were most interested in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and League of Legends events. The new users who joined the esports fan club gave a boost to NBA 2K and FIFA events, which became almost as popular as real-life sports events.
Threats – The Unexpected Issues and Their Impact On The Industry
The sudden growth in popularity left the eSports industry with many unresolved issues, that only became clear after so many people became interested in wagering on eSports events. The first issue was integrity. One of the key issues that this industry has to resolve if it plans on growing in the future is the lack of anti-fraud mechanisms, which can leave many users feeling disappointed and cheated. After a great number of people decide to invest money in your industry, that industry should become more aware of the responsibility that it has towards its customers. Once labeled as fraudulent and risky, any industry will find it impossible to deal with a reputation like that. So, eSports should deal with this problem with new regulations and overseeing committees.
Another problem that resurfaced is the lack of understanding that a great number of bettors have of the games that are being played. Younger generations are familiar with almost all of the rules that determine the winner of Dota 2 or LoL, but for people aging 35 and more, it’s easier to understand the rules of the traditional sports event. However, this isn’t a critique of the industry. This is just a generational gap between the generation that belong to the virtual world and those who will always prefer traditional sports events.
The year 2020 was a revolutionary year for the eSport industry. The sudden growth in popularity revealed both the good and the bad sides of the industry. The potential of this new industry should be used to attract new future users, but if some key issues aren’t resolved in the near future, even eSports can become a one-year-hit.