The Recent Expansion of Crypto eSports Betting
A lot can happen in ten years. Take eSports betting and cryptocurrencies as two prime examples. Both were viewed by many as little more than passing fads a decade ago. In 2009, a few savvy individuals took their chances on something called Bitcoin. However, most people shied away from investing in the unregulated and decentralized cryptocurrency. We all know how that turned out. Those who bought into Bitcoin in the early stages were rewarded handsomely as its value surged. Those who passed on it wish they could take a mulligan.
Esports were already wildly popular when the cryptocurrency revolution started. Games like Counter-Strike and Warcraft III attracted a fast-growing player base. Large-scale eSports tournaments and events boasted significant prize pools. While some might have expected eSports to draw viewers, very few could have anticipated just how massive the audience would be. In 2016, an estimated 162 million eSports fans tuned in to watch the eSports action on various services. At the time, the eSports industry was valued at about $493 million. In the ensuing four years, the viewing audience has nearly doubled and the market value has increased threefold.
One can attribute a variety of factors to the success of eSports and cryptocurrencies. May 22, 2010, was a watershed moment in the evolution of Bitcoin. That day, a Bitcoin owner in Florida exchanged 10,000 Bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. Allegedly, it was the first time Bitcoin was used in a “real-world” transaction. This lent credibility to Bitcoin’s legitimacy and triggered a spike in the fledgling crypto’s value.
Of course, eSports have also had their share of historic moments. One such occasion occurred in 2013 when over 32 million people watched a memorable League of Legends battle between SK Telecom T1 and Royal Club. It also helps that eSports enjoys extensive coverage on streaming services and even mainstream television. Whatever the reasons, the popularity of eSports and cryptocurrency continues on a steep upward trajectory.
Two common denominators stand out in the rise of cryptocurrency and eSports. Demographics, particularly age groups, are an important factor. Over half of all Bitcoin owners are between 18 and 35. This age group also represents the vast majority of eSports fans and players. Do you know what else piques the interest of millennials? Gambling. That brings us to the second common denominator: Sportsbooks. The recent expansion of crypto eSports betting wouldn’t be possible without them.
Considering how sportsbooks are usually way ahead of the curve, it’s a little surprising that they were so slow to embrace betting on eSports with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, they got on board with both and almost everyone involved came out a winner. Sportsbooks that accept Bitcoin and offer odds on eSports are making out like bandits. They now accept billions of dollars worth of crypto wagers from people all over the world. A healthy portion of those bets are placed on eSports.
Crypto eSports betting is nearly identical to traditional sports betting. Anyone who has made a sports wager using an online bookmaker knows how many betting options a single game can present them with. It’s no longer a limited choice of wagering on sides and totals. The number of team props, game props, and other miscellaneous wagering possibilities is staggering. Some sportsbooks go as far as allowing bettors to propose customized sports bets. Betting on eSports is no different. Each eSports competition serves up an all-you-can-eat buffet of wagering options. Placing a bet on which team destroys more enemy inhibitors will make your next LoL viewing experience much more exciting.
Because they accept cryptocurrency and offer odds on eSports, bookmakers can tap into a whole new market. Those who reside in regions where gambling is frowned upon have a discrete method of funding their accounts. Accepting bets on eSports attracts even more business. Some industry experts believe that global eSports viewership and betting volume will eclipse that of major sports leagues like the NBA and MLB. The League of Legends World Championships is already more popular than the Super Bowl. Who saw that one coming?
No. Cryptocurrency and eSports are not passing fads. They are both flourishing, and crypto eSports betting merely adds fuel to an already raging fire. The recent expansion of crypto betting is beyond impressive. But, in the immortal words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.