(This article was originally published by SBC News)
Esports is one of the fastest growing entertainment sectors in the world today, with industry revenues set to grow to over £930m this year, according to a report by market intelligence firm Newzoo.
With the industry starting to take shape, it is imperative that the betting industry conforms to the scene in order to fully maximise the sector’s huge potential.
A diverse range of betting stakeholders have launched esports products seeking to bridge market dynamics with options such as tote betting and streaming services being implemented to engage with complex Gen-Z and millennial demographics.
To gauge how important esports is to the betting industry, SBC spoke to Betinvest’s COO Max Dubossarsky about why bookmakers need to commit to esport solutions.
Dubossarsky emphasised: ”We cannot ignore the fact that esports are among the fastest growing and profitable areas in the gaming industry. Our product line has therefore been expanded to include an eSportsbook which is continually updated with events and markets, and the Betinvest team has been joined by dedicated esports enthusiasts with a strong background in the industry.
“Having a team of people well versed in every aspect of the sector enables us to better understand the needs of our audience and offer something unique to the market – something that we lacked when the industry first developed.”
The question on whether to invest all depends on the level of demand for the product. In this case, esports has the potential to adapt bookmakers practices to increase the appeal for a tech-savvy generation.
Specific esport platforms or ‘eSportsbooks’ will also increase a bookmaker’s offering, with more betting options becoming available to all of its customers. Competitive gaming should be seen as a tool to drive audiences, of all generations, into the betting industry.
The Betinvest C00 continued: “According to different researches, Esports and esports bets are among the fastest growing areas in the gambling industry. Operators, who just a few years ago hadn’t considered esports solutions as a means of business development, are therefore actively introducing them or exploring their potential.
“In addition to this, platforms which support an eSportsbook as well as a Sportsbook are more in demand than traditional Sportsbook platforms. This is all because an eSportsbook provides more opportunities to both bring in new players across different generations and increase the number of players overall.”
Esports betting viability is also a result of a generational difference. Instead of growing up with local teams from ‘traditional’ sports such as football, rugby, cricket ect, esports has become popular with both millenials and ‘zoomers’.
With that logic, the same thrill that older generations gain from placing a bet on sports they are interested in will apply to younger audiences, if there were huge esports betting opportunities in the betting industry.
“The older generation that grew up with arena sports support a particular team, go to matches at the stadium and bet on sports,” Dubossarsky explained.
“That’s not to say that the younger generation doesn’t enjoy betting on sports or watching traditional sports, but statistics suggest that generations that grew up with the internet, videogames and digital technology increasingly prefer esports and esports betting. But the bottom line remains the same: they are all looking for excitement.”
Esports can also act as a medium to lead to the development of other solutions to the industry, including customer engagement. Once the relatively unique sector is understood and utilised, betting providers and operators will be able to collect vital information on customer preferences and the younger market’s betting tendencies.
Once that generational bridge has been crossed, then companies can fully understand how the betting industry can adapt.
“Players want light, fun and quality solutions with compatibility across different devices, secure data and convenient payment methods. Products which cannot easily be adapted to the specific characteristics of regional markets lose their standing and risk being unable to keep up with the competition,” stated Dubossarsky.
“Needless to say, we’re always forging ahead; we’re making plans to develop the number of markets, events and esports bets available for eSportsbook and improve and expand on our range of online slots with the option to play in VR.
“Furthermore, our developers have created a special offer for land-based casino owners. Betinvest’s in-house team of developers is able to accurately recreate the casino’s interior in VR. This means that casino owners can engage new players, giving them the chance to experience the real deal from the comfort of their own home.”
Esports has one of the largest potential betting markets in the world, and a company’s ability to maximise the sector and connect with the Gen Z market could determine if projects such as VR can be successful, as it gages a modern customer’s preference.
To conclude, the esports betting industry not only offers bookmakers the opportunity to provide new solutions to its younger audiences, but it shows how a company can adapt to the ever-changing betting landscape.