Online betting sites have been hit pretty hard during the Coronavirus pandemic. More players are at home, which means more of them have the time to gamble, but the sporting world has shut down. Casino revenue has increased as many new and seasoned players find nice games in one of the many online casinos out there, but revenue from sports betting has plummeted. Football, boxing, rugby, tennis, golf—the world’s biggest sports are on hiatus right now and that has sent countless gambling domains into freefall.
To keep the coffers full, these sites are focusing their attention on the few sports that do exist, including the Belarusian football league, virtual sports, and esports. Thanks to their widespread popularity and eclectic nature, esports have proven to be one of the industry’s biggest revenue spinners.
Esports have been hailed as the saviour of the online gambling industry, giving betting sites plenty of markets to run and providing players with endless opportunities to bet.
The Role of Esports During the COVID Crisis
The video gaming industry has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, more people are stuck at home with little to do but play games. On the other hand, economic uncertainty means people are less willing to spend money on non-essential items.
What’s more, the people making the games have been placed under great strain during the pandemic. Most have been forced to work from home, greatly limiting their resources. Publishers have done their best to keep things alive, ensuring 2020’s biggest releases are still on course and keeping major esport tournaments alive.
These tournaments were some of the first major sporting events to take place following the end of the lockdown in China, and they have since been held all over the world. In their traditional form, esport tournaments are breeding grounds—the ideal environment for a pandemic to spread. People gather close together in their thousands, everything takes place indoors, and there’s very little chance of social distancing and other Coronavirus buzzwords.
But the great thing about esport events is that they don’t need grand stadiums and thousands of spectators. They can be held over the internet, with competitors facing off over Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook streams and with spectators watching in endless numbers, all safe and sound in their own homes. This is 2020—Coronavirus or not, technology is good enough and connections are fast enough for all of these events to occur in an entirely virtual environment.
Biggest Esport Events for Casinos
Esport events are happening all over the world and with most games. Game publishers are releasing titles for free, offering free plays for single weekends (and certain groups of people, such as key workers) and even football players are getting involved, playing live games of FIFA because they can’t play the real thing. However, as far as betting sites are concerned, it’s all about the following games and their respective events:
- CS:GO: The most popular first-person shooter in the esport world hasn’t been short of action during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several major events have been scheduled for May and the summer months that follow, including BLAST, Dreamhack, the Weibo Cup, the Asia Masters, and the Merkur Masters.
- LOL: It takes a lot to keep League of Legends players down and they’ll be playing right on through the pandemic. Dreamhack is going to be the biggest event but there are also many smaller ones taking place. In fact, due to some free play periods, LOL is more popular than ever before, which is impressive for a game that was released 11 years ago.
- DOTA2: Just like LOL, DOTA2 is a hugely popular game that has received a big boost in recent months, with more players preparing for upcoming tournaments like the China Professional League.
- Overwatch and PUBG: There are a handful of Overwatch tournaments taking place in the coming weeks, including the Contenders series, and there are also a host of PUBG tournaments, as this game continues on its ascent to superstardom. The Continental Series has proven to be a big leap for this game and if it goes ahead, as is predicted, PUBG could topple the likes of CS:GO and Fortnite.
Esports Betting vs Other Sports Betting
The new wave of esports betting has led to a massive influx of bettors who are completely unfamiliar with these games and their betting markets. But the truth is, esports betting markets are very similar to the markets available on other sports.
If we use games of FIFA as an example, punters can bet on everything from the eventual winner to the final score and the Over/Under Goal markets. The markets mirror the ones found on games of real football, albeit without the additional host bets. For instance, you will struggle to find betting markets that cover outcomes such as corners and cards.
Not to worry, though, as there are still prop bets, including disconnects. And just like a standard football tournament, you can bet on Outright markets such as the eventual winner of a tournament.
If you have any experience with sports betting you shouldn’t have an issue with esports. The transition should be seamless—just ask the thousands of punters who now bet on these events every week, after switching from traditional sports. The COVID-19 pandemic may have placed a lot of limitations of sports bettors, but esports have helped to fill in the gaps.