It’s no secret that esports betting saw a massive surge this year. With so many conventional sports taken off the schedules due to the pandemic-crisis, sports betting in all its forms came to a near halt. One of the primary means of sustaining betting activity quickly became professional esports.
At the beginning of the lockdown industry experts forecasted a rise in esports betting, but now that professional sports are slowly resuming the revenue spike is beginning to subside. Interestingly, however, is that the rates of esports betting are not returning to their pre-pandemic levels. On the contrary, the betting landscape may be forever changed.
Sports betting provider Pinnacle reported that while it had esports among its offerings for more than ten years, traditionally it was an obscure option. In June the category led the platform by a wide margin. B2B igaming supplier EveryMatrix witnessed a 4000% growth increase in esports betting during the month of May, seeing the greatest share of the increase go to FIFA and NBA 2K competitions immediately following the postponement of the flesh-and-blood versions of the sports.
As popular sports return, market predictions anticipating a decline in esports betting are also coming to fruition. But esports is not falling back into obscurity so easily, but rather the decline is hitting bottom at a foundation higher than before the sudden spike. Quentin Martin, CEO of esports betting platform Lunchbox, has said the increase is “automatically sustaining.” Because many players previously unaware or uninterested in esports were activated with other betting options taken off the books, a significant number remain interested in esports.
Pinnacles’ Marco Blume foretells a market saturation for esports. Operators sprinted to add esports to their betting options, and for many it was too little too late. Those already well positioned to offer esports with compelling odds beat out those entering the game only now. Because the interest in esports is only so large, even with this year’s bump, many of these investments will not bring their expected dividends. Nonetheless esports is brought now into the limelight, if only for a time, but revenues can be expected to plateau in the coming months.