Football giant Florentino Perez defended a proposal to create the European Super League (ESL) in April 2021. With streaming deals planned with Amazon and Facebook, bigger spectacles, and shorter seasons, ESL appears to be an attempt to keep football relevant in the age of video games and online content. “Young people are not interested in football anymore,” Perez claims, because “they have other platforms to distract themselves from.” He may be referring to Twitch and YouTube, where Gen Z now spends more time watching videos with others. Games are more human interaction than many major sporting events are played.
Undoubtedly, eSports tournaments attract almost the same audience size as the FIFA World Cup, but that’s only because eSports is just getting started. In a news article about the future of esports, the founder of G2 Esports explained: “Everyone knows football. Some play. Some don’t. Some watch him. Some don’t. But everyone knows it for sure. With esports, we will eventually get to that point.” And esports is already catching up at lightning speed. Data released by Statista estimates that the global esports market will be worth approximately $1.08 billion by 2021, an increase of nearly 50% from previous. It seems that esports growth has doubled overnight, paving the way for the rise of esports betting.
Offers what traditional sportsbooks can’t
However, it is all too easy to attribute the rise of esports betting simply to the rise of esports. Popular sports betting websites such as STS Bet, have in their portfolio a wide variety of sports to choose from including eSports, even though it is still new on the market. The rise of esports betting is a direct result of the superior customer experience inherent in esports betting compared to traditional sports.
The key difference in the rise of esports betting is data. By generating large amounts of low-latency data, the sport is more clearly suited to bets that rely on data to inform odds and determine outcomes. Running on machines, eSports can provide customers with a better betting experience than traditional sports because game-related data is distributed instantly and updated every millisecond. Freed from the limitations of manual data collection common in traditional sports betting, and with access to a wealth of accurate data, bookmakers are able to offer customers a new and improved gaming experience.
Here are five opportunities that the rise of esports betting has brought to bookmakers and gamers, and the challenges they each face.
1. Ensure data integrity
The key to understanding the importance of the rise of sports betting is to know that information is the key to making money in the gambling industry. Ideally, when you are a bookmaker, you need to know the results of live betting in an instant. Any delay between the event and the betting market receiving this information could result in financial loss if it means players determine the outcome of the bet before you. In a practice known as on-field, spectators watching a sporting event in person can see what is happening in real-time and bet on the book retroactively before the bookmaker has had a chance to process the outcome, thereby tricking the system.
Completely eliminating this lag in traditional sports betting is impossible due to the manual nature of data collection. Tennis is the classic example; no matter how fast the referee pushes the button to update the score after scoring, it will always take a few seconds (unless he is corrupt). In an industry where business models depend on the information that no one can get before you, the rise of esports betting will be a game-changer. In esports betting, the sharing of outcome information is instant. Automated data extraction and distribution technology enable gaming operators to obtain official rightsholder data immediately and directly at the source.
2. Premium Live Betting
In addition to receiving real-time data, the digital nature of eSports allows gaming operators to instantly access all game-related data. This has fueled the rise of esports betting, as bookmakers can now offer a wide range of live bets with little effort. In traditional sports, live betting can only reach a certain level of sophistication, and then it is difficult for bookmakers to track and report results manually. Also, given the relative simplicity of traditional sports versus eSports, there are few things in a sport where you can bet on the team that wins or pitches the next corner like football.
3. Highly accurate real-time odds
Since esports run on machines and generate massive amounts of data, they can benefit from machine learning, which has two advantages. First, the more games there are, the more accurate the bookmaker’s ability to assess pre-game odds in the future. Second, built-in algorithms can update the in-game odds every millisecond as the event unfolds; for example, in CS: GO this can be calculated by combining the player’s current score, card difficulty, equipment value, money carried, and skills The probability of winning the game. Many of the features such an algorithm can take into account, such as an athlete’s fitness, are not trackable or even quantifiable in traditional sports. This allows sportsbooks to get a very accurate picture of the possible outcomes.
While machine learning is the driving force behind the rise of esports betting, the complexity of esports compared to sports such as tennis makes them difficult to model. In other words, in order to create these algorithms, you need to figure out which in-game events actually affect certain outcomes. Since eSports has not been around for long, League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS: GO are the only games that are fully modeled right now. For newer games, players who currently have a solid understanding of the game have a real chance to win before the gaming operator has a chance to beef up the model. There will be a conversion phase for bookmakers, but this will pay off in the long run.
4. A nuanced and attractive betting strategy
As with any sport, the more you know about the game, the better your chances of winning your bet. Formula 1 is an example of a highly strategic traditional sport where fans can take into account the weather, track layout, and drivers’ starting positions when estimating the likelihood of a particular outcome. Because F1 cars are machines, players can also learn about things like tire wear and fuel consumption; this distinguishes F1 from more traditional sports such as basketball, where players can’t tell a player’s exhaustion or lack of energy. Esports is similar to F1 in that players have a lot of valuable information to play with that only a machine can give them, such as B. Player health, respawn rate, and tactical deployment. The more information players have, the more tactical their betting strategies will be.
The challenge for bookmakers is to find ways to contextualize in-game events within the broader gaming strategy. For example, if a League of Legends player kills a dragon, does that tell you that the player is having a good day, just as a goal five minutes before a game might indicate a football player is in good shape? The diversity of esports titles and their respective complexities makes it difficult for non-professionals dealing with an enlightened niche esports audience to win. If bookmakers want to capitalize on the rise of esports betting and maximize revenue potential, breaking down different esports games to sell them in a way that a wider range of customers can digest is critical for bookmakers.
5. New data-driven customer experience
The availability of vast amounts of game-related data opens up possibilities for new data-driven customer betting experiences. The most obvious of these are visualizations, such as B. Information widgets that help players learn more about the game. A mapping scheme can show real-time player movement on a virtual map; a real-time log widget can log events as they unfold, e.g. “player 1 kills player 2 at 10:12:15”, and a team scoreboard can log a character’s Status such as B. Health, Deaths, and Inventory. However, the key visualizations for betting are the Prediction Tracker, which uses machine learning models to predict specific outcomes in real-time, and the Comparison Chart, which provides at-a-glance comparisons between teams.
With the rise of esports betting, some esports production companies such as the Esports League (ESL) and Blast are offering fans a new way to place bets in esports: tokenized digital content. Blockchain-based digital collectibles Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) couldn’t be more suitable for the eSports model. Introducing NFTs as prizes into the game itself could also open up another betting category for bookmakers.
Will esports betting continue?
While League of Legends is currently the only game that generates the same revenue margins as traditional sports, GRID continues to see demand for new games and new datasets to support the model. While the sport is still in its infancy in Europe, it is already seen as an independent sport in Asia, where professional athletes receive generous scholarships and sponsorships. If eSports currently accounts for around 5% of UK sports betting revenue, we expect the revenue split between eSports and traditional sports to be closer to 50/50 within a decade. Look at this room.