Esports betting news constantly reports about the exponential growth of this industry sector. Even those betting operators, which are focused on traditional sports, start considering the opportunity to add esports to their offer.
Marek Suchar, Managing Director of Oddin.gg, has explained how operators can profit from the esports betting sector and what obstacles they can face.
Marek, is it right to say that esports betting has rapid growth nowadays?
Absolutely. Esports betting is by far the fastest-growing vertical in the betting industry. This trend will continue since esports bettors are considerably younger than traditional sports punters. Our data confirm that the average esports bettor is only 25 years old, while the rest of the sports bettors range between 32 and 36 years old. The younger generation loves esports, and as they keep getting older, the esports betting share in the industry can only grow and grow, eventually challenging the top traditional sports.
What are the main ways for operators to generate revenue from esports?
The esports audience doesn’t engage with games of chance, such as slots. Instead, the main revenue comes from betting. To be more specific, 80% of the revenue is generated by live betting, where the users can engage with live matches.
But, it is not so simple. First of all, you have to consider that the esports audience is different. They’re a new generation that has different values. For example, as they grow using Netflix or Twitch, they are used to content on-demand. This means they value freedom of choice, and they do not like to wait at all.
This should be translated into your esports live betting offering. If an operator wants to generate revenue from esports, it should offer multiple options to bet on. Then, it must make sure the odds are available to bet most of the time. Users won’t stare at suspended odds.
What should esports betting operators offer customers to retain them?
Younger generations are very demanding. If you want to retain them, you must be very careful about your product. I already mentioned key factors such as live betting markets and how often odds are suspended. However, it doesn’t end there. Another request from esports users is live streaming, so they can watch the matches while they bet.
Also, deep coverage of esports matches will allow them to bet on multiple titles and tournaments. The product should be wrapped up in an esports-centric design that understands younger audiences’ user experience. One crucial aspect is simplicity. The product must be easy to use as many esports bettors are actually first-time bettors.
Another important aspect to retain esports bettors is communication. The younger generations have a different vocabulary. They value authenticity the most, and this should be part of your strategy. Use their own language, including memes, GIFs, or funny videos. Interact with the community and make them feel part of the brand. This way, they will feel identified with your brand and will eventually stay.
What types of bets are the most popular among customers, and does the market need new types?
Even though match-winner is the most popular bet, esports bettors appreciate side markets. While these markets represent 10% of the total volume in traditional sports, some of our partners using our esports solution receive 30% of their volume on side markets like game duration or number of kills over/under. These markets are crucial to keeping users engaged, especially when the matches are one-sided.
It is not enough to add only the typical handicaps, but also tailor-made markets that are specifically made for each title. For example, we cover multiple specific markets, such as First Dragon in League of Legends, or Ultra Kill in Dota 2. The esports industry is very innovative, and as the games are growing and evolving, betting providers must too. This is why esports betting providers can’t settle with their current offerings and should constantly seek innovation.
What are the most common problems, which esports wagering providers face?
When it comes to esports betting, there are many challenges, especially for live betting. This includes technology, team expertise, use of data and match-fixing detection.
The games are very complex, much more than traditional sports. This is why you need to have very robust predictive models using artificial intelligence that can be adjusted seamlessly as the matches are going on. There are multiple characters, items, and limitless situations that require a very deep understanding of the games to provide a competitive live betting offering. Your trading team also needs to have this expertise. As many providers are focusing on traditional sports, it is very difficult to build such expertise within the company. This is why I believe the best option for operators will always be to choose an esports-centric betting provider.
Regarding data, the esports scene has multiple publishers and tournament organizers. This means the data is extremely fragmented. Even though the live-streamings of the games are public, these come with a considerable delay. Using this data for your odds calculation can be extremely risky and can have a very negative impact on uptime and profitability. We partner with official data providers in order to get access to data as fast as possible.
The last aspect is about match-fixing, which can be an issue, especially in smaller tournaments. Even though this is a concerning topic, we have found our way to battle it. We partnered with the esports integrity commission ESIC, which helps in identifying the matches that are suspicious of match-fixing.
In what countries has the esports betting sector shown the uppermost success?
Esports is already a global phenomenon, but when it comes to betting, legality also plays an important role. For example, esports is a massive success in Asia already, even bigger than traditional sports, but many countries do not allow betting.
In the U.S., the esports audience is in the multimillion range. Until now, this was a similar situation to the one mentioned in Asia, but it’s changing quickly: many states are allowing esports betting already, including New Jersey, Colorado and Virginia. As legalization continues, we expect esports to grow continuously in the region and become a well-known success in approximately 5 years.
In Europe, esports betting is legal in most countries. The industry has been growing a lot over the last few years, with Scandinavian countries taking the lead. However, the country with the highest following is Russia, and will continue growing given the spectacular success of Russian esports teams. If we talk about LATAM, esports betting doesn’t have any legal issues. In terms of success, we should highlight Brazil, where titles such as Counter-Strike have a massive following.
How can esports betting operators benefit from the collaboration with streamers?
There are two ways this can be done. The first is about offering odds on streamers playing esports on their channels. This can be very productive for the operators, as they capitalize on the massive following of the most popular streamers. You don’t need any special tournaments happening; just a streamer playing on Twitch, YouTube Gaming or Facebook Gaming is enough to expand your esports offering and give esports users more opportunities to engage with esports betting.
The second option is collaborating with streamers to promote your brand. This is a very interesting initiative, but it must be done properly. Younger audiences do not like traditional ads. The right way to advertise your brand through a streamer is to trust him and let him explain to his audience about your product the way he wants, without too many indications from the operator side. It must sound authentic, or it won’t work.
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