EiG: Bet on e-sports growth opportunity

EiG: Bet on e-sports growth opportunity

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Totally Gaming
Experts explain convergence of e-sports and iGaming

E-sports followers offer a huge opportunity for the betting and iGaming industry, some of the sector’s leading decision-makers insisted during an industry discussion at EiG 2015 today (Wednesday).

Attendees at Arena Berlin heard during the session entitled ‘e-Sports and gambling – exploring the potential at the intersection of both’ that 35% of e-sports enthusiasts bet regularly versus 15% of gamers and eight per cent of the online population, according to NewZoo research.

The research also indicated that there will be 165 million e-sports enthusiasts by 2018.

“E-sports is the biggest sport you’ve probably never heard of, but betting is already fairly commonplace in e-sports,” Fnatic CEO Wouter Sleijffers said.

“Proper regulation will help to grow e-sports. It is a concept that has been born through the digital age.”

E-sports is currently the seventh biggest ‘sport’ for betting via Pinnacle Sports, according to the company’s Head of Sportsbook, Marco Blume.

“We’re trying to tell the community that betting is not an evil thing to do and that it enhances your experience,” he said.

“It is a 365, 24-seven activity, and you can bet on e-sports events at any time of the year at any time of the day.

“Betting was very small in e-sports in 2010 as the e-sports audience was younger. However, that audience is growing up, so we have seen hockey stick growth.

“Now the betting community is waking up to e-sports. The regulators are now waking up to e-sports.

“The growth is not only due to the e-sports audience getting older and becoming bettors, but also due to the existing betting audience taking an interest in e-sports betting.”

Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood insisted that there is a cross-over between betting on sports and e-sports.

However, he added: “We’ve noticed that there is a significant customer base that does not follow sports like football, but absolutely love e-sports, so it is only going to get bigger.

“The challenge for traditional operators is that they are just adding lines, but they actually need to get the community on board in an authentic way.

“From our perspective, we are trying to take data and make it visually beautiful so e-sports is easier to follow.”

ESL Chairman Jens Hilgers said that the growth in e-sports will be steady and generation-based.

“The young audiences will grow up,” Hilgers said. “However, we’re not converting my parents.”

For all of the latest updates from EiG 2015, click here to check out our live blog.

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