Esports betting has grown in popularity since the global health pandemic, with titles like FIFA and NBA2k garnering unprecedented growth of up to 40 times its normal amount, according to the State of Esports Betting Report of Everymatrix in May.
However, as live sporting events continue to restart, questions have arisen about the long-term viability of sport betting, with sportsbooks waiting to see how the betting demand will be impacted and whether the sector ‘s growth will start to slow down.
Metodi Zaburtov, Sportsbook ‘s Head of Luckbox, examined the immediate effect live sport has had on the sportsbook, stressing that although the growth rate has slowed, the sector is still in an extremely healthy position.
Zaburtov affirmed: “Data shows that resumption of traditional sports did not have a negative impact on esports betting, especially on traditional esports titles. We see a continuous growth of betting volumes on a weekly and monthly basis in excess of 15 percent.
“Obviously, the growth rate is slowing down in comparison to early pandemic times when it was as crazy as 155 percent but we worked hard to lock up the gains we made in that period.
“CS:GO betting volumes sky-rocketed, with consistent double-digit percentage growth on a monthly basis for both the number of bets and betting volumes.
“Esports bettors and, specifically, CS:GO bettors are spending more and more during the pandemic and the signs are clearly visible in the data. Average bet size increased 33 percent in May and 62 percent in June on a monthly basis.”
He continued: “Dota 2 volumes dipped slightly, due to a lack of top-tier LAN events in May compared to April but now back up to 17% growth in volumes.
“League of Legends volumes were also affected by the break between spring and summer splits but, with the return of LCS and LEC in particular, there’s been a 93% growth in volumes and 75% growth in the number of bets in June compared to May.”
Nonetheless, while conventional esport titles have continued to draw punters, sport-centric titles can not be said the same. Zaburtov emphasised that the decline in virtual sports games like FIFA, NBA and Formula 1 was only to be anticipated, with many typical bettors using the games as a replacement before live events returned.
“Data shows that interest in sports-simulation titles, such as NBA2k and FIFA, slowed down after live traditional sporting events resumed, which was to be expected,” Zaburtov added. “From June to May, there was a steady double-digit percentage decline in both the number of bets and betting volumes.”
Focus then turned to ways the sportsbook could keep some of its bettors who left the site due to postponed live sports. Although it’s amazing to generate such a huge increase in customers in the short term, to ensure long-term longevity is about sustaining the fanbase.
Zaburtov commented: “We saw the spike thanks to the absence of traditional sports and we were optimistic we could get some of these new players to stay with us. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to do that with various techniques, including some attractive bonuses for our existing players.
“As an operator, it’s important to be agile enough to adapt to the changing landscape. Clearly, Covid-19 has been an extreme example but, in esports, with new games arriving all the time and popularity of titles shifting, that flexibility is paramount to stay ahead of the game and to meet the demands of our players.”
To conclude, it appears that sport-specific operators such as Luckbox have continued to see overall growth in the market, although the meteoric rise in sport-centric titles since the COVID crsis has decreased production.
Nonetheless, betting on sports has emerged from the pandemic with a higher profile and more popularity which, according to Zaburtov, will only continue now that tournaments can start playing again offline, as opposed to online competitions.
“Esports betting is not a new phenomenon and is here to stay. There is already a bigger awareness,” he highlighted.
“On the downside, LAN events are heavily missed. Online events can temporarily replace them but, overall, the esports community needs them and we’ll all be pleased to see them return.”