[toc]Sports betting company Pinnacle has released a few figures from this year’s esports betting that shows that the company has seen another year of remarkable growth in this business vertical.
Pinnacle says that its esports year-on-year bet count has grown by 127 percent, with its live bet count up by an even more impressive 403 percent.
Some of that growth will have been driven by the addition of more in-play esports betting options, but the main driver is more likely to have been the growing interest in esports betting globally.
— Pinnacle (@PinnacleSports) December 20, 2016
Not all esports have seen growth
An honorable third place goes to League of Legends, which has grown by 98 percent.
On the other side of the good news graph is StarCraft II where betting has dropped by 21 percent.
Overwatch was only released on May 24 this year, but it has already developed a huge following.
As an esport, it has benefited from improvements that enable fans to watch the game in a more user-friendly way, but it remains behind the leaders when it comes to esports betting.
This is the time of year when it is customary to make predictions, so I’ll stick my neck out and forecast that next year when Pinnacle reports these numbers, Overwatch betting growth will be at or near the top.
Trend is Pinnacle’s friend but an excellent product makes long term success
According to Pinnacle, the first person ever to take an online esports bet was its trading director, Marco Blume.
At the end of November he said:
“When we took our first bet on eSports in 2010 there was no market at all – but through persistence and developing our odds and limits in line with the needs of the growing eSports fan base Pinnacle is now growing eSports betting volume at over 200% per year.”
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimate that cash betting on esports could grow to as much as $16.4 billion in 2020. Even its bear case scenario expects total bets of almost $7 billion.
The trend is crystal clear. Alongside almost all other esports-related businesses, esports betting is a rapid growth industry.
Blume’s comment came during the annual EGR Awards ceremony, where Pinnacle was named “Esports Operator of the Year.”
EGR’s editor, Gerard Starkey, said:
“The judges considered Pinnacle to be the gold standard in eSports betting and were impressed by Pinnacle’s promotion of eSports betting as a product in its own right, particularly through the offer of its dedicated eSports hub.”
In an industry where success remains elusive for many participants, Pinnacle is not only riding the trend, but establishing a leading position with an esports betting product that works.
[geoip2 region=’ROW’][show-table name=betway][/geoip2]
Esports fans taking to betting but it’s a tough market
Addressing the esports fan base means hitting a demographic which may not have much experience with sports betting, or indeed with any forms of betting.
Creating a product that can tap the betting interest of esports fans is a different proposition than creating one for live sports. There are different types of betting events, different types of data and information, and in a young industry, real fraud risks which must be addressed.
The virtually total collapse of the skin betting industry during 2016 shows how badly things can go wrong.
Skin betting looked to be a no-brainer way of attracting esports fans to betting, but multiple scandals attracted the wrath of lawmakers and regulators which led to the esports industry’s current aversion to skin gambling.
The difficulties of building a successful esports betting business are legion, but the positives are worth the effort.
Esports fans are more engaged with their sport, and more willing to spend more money than the average fans of traditional sports.
The top esports betting operators such as Pinnacle, Bet365, and SkyBet are devoting considerable resources to locking in an early market share that will generate an increasing proportion of their revenues over the next few years.