[toc] Editor’s note: This piece has been updated.
UPDATE: October 13
Esports betting is back up and running on Ladbrokes.
In the absence of any comment from Ladbrokes, it looks like the issue may have been technical.
On October 12, the side bar listing available sports for betting showed no esports (click to enlarge):
Today, October 13, the esports category has returned–highlighted in red (click to enlarge).
The esports category was absent from at least Monday, Oct. 10, but whatever the problem was, it’s good to see it back.
Ladbrokes briefly removes esports betting markets
With no official announcement, Ladbrokes has quietly dropped esports betting from its product range.
A query to customer support produced the reply that, “It has been taken away currently, a decision has not been made yet on its return.”
The Ladbrokes website shows a full spread of wagers offered on other sports, and bettors can still lay bets on virtual sports, but the previous link now redirects to the home page.
In the past Ladbrokes has offered betting on a comparatively wide range of esports. Over and above the big four of CS:GO, Dota 2, LoL and StarCraft 2, Ladbrokes also offered wagers on World of Tanks games.
For major tournaments, Ladbrokes offered some in-play betting options – for example, which Dota 2 team will win the first map to be played.
Compared with many esports betting sites, Ladbrokes’ offer was both broad and deep.
Ladbrokes is in good financial shape as it merges with Gala Coral
The deal will create a company with a market capitalization of £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) with a strong presence in both internet and land-based gambling. If the company has pulled esports betting, it’s not because of any financial problems.
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Strategy or temporary slowdown?
Ladbrokes has not commented on the decision, which leaves open speculation as to the reasons behind the market withdrawal.
Following the biggest event of 2016, the Dota 2 International, perhaps Ladbrokes doesn’t see enough events on which to make a book.
However, esports betting competitors, Betway, SkyBet, Bet365 and Unikrn all have a reasonable number of events in their schedule, including the League of Legends World Championship which comes with a first prize of $1,658,000.
Possibly the exit is temporary in anticipation of the launch of a new esports betting platform.
Ladbrokes’ digital sportsbook reported growth of 45 percent in year-on-year figures for the first six months of 2016, but the financial report made no mention of esports betting, or of any plans to introduce a new platform.
Alternatively, Ladbrokes may be undecided as to whether it wants to be in the market at all at the moment. This seems to be an unlikely reason as esports betting is the trend of 2016, and all indicators point to a future of rapid growth.
All in all, not offering an esports betting product at this time doesn’t seem to make corporate sense.
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