Online gaming operator TonyBet, run by outspoken poker pro and philanthropist Antanas “Tony G” Guoga, has begun accepting bets on eSports events. TonyBet is a UK-licensed online casino which offers poker, sports betting, and casino games in several languages. The site primarily caters to Eastern European markets.
Live betting began on October 30th, just one day before the League of Legends World Championship grand finals in Berlin, which was the first event the operator accepted eSports wagers on.
Initial betting lines focus on biggest events
TonyBet plans on expanding their eSports offering to cover a wide variety of games, and the company mentions Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Starcraft II, and Dota 2 as games they plan on covering extensively.
In the short term, the focus is primarily on offering betting lines for the biggest tournaments in eSports. This week TonyBet offered bets on the CEVO/MLG Pro League LAN Finals, and it has announced it will take wagers on the MLG Smite Pro League Championship in December – both of which are Major League Gaming events.
TonyBet has already announced that it will be taking action on several of the most anticipated eSports tournaments which won’t take place again until 2016, and it is safe to assume that if significant interest and action is generated that the company will begin taking bets on less prominent events as well.
A representative from TonyBet stated in the company’s press release that they’re ready for expansion and to stay competitive as demand increases:
“In a market that’s so heavily saturated we aim to provide our users with an exceptional experience. TonyBet was always about being innovative and progressive, and in the rise of eSports, we aspire to respond immediately to the demand that it creates.”
eSports market in Europe poised for growth
The TonyBet representative also expressed great enthusiasm about the potential this new venture has:
“We believe that this market has a lot of potential. It’s clear that the gaming culture is gaining popularity, becoming more mainstream and people are willing and interested to participate in or watch the tournaments, so naturally we want our customers to be able to actively take part and support their favorites.”
Statistics on market size included in TonyBet’s press release and attributed to market research firm SuperData state that the European eSports market is worth roughly $72 million today compared to an estimated $143 million in the United States and $374 million in Asia.
With millions of viewers tuning in for the biggest eSports events and more fans emerging each year, industry experts believe that wagering on events is set to grow substantially in each of those markets over the next several years.