In an industry that is constantly changing more questions are arising around eSports betting than ever before. However, not many of them are centered around the integrity of betting as, just like with traditional sports, there are longstanding rules of conduct for sportsbooks and leagues that are beneficial to both.
Instead, eSports fans who’ve yet to wager on their favorite game, team, or player have shown increased interest in learning about betting on eSports. In the last five years, the incremental growth of the industry on a global scale has seen a huge proliferation of opportunities for fans—betting on major tournaments included.
At first, only a few fringe oddsmakers offered lines on popular games and events. But this has changed greatly; today, even traditional sportsbooks have started opening markets on LoL, CSGO, and more. In fact, free casino offers can be found from top brands along with these eSports betting cases.
For fans, there’s been a steep learning curve in terms of learning the basics. For traditional sports bettors, there have been more challenges to work through. After all, there are a unique set of considerations that eSports oddsmakers must contend with, from hardware differences, to legal factors and Artificial Intelligence. Let’s take a closer look at the biggest challenges for eSports betting moving forward.
Crossover With Traditional Oddsmakers
One of the biggest questions going forward will be how eSports fits into the current sports betting landscape. In the past, sportsbooks tended to focus on a particular sport or league—for example, some sportsbooks only recently branched out from covering horseracing.
So far, eSports betting has borrowed greatly from traditional sportsbooks—and why wouldn’t it? The spirit of betting is the same, as is the emphasis on logic and prediction. However, there are huge caveats that make wagering on Premier League point spreads different than betting on the correct score of a CSGO game.
Looking ahead, it’s likely sportsbooks will create subsets dedicated to eSports, similar to current DFS offerings.
Live Betting Growing Pains
In the betting industry, live or in-play wagering has been a smash hit in recent years. Live betting allows punters to wager on the action as it unfolds in a game; sportsbooks will offer updated lines and in-game bets that are specific to each play. Think you know who will strike first in LoL? There’s likely a sportsbook offering a ‘first blood’ live bet on it.
However, eSports still has a long way to go in terms of technology before live betting becomes reliable. Already, many stadiums have started supporting 5G services in order to streamline new projects (including live bets options from sportsbooks). But with so much demand for bandwidth in eSports, how soon will stream delays and similar issues be hammered out?
A Question of Legalities
As mentioned above, sportsbooks and leagues work closely to ensure the integrity of the game—but it’s the law that mediates this balance. Each region is subject to local law related to the availability of sportsbooks. So far, eSports betting has fit seamlessly with sports betting laws, allowing traditional sportsbooks to expand into eSports, as mentioned above.
However, this could change in the coming years due to the global nature of eSports. Though law might not treat eSports betting differently than traditional oddsmakers, there are likely to be expanded regulations related to advertising and sponsorships on team and league levels.
Computer Picks in a More Digital World
Some sportsbooks are dipping a toe into the world of AI by developing machine-learning algorithms that inform how odds are set. An algorithm might crunch historical data and last season’s record to make a prediction (or ‘computer pick’) about an upcoming game. In other words, AI programs rather than pundits are setting lines.
With more and more bettors interested in incorporating computer picks into their platform, it’s likely the trend will gain steam in the world of eSports. However, it’s unclear how machine-learning platforms will handle digitized eSports data. Questions remain around whether it will provide more concrete information to make accurate picks, or whether the industry may be too young to provide algorithms with reliable data at present.