Esports betting’s growth rate is slowing down, but don’t let that fool you

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Right as this past winter was coming to a close, esports betting went from a rapidly developing industry ahead of it to an astonishingly explosive phenomenon.

It’s on course to seize a very bright future. Half a year later, esports betting is showing some signs of slowing down.

And while it shouldn’t be surprising that this happened at a time when traditional sports are finally making a return at a large scale, Metodi Zaburtov – Head of Sportsbook at Luckbox – suspects the two might actually be completely unrelated.

In fact, esports betting continues to grow across the board, with its upward trajectory only marginally slowing in recent weeks, Zaburtov argued in an interview with SBCNews.

The difference is not significant enough to indicate a correlation between the two trends. With more people staying at home watching entertainment, esports betting rose during the lockdown. Months later, it returned to a more typical growth rate of 15% on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on the exact title, Zaburtov revealed.

In contrast, during early spring esports betting segments expanded by ten times that rate, as per the same source. Those figures were, naturally, never seen as sustainable, yet the fact the gains persisted and are now being bolstered by largely standard growth are a promising sign.

There’s surprisingly little data to suggest conventional sports impacted esports betting

Household names such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – the granddaddy of esports betting – and League of Legends are said to be doing particularly well. Riot’s MOBA had some unsurprising, but still highlight-worthy breakouts in June due to the LoL European Championship (LEC) and LoL Championship Series (LCS) both returning. Zaburtov disclosed this prompted volumes to nearly double, boosting them by whooping 93% month-on-month. The actual number of bets was also up 75% during the observed period, the Luckbox official revealed.

Now, whether all of this data reflects esports betting directly taking market share from the more pandemic-prone sports remains to be seen. Again, there are no major indicators pointing to that being the case. More importantly, the heavy hitters are barely slowing down at all. To illustrate the aforementioned momentum CSGO continues to maintain, Zaburtov says they’re seeing steady 10% growth in both the number of bets and their actual value.

In any case, arguably the biggest drop-off among all of the esports betting categories was observed with traditional sports simulators – NBA2K, FIFA, Formula 1 and the like. Whether that constitutes irony, a microcosm of this current market circumstances, or a bit of both, is up to debate, but it isn’t unexpected.

Zaburtov drew a common-sense parallel between traditional sports being cancelled and people losing interest in their digital recreations.

The novel coronavirus pandemic also managed to cripple many LAN tournaments planned over the course of this year. How big of a role those played in the declines of FIFA 20, NBA 2K20 and other sports titles is unclear, however.

That’s not to say we won’t witness a delayed correction regardless

The situation should become clearer by late summer, when traditional sports will be back in fuller force. That is, there’s still a chance we’ll see a correction once European football properly resumes, with new seasons starting up. Many clubs from the big five leagues will have little preparation for the following season – injuries, substitutions, and other miscellaneous aspects of games are precisely the type of high-odds, hedgeable-risk bets football fans love to wager on.

Assuming at least some of those who flocked to esports betting in recent months weren’t exactly passionately following competitive (video) gaming and simply did so in lack of other options, it would be reasonable to assume they might not be returning to the growing niche in full force over the coming months.

On the other hand, who is to say that hasn’t already happened, but the overall growth remained so consistent as to cover the difference? Someone should let us speculate on immediate-term betting markets’ growth trends, perhaps even let us use leveraged wagers. It would be just like Forex trading, except you might end a day in the black.

All things considered, the current state of affairs lends itself to optimism, not just for Luckbox but also the rest of the esports betting operators and the wider sportsbook sphere, which had enough foresight to double down on esports betting even before the COVID-19 crisis started pushing nations into lockdowns.

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