eSports and casinos: how did this relationship grow?
The worlds of eSports and gambling have deeply crossed over each other in the pandemic period and have since then, integrated to such an extent that they are jointly moving towards a new genre of gambling, where competitive video gaming intersects with online casino operations.
How is that?
Well, even though some may appear that eSports have nothing in common with the gambling sites that anyone can find in any online casino list, the reality is that casinos today partner with eSports organizations in ways that we have never thought possible in the past.
The outburst of COVID-19 shocked the entire world. From a gambling perspective, the pandemic had a very strong negative effect on the generated revenues and on the overall industry. In fact casino revenues dropped dramatically during the initial phases of the lockdowns.
Meanwhile, people from all over the world began to pay attention to another form of entertainment, which was made possible from the confines of their homes. eSports grew exponentially in the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak and retained their dynamic growth even after all restrictive measures were removed.
People began to explore the beauty of eSports and more specifically they started to develop a strong interest and preference for betting on eSports. eSports wagers quickly became the fastest-growing segment of sports betting, demonstrating their potential for climbing to the top of the betting industry.
Betting on CS:GO, Fortnite, DOTA2, League of Legends, and other popular video games -irrespective of the genre – became so mainstreamed that several bookmakers, both online and offline, began to build their unique selling propositions on offering a wealth of betting markets on eSports.
The more betting on eSports they featured, the more they could attract new users, especially the younger generations, who are the primary followers and fans of eSports.
Casinos -as pure gambling establishments – could not leave this opportunity untapped. In fact, right after the outbreak of the pandemic and once the restrictions were lifted, many casinos partnered with eSports organizations in order to host big events and tournaments. And although such partnerships were not only seen in the post-covid period (some partnerships are traced back in 2017), they actually thrived after that.
Interestingly, though, the relationship between casinos and eSports did not stop at hosting events and providing arenas for competitive video gaming, which of course gave casinos the ‘uplift’ and the power-up they needed. They put forward another kind of ‘integration’ as well. Nearly all online casinos began to feature gambling on eSports as one of their main offered services and products for their users. And just like that, eSports bettors could easily find eSports betting options on online gambling sites.
On the one hand, the fact that eSports are actually video game competitions, which means that they are not far from the traditional games in casinos, and on the other hand the digital nature of both (online casinos and eSports) were actually the ground basis for the relationship to emerge and blossom.
But online gambling and eSports have a future as well, besides their basic partnering happening at the present. This future lies in blockchain technology, in the cryptos, and in the NFTs, which altogether create an ecosystem that brings the casinos closer to the eSports. The relationship has only begun and it is expected to grow even more in the future.