The Gambling industry is getting very excited about betting on eSports (or video games for those of a certain age). With the eSports Betting Summit coming-up in May decided to lay out our thesis.
The gambling industry is embracing eSports as a new up and coming market and the majority of bookies have added an “eSports” market to their site. Examples here:
Back in March Bwin announced that they accepted more bets on League of Legends in 2016 than they had on the Champions League Winner market. Which could be as much a reflection on time of year and bwin overall performance but none the less shows some scale for eSports.
Some bookies have put more effort into their offering such as Pinnacle Sports, who have created an “eSports Hub“, however we do see it is a little neglected and in order to get odds today you need to navigate back to the main sportsbook.
From a Land based casino perspective, we see that Las Vegas is getting very excited and see eSports as the next UFC. With the ability of the large tournaments to sell out stadiums, some casinos are installing dedicated eSports lounges such as the “Downtown Underground” at the Downtown Grand. We expect to see this trend continue as it is a natural extension of the Las Vegas conference/events business.
Video Games Industry Approach:
When we look at gambling from the Games Industry approach we see a very different approach that is gamer and community led. The obvious example is the well funded Unikrn who have built an entire social platform including a virtual currency, gambling, auctions and news.
One area of eSports gambling is the “Skin” betting which is effectively using in-game items as a betting currency and is similar to the school yard “Playing for Keeps”. The in-game items have a real monetary value and can be traded on numerous websites.
Skin betting takes two forms:
- Player vs Player: Who ever wins best out of 3 keeps all the items.
- Coin Flip: where players pool the items, a virtual coin is flipped and winner takes all.
To see coin flips in action, have a look at these two videos which combined show nearly $40,000 is gambled in the space of minutes.
Impact on Gambling Industry:
If you are truly going to chase the eSports vertical we believe you have to approach it from a player perspective and not a gambling industry perspective, so simply adding a market page is not enough. You have to embrace the gamer community and we believe the native approaches taken by Unikrn and the Skin sites will be the long term winning approach.
YouTube Bumper Ads
YouTube are testing a new 6 second ad format that is not skippable. We see this as a mobile native video ad format and early reports suggests it is working well.
The guys at Ripen have done an analysis on Amazon search ranking factors. Not a big deal for the gambling industry, but we feel it is still an interesting data point.
Press release of the year goes to TeamFA while they sort out issues with their Twitter account
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