To better reflect the growing popularity of esports betting over the past few years, Uplatform, a global sports betting and online casino operating platform and solution provider, has shared its latest insights on esports betting trends, based on its sportsbook's statistics on playing preferences and behavior data covering 60 esports.
In 2021, the global audience for esports was estimated to reach about 474 million individuals, and that number is predicted to rise to 577.2 million people by 2024, according to the company. Betting on these games has taken off in "spectacular fashion", with the main sports betting operators adding esports to their platforms alongside more traditional sports like football, basketball, and baseball.
The total amount wagered on esports matches is expected to grow to $16 billion in the next few years. As noted by Uplatform's report, this is part of an overall growth trend in online betting that has been driven by factors such as people seeking more entertainment online and improved technology that makes placing bets more convenient.
Furthermore, the company affirms there are a number of "strong" reasons that suggest this industry will continue to develop and keep on gaining momentum. It is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing sectors, with a younger generation's great affinity for Esports readily transferring towards betting.
In terms of investments, the numbers come in line with that positive forecast. In 2020, $1.1 billion had already been invested in esports by the middle of the year. This high level of investment could push the global esports revenue to over $2.5 billion in 2022.
As a reference, when Uplatform stated in 2020, the growth in esports betting was around 130%.
“2021 was a real shock," Uplatform’s esports team stated. "Even with most tournaments and championships being cancelled, the esports sector showed more than 170% growth. And we expect even higher numbers in 2022. There is no doubt that Esports is attracting more and more attention among bettors.”
The most popular esports for betting have remained the same: CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends. Uplatform’s team added: “Over the past year, we have managed to significantly increase the number of active players in League of Legends, which used to be less than 10% of the total.”
Uplatform also notes that players positively welcomed Age of Empires, and that this interest grew significantly with the latest release. StarCraft II and Quake are also among the top betting games, despite the fact that the number of tournaments for Quake has been limited.
One of the most well-known esport, WarCraft III, has had the greatest drop in popularity, while Uplatform's experts feel this is due to the game's developer and their involvement in its promotion. Something that cannot be said about Valorant, which confidently removed Rainbow Six from the second position among shooters. A significant bonus is the games developer's backing, which translates into numerous high-level tournaments.
Moreover, Uplatform analyzed the profile of the esports bettor. In this sense, the company notes this sector has a more diverse customer base than other types of gambling. While the average esports bettor is frequently assumed to be a youthful gamer, it has also attracted a diverse group of individuals.
Uplatform statistics show that 75% of Esports bets are made by bettors 23-25 years old, and only 4% of them are female bettors. But taking into account the recent trends, Uplatform experts forecast that in a few years the share of women betting on Esports will be around 15%.
When it comes to geography, those most active betting on esports are CIS and Asian regions. In comparison with recent years, esports in Latam is getting more and more popular – and grew by 20% in 2021.
The cancellation of many sporting events since 2020 is one of the factors that have pushed a new audience into watching these games and placing bets on them, according to the company. "With a lack of games taking place in stadiums around the world, the chance to bet on Esports tournaments has provided a welcome opportunity to enjoy some wagering action during a difficult time. Many people who have given it a try have discovered that it is similar to betting on traditional sporting events," Uplatform says.
In addition, streaming platforms like Twitch and HitBox have also brought the world of pro gaming closer to a much broader audience. "It’s now easy to catch up with the top gamers in an enjoyable way that suits any lifestyle. It has also helped us acquire a feel for the top teams, providing more insights to predict who will win any of the upcoming games and enhancing the prominence of professional gaming," the platform provider explains.
Given all of these factors, esports has become a must-have for betting companies to add to their platforms, as it gives them the advantage of attracting a new type of customer, while also expanding the selection available to their existing users, according to Uplatform's analysis.
The company concluded: "You can expect to hear a lot more about esports betting in the next few years, as this sector continues its enormous levels of growth across the planet. Partnering with a provider like Uplatform, which has been on top of everything esports, from stats to what's hot, might just be a wise business move. You will not only have one of the widest coverage of esports with a continually updated catalog. Their Usports feature-rich sportsbook, multi-device solution, provides excellent flexibility in any market, with rich coverage of events and strategic localization possibilities. And backed by a team with superior industry knowledge, personal approach, and expert consultancy, you’ll gain a significant competitive advantage over your competition."