The Willingness to Wager Breaking down the 2022 esports betting trends with Abios AUTHOR Radina Koutsafti @radi_koutsafti
he growth levels of esports betting have somewhat stabilised after a pandemicinduced spike. Nevertheless, more sportsbooks have realised the potential of esports and picked it up as part of their offering, which has led to a higher demand for better products.
In the past, the industry has battled the perception of video games and esports being a pastime for kids: a customer group with low purchasing power. However, as the attention to industry also had a pandemic-induced spike, it became evident that its audience is in fact older and more diverse. Specifically, 30 percent of esports viewers in the US are 25 to 34 years old, according to a study by audience targeting company GlobalWebIndex. The mean average age of an esports fan in the US is 32, making the sector an all the more interesting demographic for sportsbooks and other stakeholders. Moreover, over 450 million people watched esports in 2021 — a figure that’s estimated to hit 577 million by 2024 as highlighted by data analytics company Statista. To further explore what betting trends are set to emerge to drive demand in 2022, and how the esports and gaming 20
market will evolve, The Esports Journal spoke with Tomas Ericsson, Abios’ VP of Odds. THE REAL-TIME BETTING EXPERIENCE The digital nature of esports puts it in a unique position in the betting space. Every in-game action and movement can be captured as data points from the game’s servers. This creates opportunities for engaging live markets to emerge that simply aren’t possible in traditional sports betting. However, for this to become a reality, the industry must solve the issue of latency, Ericsson explained. Esports is usually consumed on streaming platforms such as Twitch or Youtube, amassing 1.6 billion and 517 million hours of esports live-streams watched respectively in 2021. In most games, parts of the map are obscured so competing teams aren’t able to see the opponents’ movement at any given point in time. To prevent teams and coaches from peeking behind the curtain through the match’s live streams (known as ghosting), video feeds are often delayed by 30-90 seconds. To be able to create a real-time betting experience, real-time data directly from the server is essential. If someone offers odds or streams faster than the esports
video feeds, it could lead to matchfixing. “Conversely, if creating odds on delayed data, a sportsbook can open itself up for arbitrage opportunities, provided there are other distributors on the market that have access to faster data,” Ericsson added. This is something that the industry should preferably address as a whole, as it currently affects all sportsbooks and suppliers operating in the esports space. THE EMERGENCE OF MOBILE ESPORTS Mobile esports made quite the entrance in 2021. According to Statista, its global market value is expected to hit $1.15bn (~£844m) by 2025. How can the esports betting sector take advantage of mobile esports’ rise in popularity and profitability? One way the betting industry could benefit from mobile esports — reaching into new markets and demographics — is through its audience which is usually located outside of Western esports markets. As big of an opportunity as this is, it brings its own set of challenges. For example, many regions in which mobile