The State of Esports Betting 2020

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The State of Esports Betting A closer look at the 2020 Esports Betting Market during sports drought and beyond May 2020

01. Introduction 02. Rising along traditional sports 03. Betting coverage 04. Growing during the sports drought 05. Impact on betting behavior 06. Meet the esports bettors 07. Key data for esports betting 08. Long term profitability


Introduction The unfolding events of 2020 threw the world into a whirlwind of changes, cascading across industries. Sports betting was faced with the cancellation of virtually all sports events, and in order to mitigate the effects, it instantly turned to esports. Carried overnight from the peripherals of sports into the spotlight, statistics begin to show that esports are very likely to be more than an emergency solution. They are now integrated into the sportsbooks, and emerging market figures show faster‐than‐ever adoption rates among punters. Our aim is to estimate the long‐term potential of esports betting. Going further, we will deep dive into a substantial amount of data, analyzing how esports compare to traditional sports in terms of key metrics, their impact on both operators and providers, the integration solutions EveryMatrix provides, as well as other esports essential stats. The comprehensive information gathered here will empower you with up‐to‐date insights into how esports can become an enduring growth strategy for sportsbook operators.

Premises of esports betting as an enduring growth strategy To understand more of what esports could mean for the future of sports betting, we need some perspective on its audience. Before sports crisis, it was estimated that there will be near half a billion esports enthusiasts in 2020, with 2 billion people being aware of their existence. In terms of how this potential translates into the betting world, it was approximated that total wagers could reach between $12 and $15 billion by the end of 2020. [source: Narus Advisors/Eilers & Krejcik Gaming]

With the learning that the esports market size is a very promising one, we can focus on what piques its interest when intersected with sports betting; the first thing that EveryMatrix quickly noticed is that sports‐simulation games have a much faster adoption rate among sports punters. Users who are already familiar with regular sports can easily switch to a different form of entertainment in a similar setting. On top of this, sports organizations were no strangers to esports before, but the current pandemic has seen an increase of esports tournaments and leagues backed by official bodies ‐ for example, the NBA2k Players Tournament had its first edition this year. Based on this, it proves very useful to split up esports into two distinct categories: simulation of real‐life sports, and classic games. The first are clearly the key drivers in overturning the current sports betting situation, but on the long term, there is a strong case for the latter as well.

growth in esports

FIFA + NBA2k of the betting volume

[source : OddsMatrix betting data across 10 bookmakers]

Under these circumstances, the x40 growth in esports that we have seen in less than a month was mainly fueled by two major esports sports titles: FIFA and NBA2k, which made 80% of the total betting volume.

A key metric confirms that 85% of the total esports betting volume for classic esports games belongs to League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2. This justifies a double‐layered approach of the betting audience: operators can bring now a new experience to the sports audience and draw in a larger share of the esports audience on the long term. With either option, the key is to act fast – especially since drops up to 90% across some sports bookmakers have been estimated. Our cross‐operator data support the idea that implementing a fast and reliable esports solutions can reduce the current drop in sports betting, and further support longstanding goals.

[source: Narus Advisors/Eilers & Krejcik Gaming]


Esports is rising along traditional sports Throughout the 2000s, esports (or competitive video gaming) have evolved into a multibillion‐dollar industry, and all predictions count on them growing even more, anticipating a total global revenue of more than 12 billion USD in 2020. The recent sports lockdown has also thrown a wild card into the game – with traditional sports events postponed until further notice, all eyes have now turned on esports to fill in the gap, giving viewers and punters new horizons. But the esports arena is a promising one, even without such disruptive socio‐economic events. Powered through the 21st century by the internet’s growth, esports skyrocketed and reached mainstream media – for instance, in 2015, ESPN aired its first esports tournament, Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.

USD estimated in 2020 global esports industry

By beginning of 2019, esports total audience reached an impressive 453‐million viewers (a 12.3% year‐over‐year increase, according to the NewZoo Global Esports Market Report), 57% belonging to the Asia Pacific region. The content is rich, and it is there for the taking. In 2019 alone, there were 885 major esports events. More than that, there are advanced talks of having esports included in the official programs of several Olympic games’ events. In 2018, they were included as demonstration sports at the Asian Olympics, and they are likely to be included in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics as well.

2018 Esports Events viewers

In comparison to traditional sports, according to FIFA, 2018’s World Cup Final between France and Croatia reached an average live audience of 517‐million viewers. The conclusion is obvious. The video gaming competitions switched from personal entertainment to a spectator sport, opening a whole new world of possibilities for the betting industry.

2018 World Cup Final viewers


Esports betting coverage is as big as real-life sports Esports is a big deal and only getting bigger. It’s essential that gaming companies understand how esports fit into the emerging puzzle. In these times for the world of sports betting, esports come as a serious alterative: they offer a colossal amount of engaging content and betting markets, as well as a huge audience. And while the inclusion of esports as official sports is still a matter of debate, important steps are made in that direction. In this respect, esports betting is already stepping ahead in the game, and operators that integrate esports in their offering will be better prepared for the future in two essential ways.

On the one hand, they are exposing traditional sports punters to esports, increasing the adoption rate and preparing ahead of time for the possibility that esports are officially recognized as sports. On the other hand, there is already a huge fan base for esports, so attracting more wagers is the next step – this is a new audience, to be added on top of the traditional layer. To better understand the possibilities esports offer, let’s take a short tour through our both sports and esports event offering for April 2019 and April 2020 predictions and see how they compare.

[source : OddsMatrix Coverage Report April 2019 vs. April 2020]


Esports growing during sports drought Our esports product was first released in early 2019, as part of our endeavor to provide our specialized esports client Luckbox with a competitive offering of around 2,500 events monthly at the time of its debut. Fast forward one year later, and in just four weeks since the sport crisis begun, the esports coverage grew to a staggering 50,000+ esports events monthly. Across our clients, esports adds now almost 100% in turnover for April 2020 with an overall raise close to factor 40.

Esports Live Events per week and share in turnover

Most popular esports betting markets by turnover for FIFA & NBA2k

Most popular esports betting markets by turnover for CS:GO & LOL

Average bet value sports vs. esports, pre and during sports lockdown


Impact on sports and esports betting behavior and profitability The worldwide cancellation of sports events has generated a considerable increase in the traditional bettors moving on to esports. Before March 9, the share of esports players was 2%. After March 16, it went up to 27%.

The following info is based on a data sample across 10 bookmakers targeting Central and Eastern Europe. Before sports lockdown dates: 17 February – 9 March During sports lockdown dates: 16 March – 6 April Esports bettor = a player who has a turnover on esports higher than 33%. Real sports bettor = player who bets on non‐esports

Sports vs esports betting behavior

of the players who used to bet on recent period before sports lockdown dates now stopped placing bets.

of the players who did not place bets in recent period before sports lockdown dates, are now esports bettors.

of the players who were real sports bettors before sports lockdown made the transition to being esports bettors now (with a turnover on esports higher than 33%)

Sports vs esports turnover comparison Before sports lockdown: • Avg Turnover per player Real Sports: 930 € (median: 67 €) • Avg Turnover per player Esports: 159 € (median: 8 €) During sports lockdown: • Avg Turnover per player Real Sports: 733 € (median: 45 €) • Avg Turnover per player Esports: 473 € (median: 29 €)

Sports vs esports GGR comparison Before sports lockdown: • Avg GGR per player Real Sports: 99 € (median: 11 €) • Avg GGR per player Esports: 13 € (median: 4 €) During sports lockdown: • Avg GGR per player Real Sports: 53 € (median: 8 €) • Avg GGR per player* Esports: 31 € (median: 5 €) *Avg GGR for esports is constantly growing week after week.

Sports vs. esports Turnover evolution March 16 – April 6


Meet the esports cheering crowd and bettors In 2019, 54% of the crowd that cheered for esports players was aged between 21 ‐ 35 years and included mostly high‐income, full‐time professionals. They are willing to spend vast amounts of money in the digital realm, so companies are racing to attract and monetize the esports audience. For 2020, all predictions have been thrown in the air, but the signs are great for the industry. For example, live‐streaming viewership aged 21 ‐ 35 has surged in March 2020, with week‐to‐week increases by 10% for Twitch and 15% for YouTube Gaming. It’s a big moment for esports, and we are seeing sports fans turning to esports as a form of entertainment (especially NBA 2k, FIFA and others with real‐life correspondents). Traditional Esports events also give bookmakers a rare opportunity to target and bring over a new audience.

of esports viewers are aged 21‐35 years, high income, full‐time professionals

Sports vs esports – age intervals (%) February 17 - March 9

Sports vs esports – age intervals (%) March 16 – April 4

Esports pre and during sports lockdown As of today, close to half of the core betting audience of esports is represented by people with ages between 26‐35. And this comes with the launch of many exciting events such as the virtual edition of the Australian Grand Prix, or NBA players joining NBA 2k and being broadcasted on live TV. We expect punters to bet more often as FIFA matches only take between 8‐15 minutes while a football match last close to 2 hours.


Key drivers of esports betting While the list of esports games genres and subgenres is huge, currently there are a few games, few types and few betting markets that count the most.

Popular Sports Games

Popular First‐person shooter

Popular MOBAs

Popular Real‐time strategy games

Popular Third‐person shooter

Popular misc


Counter Strike: Global Offensive

DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients)

StarCraft 2


Mortal Kombat


Rainbow Six

LOL (League of Legends)

World of Warcraft

Player Unknown's Battlegrounds

Formula 1

Most popular types of esports betting Real‐money betting fixed‐odds betting Social betting private, between individuals Skin and item betting

Most popular types of esports betting markets Winner of the whole event or event parts, like maps, halves or quarters Amount of scoring units, like goals, points, kills Handicaps: betting on the winning margin of a team Correct scores

FIFA Gameplay simulates a typical game of football, with the player controlling an entire team (11 starters plus substitutes) or a selected player; objectives coincide with the rules of football and presentation resembles actual televised football games. The latest installment in the series contains many exclusively licensed leagues and teams from around the world, including the German Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, English Premier League and EFL Championship, Italian Serie A and Serie B, Spanish La Liga and La Liga 2, French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, Portuguese Liga, Turkish Süper Lig and many more. Other popular clubs from around the world, such as teams from Greece, Ukraine and South Africa, are also included. The main series has been supplemented with major tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA European Football Championship. One of the biggest tournaments is FIFA eWorld Cup 2020™. The top 128 players in the Global Series Rankings will get one more opportunity to earn points at the Playoffs. After the playoffs, the top 32 competitors in the Rankings will advance to the FIFA eWorld Cup™. Competitive matches are played in two halves that have various durations (4, 5 and 6 minutes), the most popular being the 6 minutes half. There are several variable factors: halftime is an additional 40 seconds if un‐skipped, each player is allowed three 38 second pauses for substitutions, stoppage time is variable and the game clock slows to real time (second for second) when the ball is out of play so a FIFA competitive match can exceed 18 minutes. Popular betting markets: Total Goals Under/Over, Home – Draw – Away, Both Teams to Score.

NBA2k Gameplay simulates a typical game of basketball, with the player controlling an entire team (5 starters and a substitute) or a selected player; objectives coincide with the rules of basketball and presentation resembles actual televised NBA games. Various game modes have been featured in the series, allowing for gameplay variety. The main game is played in four quarters of five minutes each, overtime being available as well. Quarter length can be adjusted to last between one and twelve minutes. NBA2K Players Tournament was the first ever tournament, bringing together the best 16 players in the world. On the line for the competitors ‐ $100K for their charity of choice, and the title of NBA 2K20 Players Champion. Popular betting markets: Home – Away, Rounds Over/Under, Correct Score, Asian Handicap.

CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) The game pits two teams against each other: the Terrorists and the Counter‐Terrorists. Both sides are tasked with eliminating the other while also completing separate objectives. The Terrorists must either plant the bomb or defend the hostages, while the Counter‐Terrorists must either prevent the bomb from being planted, defuse the bomb, or rescue the hostages. The game format depends on the tournament importance and the phase in which it is currently played: best of 1 (winning the map equals to winning the game), best of 3 (winning two maps equals to winning the game) and best of 5 (winning three maps equals to winning the game). In order to win a map, one of the teams need to reach a total of 16 rounds. If a map ends in a tie (15:15 score on rounds), overtime might be available as well, hence the duration of match might be up to 90 minutes. There are different competitive maps which are currently being played such as: Dust 2, Mirage, Cache, Inferno, Overpass. The most common format is a 5 vs. 5 players matchup, but sometimes there are special championship for 1 vs. 1 and 2 vs. 2 players matchup. The CS:GO Major Championships, commonly known as Majors, bring up to 24 world‐wide professional teams and the prize pool can exceed $1.5 million per tournament. Popular betting markets: Home – Away, Rounds Over/Under, Correct Score, Asian Handicap.

DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients) Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve. It is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the 10 players independently controls a powerful character, known as a "hero", who all have unique abilities and styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully defeat the opposing team's heroes in player versus player combat. A team wins by being the first to destroy the other team's "Ancient", a large structure located within their base. Each individual match can last anywhere between 25 minutes and 60 minutes. Popular betting markets: Match Winner, Games Handicap, Game Winner, Game Total Kills.

LOL (League of Legends) League of Legends (LOL) is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games. It is one of the most popular video games and eSport in the world. It is played by over 100 million active users every single month. In League of Legends, players assume the role of a "champion" with unique abilities and battle against a team of other player or computer‐controlled champions. The goal is usually to destroy the opposing team's "Nexus", a structure that lies at the heart of a base protected by a defensive structure. The common format used when playing online is a 5 vs. 5 players matchup. Each individual match can last anywhere between 20 minutes and 50 minutes. In rare cases, matches may last over an hour. Popular betting markets: Match Winner, Total Games, Games Handicap, Game Winner, Game Total Kills.

Key esports solution providers Provider

Esports Titles





Data Feed



FIFA, NBA2K, CS:GO, DOTA2, LOL, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, COD, Smash, R6, Starcraft, Stracraft2, Warcraft 3, Rocket Leagu, KoG, Fortnite, PUNG, Fortnite. Coming soon: eTennis, eIce Hockey, eFighting and eMotor.





odds, live scores, stats

Yes EU


LOL, COD, DOTA2, CS:GO, R6, LOL, Overwatch, KoG, Stracraft, Starcraft 2, Rocket League, eHockey


up to 45

odds, live scores, results, stats



CS:GO, DOTA2, LOL, Overwatch, R6, Starcraft, Starcraft 2, FIFA


up to 12

odds, live scores, results, stats



COD, CS:GO, DOTA2, KoG, LOL, Overwatch, R6, Starcraft, FIFA, NBA2K, eHockey, eVolleyball



up to 12

odds, live scores, results



FIFA, COD, CS:GO, DOTA, LOL, MotoGP, Overwatch, R6, Rocket League, Starcraft, Tencent


up to 10

odds, live scores, stats



FIFA, NBA2K, eBasketball, eTennis, Mortal Kombat, LOL, Overwatch, CS:GO, DOTA2, KoG, Starcraft, Starcraft 2, R6, Rocket League





odds, live scores, results, stats

Yes EU & Asian


CS:GO, DOTA2, LOL, Overwatch, COD, HearthStone, R6, Starcraft 2, Rocket League, NBA2K, Arena of Valor




up to 25

odds, live scores, results, stats


Betting Promotion

2K Sports, CS:GO, Clash Royale, DOTA2, LOL, Overwatch, COD, Hearthstone, Overwatch, PUBG, R6, Stracraft, Starcraft 2, Rocket League, Smite, Street Fighter, World of tanks, WOW III





odds, live scores, stats


Information gathered during the market analysis phase from various sources such as official websites, press releases, etc. Provided figures are subject to change.

Key esports suppliers Supplier


Esports Events






Live results, Fixtures, Brackets


Up to 95% odds uptime, Risk Management, Fraud detection



5,000+ events/month


8 widgets: pre‐match, live and streaming widgets for CS: GO, LOL and DOTA; pre‐match and streaming widgets for FIFA and Rocket League



1,000+ live events/month 16,000+ events/year



Offer additionally 5 esports as virtuals: Betting before a 90sec condensed stream of the event is shown. CSGO, Streetfighter, Mortal Combat, Rocket League



not stated


6 crypto eWallet widgets: 3 small sizes, 2 rectangle sizes and 1 letterhead size



15,200+ events/year 6,300+ live events/year




Computer vision for deep data collection, AI + dedicated esports trading team



30,000+ events/year




Results, Live results, Streaming, Stats

Bayes Esport


up to 2,500+ events/month


1 widget: Esports Calendar


Fixtures and results for free, Bedex (esports data exchange), Data analysis and dependencies between markets/match events

Information gathered during the market analysis phase, from various sources such as official websites, press releases, etc. Provided figures are subject to change.

Key pure esports operators Operator

In‐play markets range

Pre‐match markets range



1 to 82

1 to 82

Results, Live scores, Streaming


2 to 20

1 to 12

Live scores, Streaming


2 to 30

2 to 30

Results, Live scores, Stats, Streaming, Convert skins to cash

2 to 40

2 to 40

Live scores, Streaming

1 to 85

1 to 85

Live scores, Streaming

1 to 30

1 to 15

Live scores, Streaming


1 to 12

1 to 12

Results, Live scores, Streaming


1 to 25

1 to 18

Results, Live scores, Streaming, Bets distribution


1 to 26

1 to 14

Live scores, Streaming


1 to 80

1 to 80

Live scores, Stats, Streaming

Information gathered during the market analysis phase, from various sources such as official websites, press releases, etc. Provided figures are subject to change.


Investing in esports betting and the long-term benefits Up to this point, all of our data indicate a strong positive trend for esports in iGaming. Over the past few years, growth in esports betting has been extremely high and the number of bookmakers offering esports betting has roughly been doubling annually. Our projections indicate an on‐going upward course for esports betting, especially due to its potential to unlock new revenue streams from new audiences. Therefore, despite the fact that the public listed gambling companies are still laggards in this space compared to the private companies, there is still time for them to become more involved. Today, OddsMatrix Esports Services offer operators the industry’s most extensive coverage of esports events and tournaments across 19 most popular titles, including niche games like Rocket League and others. eTennis, eICE Hockey, eFighting and eMotor coming in May 2020.

Current esports offering


Heroes of the Storm

Warcraft III

NBA 2k



League of Legends


Call of Duty


Rainbow Six

Starcraft 2

Starcraft: Brood War

Rocket League

King of Glory





Esports coverage

Pre‐match Events

Live Events

Pre‐match Markets (up to)

Live Markets (up to)



































Source: OddsMatrix Esports coverage for April 2020

Esports highlights Available as fully managed esports hosted solution or data feeds Real‐time pre‐match and live odds, stats, scores, settlements Video streaming for 80% of the live events in both overview and match page Seamless integration to your wallet and player session handling Includes Bonus System with access to full reports for use with your esports tab Team and tournament logos included Scoreboard specially designed for esports Massive selection of dedicated markets Fully automated trading Tweak odds and customize profit margins via trading tool Abios widgets with match history and real‐time stats integrated on request

Esports front-end

Esports integration OddsMatrix Esports Hosted Solution can be integrated as a new, customizable tab to swiftly establish a presence in esports betting in just 1‐2 weeks. The bespoke tab can be seamlessly integrated with the operators’ wallets and player sessions. Sportsbook operators can turn to OddsMatrix rapid integration tab as an agile solution for adopting esports and supported by a diverse offering of esports titles with more than 35,000 live events.

Keeping our eyes on the future, it makes sense to integrate these short‐term actions into a strategic business plan. The current esports phenomenon drive traditional sports bettors towards new waging options, simultaneously drawing in a new audience: esports players. For those able to retain large shares of both, esports will quickly turn from a fallback solution into an enduring investment and significant revenues.

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