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eSports’ popularity: how are betting and the Olympic Games involved?

Betting on eSports has gained increased popularity in the past few years with both sides – punters and online bookmakers reviewed at allbets.tv – showing persistent and ongoing interest in leveraging the opportunities of wagering on countless events concerning eSports games, matches, events or even entire tournaments. 

It is estimated that betting on eSports is now close to $11.2billion, while by 2029 it is anticipated to reach 26.5billion, growing at a CAGR of almost 13.1%. eSports are generally becoming bigger and growing stronger, while they are also increasingly being regarded as official, formal professional competitions such as their counterparts- the traditional sports. 

For nearly everyone who loves sports and is tech savvy, eSports not only constitute the intersection of the two worlds – sports and digital technologies – but they constitute one of the most interesting developments in gaming. 

Why are eSports becoming more popular?

eSports are no longer limited to the confines of ‘video gaming’, but they are evolving into full-fledged professional sport with millions of fans, followers, players, organizations, stakeholders and an entire surrounding ecosystem, which gradually places eSports into a corresponding high position in the world map of sports.

There are so many tournaments, competitions and events taking place every year, there are so many formal organizing bodies and there are also so many companies that are sponsoring eSport games, that they are turning into official sports recognized around the globe. 

All these eventually lead to the growth of eSports and the transformation of the games from addressing a niche segment to addressing the more mainstream viewer.

There are two basic trends responsible for the growth of eSports and their increasing transformation into more mainstream games: 

First, it is the role of betting and more specifically the contribution of sports bettors and betting sites in upgrading eSports and putting them into the global sports’ map.

Second, it is the role of the IOC and all the surrounding discussion of eSports becoming an official Olympic event in the Olympic Games. 

The role of betting 

eSports have millions of fans across the globe and every competition or tournament generally attracts the interest of people, irrespective of their level of involvement in the games. 

As professional competition in eSports games resembles more and more the confrontations and competitions in official sports, punters see many opportunities to place wagers, bet on and make predictions about matches and games just as they do in the regular, traditional sports. 

Sportsbooks and online betting platforms grasp these opportunities and generally focus on developing a strong portfolio of bets for eSports and configuring their expertise and technology resources in order to  provide a complete product market for offering appealing and attractive options for bettors. 

And what is the result of this? eSports betting becomes bigger and as betting grows, the events and competitions become more popular. 

The role of IOC discussions 

There is much rumor about eSports becoming an Olympic game and a lot of discussion has been developing around the issue of whether we are going to actually see eSports competitions in the Olympics. This discussion has spurred the popularity of eSports, despite the fact that becoming an official Olympic game is far from real, at least for the time being. 

Although the IOC can’t recognize as a formal sport any sport that doesn’t have a formal, fully-recognized and authorized federation, there have been some significant steps towards “negotiations”. The IeSF (International eSports Federation) is not formally recognized, but it has been supported by the Olympic Council of Asia (Singapore will host the first eSports Olympic week in 2023) and there are now discussions for eSports being included as exhibition event games in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. 

The Bottom Line

eSports are blossoming and they are expected to further blossom in the next few years as eSports betting and the discussions of being identified as an Olympic game are contributing to the rise in their popularity.