Worldwide more and more ESports events are being organized. At these events, gamers compete virtually against each other on a real stage surrounded by audience. This is often accompanied by prize money that an average official has to work for a few years. In 2017 the Esports market grew into a sector of no less than 700 million dollars, a year-on-year growth of 41.3%. Brands spent more than 517 million, divided into $ 155 million in advertising, $ 266 million in sponsorship, and another $ 95 million in media rights. This investment will more than double in 2020 and push the total market to an astronomical amount of no less than $ 1.5 billion.

Betting on Esports tournaments

It is no surprise that these skills-based contests go hand in hand with the growing desire to bet on the results. The Evo fight-game tournament, held at Mandalay Bay in 2017 and in various casinos in Las Vegas since 2005, has a culture of simple side betting where it is possible to question the legality of this. This proves once again that the legislation with regard to (online) gambling is something that needs attention in a structural way. Especially when it comes to Esports, the audience only gets younger and (online) gambling and betting is forbidden for young people because they often can not oversee the consequences and are more sensitive to the possible upsides (profit) instead of the more likely downsides (loss). And what about influencing the young players in order to set a race result?

However, the casino industry is eager to embrace competitive video games, believing that it provides a crucial platform for connecting with the hard-to-reach millennium generation. The decline of relatively young slot machine players has been going on for years and Esports can be the big breakthrough that the casino industry has been waiting for. The dynamics of eSports will, according to experts and insiders, have a big influence on casino games in the future.

As events around eSports become more popular, there is also a growing group of spectators who want to bet on these competitive matches. This will have to be managed in the right direction with the help of people who understand this. Some countries find it difficult to regulate the current – somewhat conservative – online gambling market.

eSports arena in Las Vegas

Las Vegas already has its own eSports arena, the Neonopolis in the center of Vegas. MGM Resorts is also working on a larger location near the Luxor on the Strip. Until that time, Level Up at the MGM Grand represents the casino giant’s efforts to build an arena, in the form of a 12,000-square-meter gaming hall for skill-based gaming.

neopolis esports arena las vegas Neonopolis ESports Arena Las Vegas

“Money making” culture

It is perhaps not surprising that competitive events such as Evo, the Evolution Championship Series, which have been held in Las Vegas casinos since 2005, inspire people to play for more than the winnings. Gamers at Evo want to increase the tension with so-called ‘money games’, where they challenge each other to use their money. Gamers claim that these are usually simple social bets, casual bets between friends for 5 or 10 dollars. But here too, the shift towards larger interests is visible.

In view of the enthusiasm for betting and the amount of money currently used in the eSports industry, it is only a matter of time before the parties expand this operation to something much larger, where the often vague rules are not taken so narrowly.

ESports and legislation

Discussions between casinos and tournament organizers are launched to ensure that everyone is aware of what is and is not allowed in the betting field and the expectations of casino operators. The exploding ESports industry also needs to be well regulated, especially because these types of tournaments can easily be set up online via channels such as Twitch.

Regardless of the type, both socially and informally, these bets and side bets are already taking place and this will continue to grow as the ESports market continues to grow. These bet sheep offer a huge opportunity if the industry makes it technically