The coronavirus outbreak has been bad news for the majority of businesses, with many hit so hard that they will likely be forced to close; pubs, restaurants, and airlines in particular are struggling.
In the gambling industry sports betting has taken a huge hit since 90% of sports are not currently being played. But as in any global crisis, there are certain businesses and sectors that actually come out smiling.
Anyone who owns shares in hand sanitiser or loo roll companies will be seeing a very healthy return on their investment this year, and within the betting industry esports has taken centre stage.
Changes in Esports & Virtual Betting Behaviour
The UKGC recently published various statistics demonstrating how the global pandemic has impacted the industry, and virtual betting has come out of it very well indeed.
During March of this year as lockdown began, virtual betting was up a massive 40% on the same time in 2019, while the number of people who had made a bet on a virtual product during that same period was up 88%.
Those involved in the Esports world will be hoping to retain some of this market share post lockdown and the fact that so many people have tried virtual betting for the first time when they otherwise wouldn’t have could well have a lasting impact.
What Esports & Virtuals are People Betting on?
Esports had been growing more and more popular even before the outbreak, but the growth had been a steady ascent rather than the spike we see now, and with games like Counter Strike and Call of Duty dominating the market many sports bettors still didn’t see anything they could get on board with.
Given the circumstances it is most likely that this sharp rise in interest comes from sports bettors using the virtual versions of their go-to sports to fill a gap. That means things like virtual football, basketball, horse racing, etc. It’s less likely that traditional sports bettors are suddenly wagering on teenagers playing Rainbow Six.
These betting markets are more sophisticated than ever, with some running whole seasons throughout the day so bettors can follow teams and even check stats.
EveryMatrix, a software development provider and, until last year, white label provider to the UK, recently published a report on Esports betting in America which showed that betting on sports centric games like FIFA and NBA 2K made up 80% of Esports bets.
This tells us that bettors are happy to wager on Esports if those sports are already known to them.