How does the growth of esports betting compare to football betting?

How does the growth of esports betting compare to football betting?

Over the past decade, esports has grown from a niche activity to a mainstream form of entertainment that rivals traditional sports. This rapid growth has fueled an explosion in esports betting that is giving football betting a run for its money.

Esports industry takes off

Esports refers to competitive, organized video gaming events and leagues that are usually streamed live for mass audiences. Some of the most popular esports games include League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. While esports events traced back to the early 2000s, the industry took off around 2013-2014. Improved live streaming capabilities and higher prize pools helped attract dedicated professional gamers, team organizations, sponsors, and fans. For example, the League of Legends World Championship boasted a prize pool of $2.13 million in 2014, then $5 million in 2015.

Other competitive circuits soon followed suit by increasing payouts into the millions. The bigger prizes and production values made esports more appealing as a spectator activity. Live streaming platforms like Twitch allow fans to easily watch competitions and follow their favorite players. Major events like the International Dota 2 Championships began selling out huge arenas as excitement grew. Esports viewership numbers reflect this rising interest: the total global audience went from 226 million in 2015 to 495 million by 2020.

Football betting a long-established industry

In contrast to the meteoric growth of esports, football betting has long been an established activity across the world. Wagering on the outcome of football matches most likely began soon after the formalized sport took shape in England in the 19th century. Many illegal neighborhood bookmakers took bets before sports gambling became officially regulated. The advent of the internet and online betting sites fundamentally changed sports gambling, making it quicker and easier to place wagers. Football betting saw rapid growth in the 2000s as more sites launched and competition drove attractive promotions like free bets, bonuses, odds boost, and live score tracking. The global online sports betting market size has ballooned from $20 billion in 2005 to projections of $114 billion by 2024. About 70% of those wagers are placed on football.

The UK leads the world in online sports gambling, where industry revenue grew from £1.6 billion in 2012 to £5.3 billion in 2018 while the market shares of online betting rose from 18% to 37% in the same period. The U.S. sports betting industry similarly expanded after the Supreme Court overturned a federal sports gambling ban in 2018, leading over half of states to legalize and regulate the activity since then. Visit for the spbo Livescore.

Esports betting playing catch-up 

Given the relative nascence and niche status of esports betting versus established football gambling markets, the newer industry has plenty of room for growth and impressive momentum. The esports betting industry was valued at just $650 million in 2020 but is forecast to surge to $20.1 billion by 2027. In the UK, esports wagers made up just 3% of total online betting in 2019. But revenue on esports gambling for the top 50 operators surged that year, from £12 million in 2018 to £55 million in 2019. More sportsbooks and betting sites are adding dedicated esports wagering options, payment systems, and bonuses to accommodate fan interest.

Some project that esports will catch up to or even overtake traditional sports betting revenue but that likely depends on varying growth factors in different countries. Esports face tougher restrictions in many Asian countries like South Korea and Japan that have fueled its growth, while football betting is widely popular across Europe. Sports gambling is generally more accessible than restricted video game wagering. In the United States, the newer esports betting industry grew to about $224 million in 2020 versus a total online sports betting market worth some $2 billion. So while esports betting has tremendous room for growth versus relatively established football gambling, surpassing such a dominant, long-popular industry could take well beyond this decade.