Sports Betting Desperate for RegulationJake Cooper | 10 Jul 2017
The rise in popularity of eSports and the fledgling betting market that followed in its wake has been nothing short of meteoric. Bookmakers scrambled to offer markets and develop eSport-specific skin bets, and seasoned sports bettors clamoured to know more.
In 2016, the sector saw cash betting worth $750 million, and skin betting worth $5.1 billion. The sector also saw viewer figures climb to more than 210 million, and it generated revenues of more than $890 million.
Skin betting is the wagering of virtual items such as weapons, relics, and artefacts featured in popular games.
According to Susan O’Leary, the betting industry’s eSports sector is growing constantly, incredibly profitable, and desperate for proper regulation. The Alderney Gambling CEO said the challenges faced by the sector could place its future in jeopardy, and that proper regulation was the only way for it to survive.
In addition to the challenges posed by skin betting, the sector is also faced with the challenges that come with a global industry, the use of both real and virtual currencies, underage gambling, and the constant introduction of new wagering platforms.
O’Leary said that proper eSports betting regulation would safeguard punters as well as bookmakers, tournaments, professional players, leagues, and other industry and sector stakeholders. Also essential for sustainable industry growth is healthy cooperation between bookmakers, industry regulators, governments, and streaming services.
The Challenge of Underage eSports Betting
According to O’Leary, underage gambling is one of the biggest challenges facing the largely unregulated eSports betting industry. The better part of the eSports target market falls into the 18-32 age group, although it is also wildly popular among those under the age of 18.
Apart from the potential threat this poses to underage punters, it also poses a threat to the industry. It brings with it the risk of potentially disastrous scandals that could have far-reach consequences.
O’Leary said that, before industry regulators such as the Alderney Gambling Control Commission could regulate the eSports betting sector, the eSports industry would need to offer guidelines, and it would need to oversee regulation of the sector. This would require the eSports industry to establish a formal governing body.
eSports Betting Explained
eSports betting is the placing of wagers on either individual gamers or on teams of gamers participating in a competitive online video game event.
Bookmakers give odds and betting options as they would on other sports markets. Match bets, exotic bets, and live bets are just some of the options available to punters.