UK Slow To Offer eSports ScholarshipsJake Cooper | 28 Aug 2018
There is simply no denying that eSports is the new up and coming global trend. In the United States eSports popularity, and subsequently betting, is increasing dramatically. It makes sense then that more and more United States universities are rushing to adapt, offering programs and scholarships based around this blossoming trend. A smart move, most would agree. On the other hand, the United Kingdom seems to be slow in following the clear signs, hardly keeping up with the speedy adaption rate of United States universities.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming recently released research stating that around $6.7 billion in eSports bets were placed around the world in the last year. They admitted that this impressive number included betting above and below board, but it is still certainly not a number to be sneezed at. Regardless, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming made it clear that legalised eSports wagering was expected to dramatically increase in coming years. They pointed out the highly popular games Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Overwatch as the biggest draw cards amongst the youngest bettors.
Online Bookmakers Adapt
There is no question that traditional sports wagering is not on the decline, and still dominates the market. But online bookmakers can be seen scrambling to meet the developing trends, dedicating sections of their websites specifically to eSports betting.
In Canada, where betting options are severely restricted, betting on professional video games has seen a particularly massive spike. British Columbia, for example, saw ing on video games increase an astonishing 600% from April 2017, to July 2018.
Meanwhile, universities are likewise scrambling to be part of the obvious professional video game playing hype train. As of a recent count, over 80 academic institutes in the United States and Canada have decided to offer competitive gaming programs, with that number expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. The Robert Morris University even announced a sponsored League of Legends team, the first of its kind in the world.
UK Plays Catchup
In the UK, meanwhile, similar university programs have only been seen in recent months. This is perhaps because competitive gaming is only now making its way into the country, and gradually gaining similar popularity. The University of Roehampton is one of the first to take the initiative, in July 2018, with a scholarship of £6,000 for any students expressing interest in professional video game careers.
As of August 2018, this is the only university in the United Kingdom to have put forward such an offer, despite increasing opportunities in the country for professional competitive gaming. There is no doubt, however, that more universities will follow the trend, as it grows.