The rise of esports has been little short of explosive in the past year and real money wagering is following suit.
The bookmaker bwin, which began offering esports markets in June 2015, has seen a huge rise in these markets in 2016. Betting on League of Legends, which equates to 69% of its esports betting, is expected to surpass the Champions League winner market if it continues at the current rate.
The rate at which this market is growing is the most fascinating thing however; only 66 days of 2016 represent a staggering two thirds of bwin’s total esports takings. This is an enormous increase of over 312%.
After League of Legends, the popular shooter CS:GO accounts for 15% of bwin’s esports betting, followed by Dota 2 at 10% and then Starcraft 2 at 6%.
The International, which saw a prize pool of over $18m in 2015, is a Dota 2 tournament organised by game developer Valve and is one of the most established, well attended and glamorous industry wide. Betting on the 2016 event will doubtless be big business, and bookmakers should act now to ensure esports bettors know about their markets come August.
In terms of which countries bet the most on esports, this will perhaps be surprising to some. Germany represents by far and away bwin’s largest turnover across esports betting, at 41%. The UK is seriously lagging behind and represents just 2%, though the UK scene is also growing fast with a UK player in the final of the FIFA Interactive World Cup this week.
The FIFA scene in Germany is further established however and this can be seen in the fact that Bundesliga club Wolfsburg have two professional FIFA players on their books; David ‘DaveBTW’ Bytheway and Benedikt Saltzer.
Will the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Barcelona one day be battling it out for the signature of the world’s top FIFA player? It could very well be the case, but for now we have to wait and see just how big betting on League of Legends and other esports titles gets this year.