Betting turns to Tote dynamics to engage esports crowds

Betting’s current context sees Tote betting and pool systems function as a wagering discipline primarily serviced through horse racing. To date debate and opinion have focused on how to modernise the Tote for modern audiences, dragging pool systems into the 21st century

In order to capitalise on its exponential growth in recent years, a handful of esports operators have opted to take an unconventional leap into Tote betting to capture a ‘GenZ’ audience.

Phill Adams, CEO of RPGG, and his team has created Puntt.gg a new esports betting website set to launch next month that combines these two different ideals to tap into ‘generation Z’.

Adams, who has nearly 20 years experience in the horse racing and betting industry, explained: “Two years ago, our sister company, DDL, was working on a tote system in Mauritius, Barbados and the UK.  The developers, who are esports fans, were saying ‘we would love a product like this for esports’.

Phill Adams -RPGG

“They wanted more than the current bookmaker offering of ‘is Team A going to win or Team B going to win’. If the two teams are evenly matched, you’re talking about odds of 1.7 or 1.8/1.” 

He continued: “So as a company, we looked at the totes we were building and said to ourselves this would really work for esports. We could offer more bet types, have better returns and not worry about our liability if we get the odds wrong.”

One of the biggest issues with esports betting is a lack of data and industry knowledge. Countless generations have had vast years of data and knowledge on sports such as horse racing and football, yet esports is still in its infancy. 

Tote betting could provide a solution to the lack of knowledge in this new sector, providing bookmakers the baseline odds they need largely due to the fact that it’s dictated by the punters own knowledge.

Currently customers are only being offered fixed-odds bet on teams, and these definitely have their place, stated Adams.

However, in new areas like esports, fixed odds does have weaknesses. You need odd setters to be able to price markets up if you are a bookmaker and you price up a market you don’t understand, then you won’t be a bookmaker for very long.”

As mentioned previously, the element of player-specific betting is another technique that has yet to be tested in the esports market. According to the 2019 McKinsey report, The keys to esports marketing: Don’t get ‘ganked’, 45% of avid US esport fans have a favourite player/streamer, compared to only 37% who recognised three major teams – insinuating that the sector is more player-centric in terms of marketability. 

However, by launching specific tote betting solutions on niche odds, there is a risk of over-complicating a market that is still developing by including markets on scenarios such as which player gets the most kills or gold in a game of CS:GO..

“There is a possibility that customers will find this “tyranny of choice” too overwhelming,’‘ explained the RPGG CEO.

“We have teamed up with a stats Professor and an Artificial intelligence firm to help us build an AI model that uses past performance data to predict what the odds of each player winning a match are. This AI crunches through the available data and predicts the likelihood of each outcome.”

Finally, the reason tote betting is being considered as a betting solution in esports is because firms want to be the first to fully reap the potential benefits competitive gaming offers. 

In 2017 the median age of esports fans is 28, according to GameScape from Interpret, LLC, showing that if bookmakers want to break the generational gap that seems to be growing in betting, then esports is clearly the target market. 

Adams concluded: “Bookmakers absolutely want to offer esports betting. They know there is money to be made from it.  But it’s not necessarily something they can relate to in their day to day lives.

“There is an understanding from operators that there are a lot of people watching esports. But there is a mismatch between the people who work for bookmakers, who are generally people who like betting and that’s normally on football and horse racing.”

Major firms have now started to find ways to use the platform in order to speak to Gen Z and above. Companies like Puntt.gg, SIS and STS are all attempting to open up new avenues into the sector. As the industry continues to grow, it’s only a matter of time before more companies join the esports betting environment, whether that be through totes, exchanges or advanced fixed odds.

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