Esports gambling is no joke. The industry is currently worth over $1 billion. That’s a small number compared to other more traditional sports, but it hasn’t taken long for Esports to get to that number, and the future growth potential of the industry’s exponential.
Consider for a moment that in 2016, more than 60 million people tuned in to watch the League of Legends World Championship finals. That’s more people than tuned in to watch the 2015 Academy Awards. Here we are almost 5 years later with the 2020 Academy Awards around the corner and statistics continuing to show that fewer and fewer people are watching TV. That includes awards shows which used to represent a ratings bonanza for major television networks. It’s obvious that the young and energetic audience tuning into these Esports championships is what is causing the industry to explode.
Like any global phenomenon however, nearly every sport known to man started out with a niche following. So how exactly did playing video games become a sport, and how to become what is now one of the most popular sports in the world for a younger demographic?
The answer to that question is not only interesting and intriguing, and may play a big role in the future of technological adoption, especially as refers to the link between digital currencies and gambling. As more and more self-professed video gaming geeks turn pro in search of big-time prize money, more and more Bitcoin gambling sites will do whatever it takes to appeal to that video-game crazed audience in search of more profit.
The First Major Esports Prize Winner Ever
Dennis “Thresh” Fong became a master of first-person shooter games before reaching his 20s. He was born in 1977 and is now 42 years old. But it was in 1997 that he really made a name for himself. Playing the games Quake and Doom, Fong showed young enthusiasts interested in gaming how to duck, dodge, hide and shoot their way to victory before there were too many major tournaments handing out money or prizes. His skills and encouraged more and more people to play at a time in the late 1990s when the average household was getting used to accessing the Internet on a day-to-day basis.
Fong became a household name when he won a big tournament and ended up driving home in a Ferrari as a result. It was arguably the first bit of mass media exposure for a well-known player Esports player. In the decade following Fong’s biggest wins, advancements in Internet speed allowed more and more people to start gaming online.
The Esports Skins Scheme
In video games, skins are simply newer or better versions of in-game weapons or tools that make characters more valuable and the gaming experience more entertaining. As the world of Esports continued to grow, gamers realized that acquiring these skin by paying for them was easier than trying to win them in the game. The desire to get better skins sparked the growth of a new kind of marketplace. While there are many skins marketplaces on the web today, Steam is one of the most popular.
In any line of business and asset is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it. In 2015, two famous Esports Youtubers, TmarTn and ProSyndicate registered a lottery website related to the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive. In short, players can win valuable skins in a lottery which they would then trade for money somewhere else. The problem with the idea is that the YouTube users didn’t disclose ownership of the site and they eventually made so much money, the FTC came after them and similar sites, shutting them down. Eighteen years after Thresh won a Ferrari, the government began shutting down Esports betting sites.
Using Crypto to Bet on Esports
Wherever there is a grey or black market, let’s be honest with ourselves here, cryptocurrency is a useful tool. It is been said for many years that criminals are always one step ahead of authorities when it comes to technology. While betting on Esports isn’t necessarily a crime, it’s obvious that savvy entrepreneurs wanting a piece of both the Esports and cryptocurrency craze might be smart enough to find ways to combine the two.
Even Mark Cuban, star of the hit investing show Shark Tank and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks is in on the action. He’s invested in Unikoin Gold, a crypto platform that takes bets on Esports. He is not the only one taking the opportunity to cash in. Nowadays the average online bettor can slip and fall on tons of different websites that offer crypto-friendly esports betting.
The only question now is, what’s next for the future of Esports betting? If history is any indication, it’ll be a lot of money and excitement for both Esports gamers and crypto investors.