Sports betting and eSports await regulation to unite
Sports betting and eSports await regulation to unite

The eSports sector has sparked a huge stir in the sports betting industry, as evidenced by recent actions in these two markets. According to information published in Forbes magazine, in 2022, these sectors generated a combined total of around US$ 277 billion (equivalent to around R$ 1.4 trillion at current prices). Of these values, 66% correspond to bets in general and 44% refer to electronic sports.

Despite its strength, there are some obstacles that prevent the union of the two segments. Currently, eSports event rules generally prohibit sponsorship of brands of alcoholic beverages, cryptocurrencies and unregulated financial markets.

However, this situation may soon change, at least in Brazil. Companies in the betting industry are waiting for federal government regulation to expand their business. In turn, the federal government is planning to issue a provisional measure to regulate the matter by the beginning of April.

According to research by Máquina do Esporte, there are nearly 200 platforms currently operating in the country from offices abroad, offering sports betting services to Brazilian customers.

For betting companies, industry regulation means the possibility of expanding their platforms with more sports and an increase in the number of users. For electronic sports, this regulation means even more: in addition to opening possibilities for potential sponsors of teams and tournaments, it also increases the number of people who follow their championships, which are usually only noticed by the community of competitors and their fans.

Report highlights potential of eSports betting

Abios Gaming, a Swedish company specializing in esports data, released a report in early March 2023 that highlights which games and markets are leading sports betting around the world. The report is considered valuable as it provides guidance on the modes that can generate the most revenue for betting sites.

In descending order of revenue, the five titles that generate the most revenue in this market are: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2, Valorant and Call of Duty.

As for the most popular events for bettors, according to the report, CS:GO is unbeatable: out of the top five events, four are exclusive to the game. They include, in descending order: Intel Extreme Masters (IEM), ESL Pro League, Blast Premier, and PGL Major.

Brazil will host the biggest CS:GO event, the Intel Extreme Masters 2023, which will take place between April 17th and 23rd at the Jeunesse Arena, in Rio de Janeiro (RJ). This means that the community of fans of the game that generates the most revenue on betting sites will have their eyes turned to Brazil next month.

As for the dominance of CS:GO in bookmakers, the report offers a justification:

“With its fast-paced and easy-to-understand gameplay, CS:GO has gathered fans across a wide audience and is easy to engage with. Other eSports titles such as League of Legends and Dota 2 have many more parameters and mechanics to take into account and as such it may take longer for viewers to understand and enjoy all aspects of the game.”

The recent acquisitions of the segments

Entain, a company that brings together several betting companies, acquired Sportsflare, a betting solutions startup, for US$ 13.25 million (about R$ 69.8 million, at current prices). The startup belonged to the Canadian Tiidal Gaming before the acquisition.

Entain operates in the Brazilian market through its Sportingbet and Bwin brands. While Sportingbet does offer a ‘virtual sports’ category for bettors, it does not include the most famous eSports titles.

The company is headquartered in Douglas, on the Isle of Man, located between Ireland and the United Kingdom. Like most sports betting companies, Entain is based in remote locations due to streamlined bureaucracy and low operating costs.

Riot Games and its relationship with betting sites

Earlier this month, Turkish website Esporkolik claimed that Riot Games, maker of games like League of Legends and Valorant, would allow sponsorships from bookmakers at its events, which is currently prohibited by the company. However, the American company released a statement the next day, confirming the ban.

“While there has been no change to the current policy regarding which categories of team sponsors are considered approved, we will continue to evaluate all opportunities that provide safe and meaningful experiences that best support the growth of our esports ecosystem globally,” the company said in a statement. official announcement.

Either way, regulation would be favorable to both parties. The two industries are likely to collaborate to expand the culture of electronic games, gambling and, of course, further increase their revenues.