Brands are placing more of an emphasis on enhancing their esports offering within and with the news of a new CS:GO game to continue the popularity of that title, we got the views of Ivan Sazanov, Project Coordinator at BETBY, to find out about the added importance of esports within the brand’s strategy.
How important is the esports offering to your brand and the wider gambling industry?
It is no longer possible for gambling brands to have a competitive sportsbook that does not have an esports offering that sits alongside that.
Moreover, as the popularity of esports increases, brands should capitalise on the popularity and provide content to significantly improve its product portfolio.
Naturally for us, esports is one of the most important elements of the modern sportsbook. BETBY’s fully-fledged product suite satisfies the demand of a diverse esports audience, currently containing about 20 sports, including classics with Starcraft and Warcraft III alongside mobile games like Mobile Legends, Wild Rift, and Arena Of Valor.
But in order for an esports offering to be considered high-quality and attractive to end users, it is no longer enough to cover just the most recognised titles like CS:GO, Dota 2, League Of Legends, FIFA and Overwatch. Aiming to broaden and strengthen esport offer, BETBY created a unique and special product – Betby.Games, a proprietary esports offering.
This unique collection, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), organizes tournaments across popular sports such as Football, Cricket, and Basketball. The game mechanics of well-liked gaming titles in Betby.Games are entirely controlled by AI, eliminating the need for any human interaction to sustain the tournaments. This aspect guarantees the longevity of the collection, making it an invaluable asset to our sportsbook offering.
Has the perception of esports changed?
I think it would be fair to say that esports has turned from a niche activity into a strong and competitive industry in its own right.
You only need to look at the budgets of the biggest esports tournaments, the sizes of the audience, the broadcast coverage garnered and other indicators that continue to grow from year to year.
There is however one important point. Over the years, when esports gained momentum, its audience was constantly replenished with young people. Naturally, that audience grew up with the games, as they entered adulthood.
Having this following has helped the esports audience become more financially reliable and solvent, which has a direct impact on the betting industry.
The time when esports in betting was perceived as something that was not very profitable is over. Experienced online bookmakers understand that the average user registering on their sportsbook will most likely depend on how good the complementary esports content is.
What further developments do you anticipate in esports betting?
The ratio of the number of bets and the total turnover on esports to regular sports will continue to grow. Esports has already become an integral part of the betting industry, but it can and will still develop.
I expect greater technological advancements to make esports more of a professional and sought after form of online betting.
This includes potential agreements with more data operators to enable real-time trading without delay, which is currently a key hindrance to esports becoming a more attractive proposition for players.
Obviously, the breadth of markets for esports events does not yet reach the classic sporting events, even considering the fact that in popular tournaments it is common to bet on ‘Player Props’.
Within the games, there is a huge amount of different information that can be used to generate various unique markets. There is a huge opportunity for the first company that can implement this effectively will make a splash not only in the field of esports betting, but in the entire industry.
CS:GO 2 has generated a great deal of interest in the global community. A new, updated game in this popular series will not only to attract new players and viewers, but also the return of old ones, which will increase demand in the market.
We expect an increase in the number of semi-professional tournaments and teams that are created not for the sake of increasing interest, but with the aim of profiting from dishonest play and ensuring matchups are competitive.
This is happening on a regular basis already, and it will require more attention from both the tournament organisers and the risk management departments of betting companies to curtail irregular activity.
Has having your own in-house product allowed you to stand out in the market, rather than relying on major competitions and tournaments for traffic?
Our competitive advantage is encapsulated with the Betby.Games product that we created during the pandemic.
Despite forecasts that with the return of real sports traffic would begin to decline and the content would lose its relevance, it continues to develop and attract an ever-increasing audience. This in large part is thanks to its flexibility and customer-oriented approach.
Betby.Games has turned from a part of our sportsbook into a stand-alone and in-demand product. By generating a large amount of traffic, it makes a significant contribution to our customers who use the sportsbook in its entirety, and to individual companies outside of BETBY, to which Betby.Games supplies its product as a feed provider.
What is needed to convince operators that a gap can be bridged between traditional sports bettors and esports bettors?
From my perspective, esports has become so firmly integrated alongside sports betting that there is practically no difference between players who bet on CS:GO and Soccer.
The Super Bowl, and the concluding tournament on the Dota 2 circuit, The International, will attract millions of people from all over the world. The audiences of these most popular events will not overlap with each other, and you must be able to find a solution that appeals to both audiences.
If an operator wants to attract a large audience and, moreover, to continue to compete with other betting companies, it must be able to provide users with a high-quality offering for both regular sports and esports to engage players.
The numbers do not lie. In the world of betting, esports already occupies a significant share of all sports. Bookmakers that do not pay enough attention to its esports products are already losing money, and it will only be more difficult for them to compete in the future.