The origins of eSports can be dated back to 1971 in an event when interdisciplinary students participated in a vintage Spacewar game. While it was not an eSport per se, it paved the way for the first competitive gaming event, the 1980 Space Invaders Championship.
But for betting, it was not until the start of the last decade that eSports betting became a reality. This was at a time when the eSports scene started to host online multiplayer tournaments. So betting could have been featured in the gambling scene earlier. Still, there were concerns that most of the players who enjoyed eSports were under 18, meaning they were not allowed to gamble. What's more? eSports was highly unregulated, so match rigging issues would arise.
But with the popularization of eSports teams, things took a different turn. First, eSports grew more popular, attracting even adults who were legally allowed to bet. Then came huge sponsorship deals and enormous viewership that took eSports to the next level.
Esports is a competitive pastime where professional players have contracts and hefty paychecks, just like traditional pro athletes. There are plenty of top tournaments that attract millions of dollars in prize money.
Bookmakers, on the other hand, have tapped into the ever-growing demand for eSports betting markets. Operators are rushing to offer players the latest eSports markets to supplement virtual games, which lack that human touch.
From all indications, eSports betting is among the fastest-growing categories in the entire online gambling industry.
According to the recent numbers, the eSports betting market size is expected to hit a whopping $205 billion by 2027. Interestingly, there were over 6.5 million eSports bettors in 2020. Of course, the number of eSports bettors has shot up now that eSports is the newest kid on the block in the sports betting world.