Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we’re currently in the throes of a national — and global — pandemic. To use a much-repeated phrase heard in the media these days, we are in truly unprecedented times. Not only does that phrase apply to our collective well-being, but it also can describe the current state of various industries throughout the country. Hospitals and doctors’ offices, restaurants, travel and tourism, brick and mortar retailers, and more are being hard hit by the coronavirus and its ensuing quarantine — and the gambling industry has been no exception.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen not only the closing of physical casinos across the New Jersey and Pennsylvania regions, in Las Vegas, and across the entire country, but also the breakdown of traditional sports betting markets due to most professional and collegiate sports being either postponed or canceled. This means that not only could gambling earnings decline sharply (Flutter Entertainment, the holding company for brands like FanDuel and others, is expecting a $135.6m loss), but for many bettors, there are now very few opportunities to make wagers.
Enter esports gambling.
Although it hasn’t been immune to the scores of canceled live events due to coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings, esports has mostly endured in this new environment, partly by virtue of its roots. People competitively playing video games against one another is typically a singular pursuit — because of this, esports has made the shift to an online environment smoothly, and for the most part, unscathed. In fact, esports seems to even be thriving in this brave new world — just last month, the esports gambling company Luckbox reported a 54% gain in new players.
Check out this video for an overview of esports and why they’re gaining popularity among gamblers, and read more below:
A Changing Landscape
Clearly, the gambling industry is facing new challenges and seeing new opportunities in these peculiar times. But what about gamblers themselves? For many, the absence of sports games and other live events has them turning to alternative betting options, like online poker, horse racing, and even ping pong. However, the popularity of esports is quickly gaining traction, and there is already plenty evidence of this transition. Loot.bet, an esports betting website, has seen a 20% increase in their daily bet volume, and esports has now become the number one offering on DraftKings, says cofounder Matt Kalish. Obviously, there’s no denying the seismic shift for both sportsbooks and bettors alike.
Here’s a quick glance at esports betting by the numbers:
Necessity Leads to Innovation
Esports hasn’t just quickly become a go-to destination for gamblers across the country and around the world — it has even paved the way for new and innovative gambling outlets. For instance, NASCAR recently unveiled its eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series, which uses virtual racing simulations in the place of live events. It’s precisely developments like this that show how traditional gambling will need to make room for esports and the whole new market it brings to the industry in the coming days, months, and years.
If you or someone you know is coping with problem gambling, there is help available. For resources, support, treatment, and hope, reach out to 800-GAMBLER today.