By Emre Bilginoglu, Attorney-at-Law, Istanbul, Turkey
US$8 billion: this is not the GDP of a developing country, but the total wagers in online e-sports betting.
The e-sports betting industry recorded a revenue of US$560 million this year and is expected to grow exponentially in the near future.
This, of course, raises the question: is the rise of gambling good for the e-sports ecosystem?
First, note that betting companies do not have to pay licensing fees to the publishers. So, the revenue does not automatically pour into the e-sports ecosystem.
However, betting companies will surely want their names on the scene. The fierce competition in such a lucrative market would enable huge advertisement deals for players, teams and organizers. Most importantly, betters are often e-sports enthusiasts who actually watch the matches, which accounts for the young population. The youth could very well keep their habits of betting in e-sports in the long run.
Second, although unregulated betting is highly available on the Internet, betters seek for returns and this is through safe companies. Therefore, betters will usually look for reliable companies. After all, they are the ones that comply with certain standards and better regulation means healthier profits.
Betting companies will look to be more reliable and will try to offer live betting for all sorts of features in games. One should keep in mind that this is an industry which will update itself by adding new games to the portfolio, which will equate to more income.
More money surely means more threats to the integrity of e-sports. The organizers should keep up with tracking match fixing, which is relatively easier in e-sports compared to other sports.
As long as the integrity of e-sports is not put into jeopardy, e-sports betting means more income for the ecosystem in the long run, which is evidently good for it!
But, what about the risk of gambling addiction amongst the followers of e-sports, whose age range is 25-34 and many of whose disposable income exceeds US$50,000 a year?
Emre Bilginoglu, who is also admitted to practise Law in the State of New York, USA, may be contacted by e-mail at ‘email@example.com’