At first glance, one might consider the worlds of esports and casino gambling to be two completely different entities unto themselves. However, recent data suggest that these two massive industries are starting to establish closer and closer ties to one another. Many online casinos are now starting to stir excitement around the world of competitive gaming. It’s worth noting that the special casino esports arenas in Las Vegas have helped bridge the gap between these two industries. In fact, many casino brands are now even sponsoring many of the world’s most prominent esports teams and personalities. One example is the famous Luxor Casino. This classic Vegas institution has been known to be incredibly supportive of the growth of the esports industry. Casino games and competitive computer games are now slowly sharing the spotlight and yielding favorable results for consumers and service providers alike.
One of the main reasons that traditional entities of the casino industry are now expanding to the eSports economic arena is that they are trying to penetrate younger markets. As the data circulating around the gaming industry shows, many younger earners are willing to spend a considerable amount of their money on gaming-related activities and assets. Many savvy casino investors and thought leaders saw this as an opportunity to marry the two industries in order to grow each other’s respective markets. One prominent milestone in this developing trend was the establishment of the allied HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel. The facility boasts of impressive 30,000-square feet that are designed to accommodate some of the most prominent esports competitions in the world.
Another way in which gambling and esports disciplines have married one another is through sports betting. Traditionally, sports betting was merely limited to athletic sports like horseracing, basketball, boxing, and football to name a few. Nowadays, many casinos are offering gamblers the opportunity to bet on the results of esports tournaments and competitions. This is especially prominent in the United Kingdom wherein the gross gambling yield of esports betting grew from just £50,223 in 2019 to £4,616,610 in the succeeding year.
Merging of Two Titans
While the marrying of these two industries may still be in its infantile stages, there’s no reason to doubt a potentially massive rise within the near future. There are numerous small efforts that are now interconnecting both competitive gaming and casino gambling. For example, take Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). It’s considered one of the most popular first-person shooter (FPS) games in the world despite having been released nearly a decade ago. The game is still one of the most played titles in Valve’s Steam engine garnering as many as 24 million active monthly users. In Counter-Strike, players are given the opportunity to purchase skins as a form of downloadable content (DLC) in order to personalize their game avatars. Nowadays, there is an emerging trend called skin gambling wherein casino gamers bet on the prospective outcomes of esports matches with the use of these valuable in-game items. Some of the skins that are being used in the games are incredibly rare and have a higher monetary value.
This is still largely an unregulated and informal economy despite its widespread practice. In fact, the game developer Valve has been trying to stymy the growth of this informal economy with little success. Many of the websites offering this service saw the rising popularity of using skins to bet in lieu of money, and have embraced it even more. In fact, many sites now allow players to use skins to bet on games of chance like jackpot-style games wherein players pool all of their valuable skins into a pot with the winner taking the whole lot. Then, players are allowed to cash these skins out in exchange for real money. Again, CS:GO is still the most popular title with this kind of gaming element, but there are many other gaming titles that are following suit. Namely, the FIFA gaming franchise is also witnessing a boost in terms of having players bet their personal avatars or even trade them with other gamers.
Ultimately, the practice of merging esports and casino gaming is still relatively young. However, there is so much potential to be had by combining these two industries and disciplines together.