Report: esports industry reluctant towards betting despite ‘importance’

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The relationship between esports and the sports betting industries is more complicated than one may envisage, with the majority of industry insiders stating that gambling is not important to their business despite its relevance to the industry as a whole.

A report conducted by Esports Insider alongside payments firms Nuvei and PayPal found that just 34% of esports industry stakeholders think that betting/gambling is important to their business. 

The report, titled Payments and the Monetization of Esports, was conducted to ‘understand the role payments play in esports operations and benchmarking the state of the esports industry’.

It surveyed 105 teams, talent management companies, tournament organizers and betting companies from around the world with a focus on North America, Europe and LatAm.

77% of respondents to the survey acknowledged that betting is important to the future of the esports industry.

It was also found that 57% of esports companies are concerned about the impact gambling will have on the industry, despite recognizing how important betting is.

Outlining their reasoning for the reluctance to engage with gambling, respondents identified several key ‘blockers’ to the growth of gambling in esports. 

The biggest blocker was sponsorship restrictions from leagues or publishers, with 67% naming this in their top three blockers, and 53% identifying it as the top blocker. 

Regulatory restrictions was the second biggest turning point for respondents, with 47% naming it as their top three blockers. 

Making up the top three was issues around competitive integrity/match-fixing, which was in 43% of respondents’ top three reasons, with 10% naming it as the number one reason for the lack of growth of gambling in esports. 

Other reasons listed were: the age of the audience, brand safety and company values, difficulty advertising, lack of audience awareness, lack of data, and disruption from emerging technologies.