Sporting events are turning out as a major constituent of the betting business. Sports such as American football, soccer, basketball, and cricket are witnessing massive betting activities.

With time, other events are also being wagered upon. For those unaware, many different types of betting can be done on sporting events. The simplest and most common is betting on the end result, known as fixed betting. Several other forms exist, depending on the game and the player. The entire revenue that sports betting generates is huge.

Esports and Virtual Sports Playing a Key Role in Growth

The effect of the internet on the sports betting industry has been nothing short of a phenomenon. With many influencers advocating its correct use and advantages, online sports betting software has gained traction among users.

The growing popularity of esports and virtual sports has particularly made people invest in the online sports betting sector. Companies within this niche can be found all over the world; which includes major players like Modern Times Group (Sweden), Activision Blizzard (US), FACEIT (UK), Nintendo (Japan), Gfinity (UK), Turner Broadcasting System (US), CJ Corporation (South Korea), Valve Corporation (US), Tencent (China), and Electronic Arts (EA) (US).

The esports industry’s global market revenue has been forecasted to grow to 1.62 Billion USD by 2024, with a viewership of 577 Million. Unfortunately, in 2020, on-ground sports were at a complete halt due to the pandemic-related regulations and norms. However, this gave virtual sports gaming the floodlights it needed.

Betting on virtual sports gaming has begun to draw a lot of attention globally. As a result, many virtual sports gamers are now signing deals with online sports betting operators. With online sports betting getting safer, acceptable, and accessible for the masses, its future in virtual sports and esports looks bright.

Sports Betting Opportunities

Some form of betting or the other takes place even in non-regulated countries. In the Indian context, this example can be exemplified by the Indian Premier League scandal that revealed vast networks of underground betting circles. By not regularizing sports betting, governments are choosing to let go of large amounts of potential revenue. The Indian stance on sports betting is exemplary. Even China’s attitude towards betting on sports is similar.

However, Africa offers an ideal setting with betting being a major source of state revenue. Around 60 million people in Africa of the age group 18 to 40 years actively participate in sports betting.

But, the opportunities present in the context of sports betting come with their own set of drawbacks:

  • A large share of the total bets placed is illegal. The United States passed legislation in 2006 to curb the mal-effects of illegal online betting. However, the problem persists.
  • At the center of all match-fixing scandals lies the inherent threat of illegal betting.
  • Social stigma still remains a problem in the third world that is expected to be the driver of growth. Reports from South Africa point to the fact that wagering bets are not considered healthy. South Africa has 250 bet shops compared to the 9000 in England despite the population of the two nations being identical.

Considering the global viewpoint, North America and Europe are still the hubs where the regulated sports betting business is phenomenal. A major player in Europe, ‘Bwin’ has annual revenue of over $700 million. Such high stake business comes with its own backlash as well. A prime example of this was the US legislation curbing the transfer of banking. Nevertheless, the industry stays promising, and we all together will set new trends in the game.



The Economic Times

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