One by-product of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has been a boom in esports betting.
Amid the surge, new and confident gambling platforms, such as ZenSports, are now looking for significant entry to the esports gaming scene.
“In February 2020 we had our best month ever since launching last year. We processed over $US2.5-million worth of bets on our platform,” explained ZenSports Co-Founder & CEO, Mark Thomas.
“But then, of course, the bottom fell out when all of the major sports leagues postponed their matches due to Covid-19.”
“It was certainly a challenging situation to be faced with,” said Thomas. “But we’re a scrappy, resourceful start-up; unlike larger companies that would have a tough time of adjusting.”
Betting on esports has evolved significantly since its cutting-edge addition to the gaming industry in 2016.
And, as esports betting operators increased their offerings, it wasn’t long before traditional bookmakers, such as Ladbrokes and Sky Bet, began to seek a slice of the action too.
Since then, the reach of these operators has grown around the world across a range of esports. And legions of new fans have been able to invest–both emotionally and financially–in countless international tournaments.
And now, because of the negative impact of Covid-19, many national and region or statewide gambling commissions have begun to permit betting on esports, among them, significantly, the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
With the exponential growth of the market—some indicators, for example, are showing the market growing 40 times over since 2016—a number of tournament organisers have stepped up the quality of their input and now employ data analysis firms to track patterns of play and, crucially, to protect credibility and integrity of play
ZenSports is offering esports fans a very different kind of service.
Unlike traditional bookmakers, for example, whose primary focus is on the result or final outcome of a bet, ZenSports is hosting a decentralised, peer-to-peer platform where users can create and accept bets with other users.
In a further development, ZenSports has also launched its very own cryptocurrency, called SPORTS, which can be used like traditional currency and Bitcoin.
ZenSports has partnered with Prime Trust, a financial services-based API, to perform full authentication of documentation, appropriate age of players and to ensure the platform is not being used to launder money.
“More and more of our players have begun gravitating towards esports,” said Mark Saldaña, CMO of ZenSports. “They can easily watch the matches live and research the data online to better inform their betting strategy.”
Until now, ZenSports has entirely focused its product on traditional sports betting for professional and collegiate live sporting events embracing 36 prominent worldwide sports leagues, as well as daily fantasy sports contests.
But ZenSports is now looking to expand to any and all major esports game titles later this summer, said Saldaña.
Looking to the marketing future, the ZenSports boss said the company is “definitely interested” in sponsoring leagues or teams in both esports and traditional sports.
“In the meantime, we’re focused on affiliate marketing, content marketing, and digital marketing,” he added.
Betting on “League of Legends” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” is now available in the peer-to-peer sports betting app.
While the esports betting market measures only a fraction of traditional sports betting action, there’s good reason to believe that esports betting is poised for major growth.
As more people stay locked down due to COVID-19, the demand for at-home sports entertainment is expected to grow.
The esports paradigm with its live, reality-television ambience vibe–without the attendant risk of mass gatherings and crowds—is proving a hit with punters.
“Esports was already on our roadmap to add in Q4 of 2020,” added Saldaña, Covid-19 simply accelerated that timeline.
“We’re confident that traditional sports leagues will return soon, and that, coupled with our new esports offering, this gives us a wide array of betting options for our customers.”
ZenSports also plans on launching MMA, NASCAR, and additional soccer leagues in the coming weeks.