Esports betting: The commissioner’s overview – iGaming Business

Ian Smith, commissioner of the Esports Integrity Comission, looks at the current esports betting landscape, and the effects of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the sector. While lockdown may have been the perfect storm for the sector’s growth, he warns that this does not come without potential pitfalls.

As commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), I have the privilege of an holistic overview of the relationship between esports and betting on esports.

My view has altered dramatically these last few months as a result of coronavirus pandemic. What was relatively stable and predictable is now unstable and constantly surprising. It is wonderful and it is challenging. I’m pleased to have an opportunity to provide my “State of the Nation” thoughts…

As late as February this year, anyone involved in the intersection of esports and betting on esports would have looked at a pleasing landscape of healthy growth and increasing engagement. The stakeholders lined up quite predictably: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Dota2 and League of Legends (LOL) provided over 80% of the betting markets and revenues between them.

This meant that the tournament organisers (TOs) could do “official data” deals with data companies or directly with betting operators for access to real time data for packaging to the betting sector (easier with the Valve titles – CS:GO and Dota2 – and less easily and certainly on a less granular level with LOL). All the other esports titles, including the “big” publisher run leagues – Overwatch League and Call of Duty League – barely