sport news Esports betting can succeed but it's difficult for bookies

Within any form of competition, bookmakers will follow close behind. Traditional sports and betting now go hand in hand and that relationship has been taken to another level with the introduction of technologies such as in-play betting.

So then why has the betting industry not had the same success in the most technologically advanced form of competition of them all, esports?

Those questions were answered as some of the top betting experts from the esports industry gathered together in Fnatic's BUNKR store as part of a panel for the Esports Insider's Forum Series.

A crowd gathered in Fnatic's BUNKR to hear from esport betting experts at ESI's Forum Series

A crowd gathered in Fnatic's BUNKR to hear from esport betting experts at ESI's Forum Series

There are hundreds of bookmakers working within esports but betting in esports still isn't popular amongst most esport fans.

One of the reasons for this, according to the panel, is the difficulty bookmakers face in receiving data. Without highly specific data, it becomes incredibly difficult to offer fair prices that will interest a consumer. 

James Watson, Head of Esports at Sportsradar, said: 'Valve games are fantastic for data, with DOTA 2 you have this public API that easily stores historic data and statistics for any match you could ever want, including my own low level matches. But there is this spectrum to other games where there’s no data and any data that does exist is collected by people or in-house technologies.'

He continued that with certain games such as FIFA, data isn't the only difficult thing to find: '‘FIFA is a great flagship product for traditional sport to tap into the esports world but they’re struggling with some things as simple as scheduling at the moment. Never mind talking about getting data for these matches, they don’t even know when the games are being played. They shuffled their tournament around last minute and decided they would play in August.'

Transitioning traditional sports fans into esports will be crucial if betting organisations want to be successful in esports. FIFA is the perfect game to do that as it is instantly recognisable to any sports fan but without proper organisation and structure, FIFA itself won't grow much more in the esports space.

Suraj Gosai is the founder and CEO of esports betting company, Blinkpoint, which is the first UK regulated esports focussed betting operator. Rather than offering traditional bets, the company pits punters against the system to answer hyper-contextual questions, highly relevant to what is going on in a game at that time.

He explained why the lack of accurate data affects the pricing and why his company chose the system they did: 'With how rapid these games develop, the meta shifts left, right and centre and suddenly a game that used to be one way six months ago has completely changed. It can make a lot of your historical data redundant.

‘And for us, to be completely honest, that’s why we designed the betting mechanism that we did. We thought

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