As the huge growth seen in esports in recent years shows no signs of slowing down, it is perhaps not a great surprise to see the industry developing links and partnerships with a range of other sectors at the moment.
One which has been increasingly showing an interest in the progression of competitive gaming is the online casino industry – an area that has, in fact, been on a similar trajectory to esports and enjoyed a fair share of its own success in the last decade or so.
Two industries on the rise
Like esports, the online casino industry has gone from strength to strength as the capabilities of web-based services have evolved. A clear example of that is the size of the industry at present, with figures from Statista suggesting that the online gambling market globally is worth around $46 billion at the moment. Furthermore, the future is looking bright, as it is expected to double in size to $94 billion by 2024.
The comparisons between esports and online casinos do not stop there either, as both have been boosted by the emergence of streaming services too. While the likes of Twitch and YouTube have become key to building the esports fanbase, online casinos have used streaming technology to offer so-called ‘live casino’ gaming. These games allow players to get involved in action hosted by a real-life dealer via a video link, with the range of titles on offer at Mr Gold, for example, including the likes of blackjack and roulette alongside gameshow-style action like Monopoly Live.
But, while they are clearly similar in some ways, what are the trends that suggest that online casinos are now fully embracing esports?
A growing bond
One clear sign that the online casino world is interested in the possibilities of esports is the fact that some major brands have recently become involved in sponsorship, both in terms of backing teams and major competitions.
Furthermore, many online casinos which also carry an interest in sports betting have started to offer odds on some of the major esports events across the globe, including the renowned Dota 2 tournament The International. As well as featuring odds on the outcome of matches or tournaments, there are often also in-play options which means you can track how games are developing before ultimately deciding to make a wager.
Another interesting trend, which suggests that online casinos are being influenced by esports, is the growing number choosing to offer their own form of tournaments, with the events seemingly being inspired by competitive gaming in several ways. Here, members usually have to play specific slot games across a period of time and they will then receive a score based on their success. They are then ranked alongside other players, with the best performers then getting a share of a prize pool or bonuses.
An intriguing relationship
As Zurich's recent link-up with Fokus Clan highlights, the rise of the esports world has captured the attention of those not typically associated with gaming. However, it seems the online casino industry is clearly one which has spotted the huge potential that gaming tournaments can offer.
It will be intriguing to see how the relationship between esports and online casinos develops as both sectors continue to evolve across the months and years ahead.