Coming soon to a bookmaker near you: Esports.
When we were tykes, our parents would threaten us with loss of TV privileges if we did not turn the bloody thing off and come to dinner, or do our schoolwork.
Now parents ourselves, the consequences were similar, but the threat was loss of video game privileges.
We find ourselves wishing for a time machine, where we could go back and supply encouragement and state-of-the-art technology in the hopes that one or more of our progeny would make it big in the world of Esports.
One website listed Australia as number 15 in the world in terms of earning from tournaments. The top five spots belonged to the U.S., China, South Korea, Sweden and Denmark.
It might be tempting to think of Esports as the realm of the millennial generation, but one of the top players in the world is a Yank named Chris Bond, who is 54 years old. The top Aussie we found was Peter Neate, who is 37.
Esports, seemingly overnight, has become a major growth industry worth something in the vicinity of $1 Billion a year, a number that seemingly has no upper limit. Part of the appeal is that while fans pack stadiums for big matches, spectators from around the world, such as the 27 million who play League of Legends, might find as many as seven or eight million players launching the game simultaneously of their computers. It would take one major expansion to the MCG to accommodate that many.
As the revenues grow, the bettors will follow and the bookmakers will supply the exploding demand for Esports punting.
One of the first games to hit the big-time is Counter Strike: Global Offensive. This game has a league dedicated to Australia and New Zealand.
Another up-and-comer is DOTA, a professional championship that is strong in Kuala Lumpur.
There are several others and there will be more.
Serious gamers invest large sums on super powerful computers, blazing fast internet connections, large-format, high resolution monitors and anything else that will supply an advantage.
Esports and Sports Betting
In Esports, speed kills, while those who are slow are left dead on the side of the information superhighway.
Betting on Esports in Australia is possible, although a bit limited now, but the near future will see market expansion that may one day see hundreds of markets in the days and hours leading up to a highly anticipated match.
We found a much more extensive selection on the website of one of the big international bookies; we found hundreds of markets for Kuala Lumpur alone.
Most of the bets, as of late 2018, are of the head-to-head variety between two teams. For the Australia/New Zealand sector, on one day alone there were nine fixtures, each pitting one team against another.
The best players attract plenty of followers and it is no great leap to envision a day when the bookies will offer player markets, and markets specific to the numerous different online games that are played.
Just our opinion, but it would seem that if Esports betting is going to truly take off in Australia, some modifications, perhaps a total redo or complete abolition, of the Interactive Gambling Act will be required.