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Adam Conway, Head of Competitive Gaming at SIS, addresses the challenges within esports betting and how sportsbooks can truly capitalise on this fast-growing vertical.

The significant potential of esports as a betting product is well documented. Esports betting continue to grow in popularity amongst bettors, and GGY is expected to climb at a faster rate than traditional forms of online betting through to 2026.

However, esports profitability remains a challenge for operators, with relatively low betting margins being delivered by current esports offers.

The solution lies in evaluating how esports events are presented to bettors, as well as the way in which operators receive and integrate such content.

The fundamental issue with many esports offerings is that they are not optimised for betting purposes. For this vertical to truly maximise its potential within our industry, the wider ecosystem must address the series of challenges that exist. They also need to provide products that are tailored specifically for operators that will engage their existing customers, as well as newcomers from within the esports community.

Careful consideration is required around the types and frequency of game formats that are on offer to bettors, the way in which they are delivered to operators, preferably as an end-to-end solution, and the overall integrity behind these events, in order to help improve margins.

Segmented offer

Firstly, a clearly segmented events offering will enable operators to engage with the relevant audience. Sports simulated titles, such as Ebasketball and Esoccer, have already proven to be highly attractive to existing sports bettors and complement the core live sports betting experience.

Classic first-person shooter titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) undoubtedly resonate with esports fans and bettors, but they also provide an opportunity for operators to attract and engage with a new demographic.

Crucially, the bet markets that are on offer across these two areas of esports betting must be familiar to sports and esports bettors. Offering a range of pre-match and in-play markets and prices that suit their betting style increases the likelihood of these individuals immersing themselves in an esports betting product.

At SIS, we are introducing bespoke 2v2 CS:GO events into our Competitive Gaming offer to provide operators with new customer acquisition opportunities. We provide over 150,000 events a year, streamed live seven days a week, which includes Ebasketball and Esoccer sports events, which target both key audiences.

Robust integrity

The issue of integrity is fundamental to esports. Currently, many products within the market are simply not reliable enough from a betting and pricing perspective.

With esports betting, the events and performance of gamers need to be constantly monitored to ensure the product remains trustworthy to both operators and bettors. Without robust integrity measures in place, operators are understandably hesitant to offer such a product and risk their reputation.

Robust integrity is at the core of SIS Competitive Gaming. The esports betting events we offer are produced in-house at our self-contained secure UK studios, where we have greater control over the complete operations, and follow best practices outlined by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC).

Our processes include regular reporting and monitoring of the highly skilled gamers that we employ, evaluating gamer win rates and match competitiveness. In addition, we are the only product in the market to have integrity referees, who are visible on-screen, monitoring every game. Our referees all receive ESIC-based training and have real-time links to SIS’ expert trading team who link to our operators.

Delivering the ultimate esports betting experience

Traditional esports tournaments offers are not designed for betting, and events are often infrequent, and typically take place in a time zone that does not align with betting activity in any given region, which can represent a barrier to engagement.

The esports supply chain is also fragmented, for example, with some suppliers providing data without live streams. The optimal solution is a complete end-to-end offer that delivers high frequency, high-integrity, and low latency betting events. SIS Competitive Gaming provides operators with comprehensive data and live streaming with ultra-low latency, through a proprietary streaming platform.

Additionally, the streams feature live commentary from our in-house casters, complete with on-screen graphics with betting prompts and an extensive range of markets and odds. It is a far superior solution to that offered by traditional esports tournaments, in which streams are provided separately through YouTube or Twitch and has been proven to provide superior margins and revenues for operators.

While it is widely accepted that esports betting has a bright future, many solutions available to operators have typically fallen well short of tapping into that potential. We believe operators must be given all the tools they need to offer a complete, profitable esports product that provides high-quality, 24/7 round-the-clock entertainment.

For more information on SIS Competitive Gaming, click here.