As eSports continue to grow at an exponential rate, more and more sites accepting cash bets on the games are popping up.
According to the founder of one of those sites, CS:GO is the game most people choose to bet on, something he accredits to the popularity of CSGO Lounge and other places handling skins.
– We believe that CSGO Lounge has created the market for betting in CS. People are more familiar with betting due to skins betting, Martin Dreymann from eBettle tells Aftonbladet Esport.
Ever since CS:GO was released, skins have been the main collector’s item in the games. Sometimes running in the price range of thousands of dollars, the dealing with skins soon led to sites like CS:GO Lounge and CS:GO Jackpot where players risk their inventories for an uncertain return.
In the wake of the skins trading, ”real” betting sites accepting cash placed on popular games have become more and more popular. And even though they cater to League of Legends, Dota2, Hearthstone and Starcraft II as well, Martin Dreymann from eBettle has noticed a specific trend towards CS:GO.
– We believe that CSGO Lounge has created the market for betting in Counterstrike. People are more familiar with betting due to skins betting. That’s why it’s the most betted on game we have. We credit that to CS:GO Lounge, they have been a good thing for us because they matured the market.
”Haven’t experienced any matchfixing”
Being a young and exploitable market, the various sites now accepting cash bets for eSports have to be careful in looking out for potential match fixing. One of the most noticeable incidents being the iBUYPOWER scandal where players placed their skins on the opponents. But Dreymann says they haven’t had any similar incidents when it comes to cash betting.
– We haven’t experienced any match fixing, there’s only been one case before we started. There’s been a case with Starcraft as well that turned out not to be true. They noticed all the bets were placed on max stake on one side. But they found out one of the players had problem with his shoulder which they didn’t include in the odds, he says.
And he thinks that, with all the attention eSports is getting and various betting sites popping up, eSports betting is sure to grow even stronger.
– I believe that in 20 years esports in general will match normal sports, betting will perhaps be behind. We can’t run faster than the community itself but I believe that eSports will almost take over regular sports. That’s based on the generation that plays and watches now, and the younger generation will probably play more.
The esports demographic a ”vulnerable group”
But everyone isn’t as enthusiastic about the new trend with betting within eSports. Håkan Wall, psychologist and a project lead at a Swedish support line for gambling addicts says that the main demographic, males between 18-24, are overrepresented in the statistics when it comes to people they encounter.
– One out of ten young men between 18 and 24 have problems with gambling so it’s a vulnerable group. Nobody has contacted us saying they have a problem with eSports betting but I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time. It’s absolutely a risk, because the way eSports is growing you can be sure that there are a lot of people on these sites.
– If you’re a young person betting you have to be watchful how you bet and decide how much you’re willing to lose. It’s super important that you don’t try to win back your losses, that can easily lead to a downward spiral, he says.
”Betting makes you connect more with the game”
And Dreymann has himself noticed the negative view many people have towards betting sites, but says he thinks it can also lead to good things for a community.
– It often goes in the negative aspects of match fixing and people being motivated by money. But I think the other side one can argue for is the positive effect that betting has. In Counterstrike we can see and read that the betting makes you connect more with your team as well. If you have money on a team you connect more with the game and it gives more incentive to watch the game. Some people really love the teams but others want something more, that way I think it can help the community. But of course you have to be careful with match fixing and things like that, he says.