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How eSports is Fast Becoming a Legitimate Sport
() 09:00 AM EDT - Sep,23 2017

While you’re reading this article, it’s likely that millions of people around the world will be playing on their games consoles. But if someone said to you, 20 years ago, that there would be sold-out stadiums of people going to watch others playing computer games, you’d think they were barking mad!

The reality is that, for an increasing number of gamers committed to honing their craft, it is now possible to make a living through their in-game accomplishments and achievements. Although the concept of competitive computer gaming was alive and well even in the 1970s, following the introduction of Pong, no-one could possibly have predicted that playing computer games would become a potential career.

eSports: As big as the iPhone

Data analytics service, Newzoo has labelled the advent of eSports as “the biggest thing to hit the tech industry since the launch of the iPhone in 2007”. In 2014, global eSports revenue was recorded at $194m but, fast forward five years, and it is predicted that revenue generated in 2019 will break the $1bn mark.

In the United States, gamers are now classified as professional athletes. eSports participants can claim a US p-1 Visa, a permit reserved only for professional sportsmen and women, and something that Dustin Beck, vice-president of eSports at Riot Games labelled a “watershed moment”.

It may simply be that those who don’t game have underestimated the skill involved in becoming a full-time gamer. Some eSports can be highly strategic, involving 10-12 hours of solid gameplay, with just a single moment of skill or timing being the difference between winning and losing.

As with most professional sports clubs, eSports teams now hire their own support network, with analysts and live-in coaches designed to maintain and refine performance levels. And rightly so when you consider the money at stake - in 2016, 'The International' a 16-team eSports tournament - and the biggest on the planet - featured a prize pool of an eye-watering $20m!

Betting on in-play eSports action

With seven-figure sums now at stake during eSports championships, it’s unsurprising that the betting industry is beginning to take a shine to eSports action. There is predicted to be over $1bn gambled through eSport apps annually by the turn of the next decade. With many bettors becoming increasingly knowledgeable about computer games, in-play bettors can take advantage of certain situations and signals as the action unfolds quickly.

Deposit bonuses are helping to entice more bettors to get involved with eSports too. For instance, Bet365, which now streams some live eSports games to its customers in-play, offers new customers 100% deposit bonuses up to £200. Betting on eSports is not really any different to betting live on tennis or soccer. There are options to bet directly on which team will win and take on handicaps where the underdog receives points advantage before a button has been pressed. The most popular eSports games to bet on at present are the League of Legends games, as well as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Although physical exertion on eSports professionals is minimal, when you consider the hours spent training, studying strategy and technique, it’s no different to the regimes of professional darts players who are now widely recognised as sports men and women. Regardless of the ignorance of some towards eSports, most eSports professionals don’t care if people remain pessimistic – they’ll continue to do things their own way.

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