eSports & gambling in Asia – a match made in heaven

Posted: Jun 04, 2020 11:12 Category: Asia , Posted by Kyle

How big is the eSports betting scene in Asia?

Content courtesy of GTH Translation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that eSports has an ever-expanding cult following that’s getting bigger and bigger by the day. In this article, we’re going to show you just how big the eSports betting scene in Asia is, and how and why game operators and affiliates are falling over themselves to take a slice of the eSports Asian betting industry pie.

We also show you how we’re empowering brands to leverage their sportsbooks for eSports fans wanting to place wagers on the next tournament or event. Some of the stats we’ve gathered are mind-boggling. eSports is well and truly on the map, ladies and gentlemen, and you’ll see why as you read on.

eSports has exploded onto the scene in recent years, but do you know what part of eSports has gone up a few levels over the last few months? eSports betting. The eSports gambling market is well and truly exploding alongside viewership and prize money. Because of the rise of the eSports gambling industry, sportsbooks, game operators and affiliates are beginning to see why 2020 is the year they really need to be a part of the eSport gambling game.

In 2019, $8 billion in wagers on eSports events were placed. Wouldn’t you like a piece of that $8 billion pie? Read on and we’ll show you’re going to have to start taking the eSports betting industry a lot more seriously, but more importantly, how the GTH team can serve up that slice on a plate for you.

The bigger the audience, the bigger the betting pot gets

If you’ve not read our article on the eSports boom, go check it out as it’s action-packed with stats about eSports in general. Right now though, we’re going to cast our gaze on the eSports audience numbers and how the eSports audience correlates with the eSports betting industry.

To kick things off, let’s delve into the past; 2016 to be exact. In 2016, eSports saw 280 million viewers. Now, that number may seem big, given that the eSporting audience signified about 85% of the population of the United States of America (328 million). So, yes, it was a big number, but when compared to the Premier League’s viewership numbers in 2016 (England’s number 1 export after the Spice Girls), which hit over the 2.8 billion mark in views worldwide, eSports generated just 10% of what the Premier League generated.

Before we were swept up by the COVID-19 pandemic, the forecasted worldwide audience for eSports in 2020 was 450 million. Today, analysts can’t keep up with each other, and depending on which source you read, eSports viewership will be somewhere between the 557 million to 620 million mark. That’s a massive increase. In fact, that’s over a 120% increase, if you take into account the 620 million number.

So, we’re seeing that eSports is well and truly rivaling traditional sports. And here are more stats we found interesting while researching Gartner and Forrester. The eSports tournament, League of Legends World Championship, attracted 21.8 million viewers. If we compare this to game 7 of the World Series, which attracted 23.2 million, you see that eSports isn’t to be meddled with. More importantly, is this fact; eSports is just getting started!

sigma igaming eSports & gambling in Asia - a match made in heaven We’ve highlighted just how big the eSports audience is and how fast it’s growing, but how does this impact the eSports betting scene, and more importantly, what role does the Asian market play?

Just take a look at those eSports audience numbers and forecasts! This is where we thank our friends at Gartner for providing us with these stats.

Key eSports demographics

“Traditional” sports are starting to grow envious towards the growth of eSport. The numbers show why, plus the key demographic for sports clubs, which is the 14-25 market is shifting towards eSports. Major sports are starting to sit up and taking notice of how eSports platforms operate.

Now we’re seeing the likes of the Premier League and other sports leagues such as the NFL, the NBA and Formula 1 dip their toes in at various levels of eSports. Tottenham Hotspur (Arsenal fans beware), has recently got all its players to play Fifa, and they’re streaming the games across their social media platforms.

Streaming is steadily becoming one of the most important aspects of how people consume sport, and we’re seeing this on YouTube and Amazon Prime, which streamed Premier League games for the first time in December 2019. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, is the number one destination for eSports followers, and eSports makes up 11% of all views on Twitch, which is phenomenal. It also makes up 11% of all YouTube’s viewings too, so you’re starting to see the picture.

eSports biggest betting markets

We’ve seen the size of the eSports audiences, but how does that compare to the revenues being generated in the eSports betting world? Asia and North America represent the two largest eSports markets, with the Asian market contributing close to half of global eSports market revenue. Asia alone generated 406 million U.S. dollars in 2017, while the North American market brought in 392 million U.S. dollars in revenue, followed by the European market at 298 million U.S. dollars.

eSports bettor demographics

With 94% of the eSports bettors in Asia being male, we’re seeing that 33% of them bet on one discipline, while 67% bet on two or more eSports disciplines. Our research has shown that 64% of eSports bettors exclusively place money on eSports, and it’s interesting to note that 67% of these eSports bettors are happy to bet on more than one title. Keep these numbers in mind. Why? Because only 24% of bettors have occasionally wagered on major sporting events and 12% systematically bet on traditional sports.

eSports bettors are young, have money to spend on their eSports betting craze, and the key takeaway here is that the Asian eSports betting demographic differs only a little from the rest of the world. For instance, in Asia, 78% of eSports bettors are aged 18 through to 25, while 16% are between the ages of 26 through to 30. Only 5% of these Asian eSports bettors are 31 through to 40, and there’s only 1% that are 41 or older. Knowing these figures, it’s not a shock to see that these Asian eSports bettors are much less likely to gamble at online casinos than those who gamble on traditional sports, which sits at just 3%.

The new Asian eSports bettor isn’t interested in placing a wager on traditional sports

In Asia, an eSports bettor follows these trends:

  • When it comes to betting on traditional sports:
    • 12% bet systematically
    • 64% don’t bet
    • 24% bet occasionally
  • When it comes to online casinos:
    • 3% gamble systematically
    • 77% don’t play online casino games
    • 20% play occasionally

Thanks to Forrester for the stats. Kudos to them for the support they’ve given us!

What does this tell you? Read on.

One glove doesn’t fit all when it comes to eSports betting

From the numbers we’ve shown you above, they paint a pretty picture, and that picture shows you clearly that you can’t simply point your online casino gaze at an eSports bettor in Asia and expect to get results. Remember, eSports bettors are a different breed and they’re not too interested in the online casino world. In fact, an eSports bettor’s parents are more likely to play the online casino slots.

You’re going to need to work harder getting the eSports bettor in through your sportsbook doors. You’re going to need to create a dedicated eSports sportsbook and then target them. But once again, if you think that’s all you’re going to have to do, you’re in for an almighty shock!


Because you need to be in a position where you can speak the Asian eSports bettors’ language. Again, we’re not just talking about translating your website into Mandarin and Cantonese. We’re talking about the nuances that come along when talking and reaching out to eSports bettors in Asia.

This is where we come in. At GTH, we’re already working with startups and established game operators and empowering them to expand their reach in Asia, and especially when it comes to eSports betting.

Still not convinced Asia is leading the way when it comes to the eSports betting scene?

sigma igaming eSports & gambling in Asia - a match made in heaven Take a look at these stats which relate to the eSport betting market of Asia when compared to the rest of the world.

Just take a look at these stats which relate to the eSport betting market of Asia when compared to the rest of the world.

What you’re looking at in the chart above are the eSports betting figures taken from 2019. China and South Korea account for 25% of the world’s eSports betting revenues. And thanks to our friends at Gartner, they tell us Asia will surpass the 27% mark when it comes to eSports betting in 2020.

Why are these percentages simply astounding? For starters, Asia makes up 18% of traditional sports betting. Oh, and that 18% figure is way above North America, which sits at 12%. So, when we show you that China and South Korea are leading the way when it comes to the eSports betting scene, it’s time you sat up and took notice!

Do you want to expand your gaming operation or eSports betting brand in Asia? Ask us how

As we’ve said, we’re already working with game operators and affiliates looking to break through into the Asian iGaming market. How are we doing this? Our in-house localisation team knows what an eSports bettor wants. As we know what they want, we’ll not only translate your website into Mandarin and Cantonese, but we’ll point out what you can do about your content so that it’s 100% localized to the market you’re attracting.

We then come to the content side of our operation. Our awesome content team can create reviews for your affiliate site, create email marketing content and campaigns which drive traffic to your site and promotions. We’ve got the know-how and the experience.

So there you have it. If you’re serious about entering the eSports betting arena in Asia, drop us an email. We’ll arrange a call with you and show you what you can do, as well as create a detailed plan on how you can penetrate the Asian eSports market.

Like what you read? This is just a sample of what our Copywriting Team can do. If you’re looking for content for your game operating website or your online casino, poker room, or sportsbook website, we can create the content you need.

SiGMA LatAm Focus:

This event brings the Americas closer to delegates from Europe and Asia, with an interesting agenda featuring a line-up of speakers that showcases the company’s commitment to covering the various gaming verticals. Explore the full agenda here and register now, this one’s on us!

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