Esports is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Sportsbooks are starting to take more action on esports matches.
  • Nevada Gaming Control Board is approving pre-match odds on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches.
  • Sportsbooks will struggle to survive the summer if sports do not resume regular play soon.

LAS VEGAS – In a world where sports betting is at a near standstill, esports betting has taken its place and is on the rise.

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many sports leagues all over the world have suspended normal play. Although doing so will help prevent the spread of the virus, many sportsbooks are suffering huge losses due to it.

Point blank, without sports, legal sports betting is slowing down.

But esports betting has continued to grow during the pandemic. Originally, various esports leagues were canceling events first. But after making some adjustments, esports has seen more remote play and the leagues are continuing as normal. Thanks to that, the rise of esports betting has arrived.

“All the fence-sitters have been pushed off the fence into esports,” said Mark Balch, head of product for Bayes Esports Solutions. “It really is a scramble to find any content anywhere in the world for pretty much everyone involved in the business.”

To capitalize on esports, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has made some changes to its regulations. The Board has approved betting on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) matches.

However, the Board only approved of betting on pre-match betting odds. Due to stream latency that the ESL requires for tournaments, it is difficult to bet on CS:GO matches live. That is why only pre-match odds for CS:GO matches are allowed to be wagered on in Nevada.

Although racing simulators have been on the rise in popularity, most betting fans are not wagering on virtual sports like sportsbooks want them to. Sports betting fans seem to want to bet on live action and esports is filling that void.

Even professional athletes themselves are beginning to participate in remote esports. The NBA2K Players Only Tournament was broadcasted on ESPN and featured players such as Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

Although there are a couple of small sports leagues still active in the world, it is only a matter of time before they are forced to suspend play. Esports, on the other hand, will continue to play as normal.

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