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How to get into the Esports betting vertical, Part 2

Part 2: A guide for Sportsbooks.

In this second article in a two part series, Dan talks us through his insights on the “how’s and why’s” sportsbook operators should consider getting into the esports betting space in 2021 and beyond. If you would like to go back and read part one, visit the guide for online casino operators.



I’ve spoken extensively to many sportsbook operators of all sizes around the world over the last couple of years about pushing into the esports betting vertical. These operators have included everything from public listed tier 1 operators with billions of revenue on their books a year to fresh startups looking for their first customers. Regardless, I’ve come across similar questions and problems which require answers and solutions which I can give insight to here.


There are a few common mistakes which someone responsible for sportsbook product roadmaps can make but thankfully most can be avoided early on. One such misjudgement is the product positioning when getting into esports. You may already have success with many traditional sports such as football and basketball and most likely these sports (and many more) are all supported in a single sportsbook product platform. Usually the sports are sub-sections of the sportsbook and share the same user interface and in many cases the same or similar bet types and betting models. This is the point where I’d recommend to break from the normal. Esports is different enough and has a different enough user base to necessitate an entirely different and specialized user interface. If you really want to reach the potential for the product and be competitive then you must offer a unique and tailored experience for esports betting otherwise you simply can’t attract the audience you are aiming for.


The logic behind this lies in the details of the demographics as much as how the esports differs from traditional sports. For example customers who like to bet on esports are used to playing computer games. They are used to the user-experience of playing games and that is a familiar experience that is lacking in the typical sportsbook product. When we designed Esportsbook, which is the flagship product offering from EsportsConstruct, we built it from the ground up to appeal to esports betting customers. In addition, it’s been through rigorous real-world A/B testing with tens of thousands of customers. The user experience is something special and when you try it, you can see how far it is away from traditional sportsbooks while at the same time being friendly enough and having some basic features such as the betslip that your sportsbook customers can also get used to it with ease.


Esportsbook also features a “theatre mode” where users can bet in-play while viewing live streams of the games. The betting options are well arranged around this format in an appealing and intuitive user interface. Having to adjust your existing sportsbook to do this won’t be easy and to even attempt it you will need your own in-house sportsbook development, something of a luxury for tier 1 operators but not the normal for mid-size and smaller sportsbooks who typically operate off the shelf solutions from 3rd party suppliers.


Data and content yet are major determining factors in choosing a supplier. A great esports betting environment needs to have integrated peripheral data, for example the form history for each side, the profiles of the team members and other vital stats. At this point you start to get the idea of how much work is involved in creating an optimized product. It goes way beyond just adding odds and market feeds to an all-in-one sportsbook product.


Since the audience demographics are also largely unique, I fully recommend having a stand-alone esports betting product. This way you are giving the most targeted effort in delivering a great user experience which says to the customer “we know what you want and we know esports”. This attracts the fans.


Licensing and regulatory requirements are commonly inline with those that apply to sports betting, so you should not have much work to do in this area to add esports into your line up. However you will need to absorb some knowledge transfer, training and also take on some new specialist hires to own and manage the product for best results. Another common mistake is enabling esports without adding the additional operational requirements or even coming up with a marketing plan. I would consider preparing your team and resources, your business and marketing plan for esports in advance or in parallel to integrating the product. If you skip this step then launching esports as a new product vertical is unlikely to work for you – customers won’t just appear by magic and you could be sat looking at a great product with little revenue to show for it.


Expect to budget for marketing with a figure close to that of your 3rd most popular existing sport – to get started. If you keep at it and you have the right strategy you should see GGR rise over year one to rank the product in your top 3 or top 5, depending on your business and goals. It’s also reasonable to see this grow much more as you attract new customers over time to complement the ones you are welcoming from cross selling.


Finally, research your markets wisely. If esports isn’t huge in your current target markets just now then it’s either a good time to secure market dominance early before it takes off (Africa; India; LatAm USA for example) or it’s a good time to use esports to enter new geographical markets where the demand is already proven and hot (East Asia). You won’t be alone in this journey if you partner with us at EsportsConstruct. I’ve devised a new Kaizen programme for our partners to help support and drive continuous improvements not only in the product itself but in how it’s operated and marketed. It’s all about working together to drive up GGR, acquire more users and keep existing users coming back to play again and again. You won’t be on your own on this adventure.


About the Author

Dan is passionate about the potential of esports in the betting industry and is the CCO at EsportsConstruct – a B2B gaming product supplier that specializes in turn-key esports betting solutions and their flagship product – Esportsbook. Dan has been involved in the iGaming industry for more than a decade and has worked with top names in the industry such as William Hill, Dafabet, Betfred, Betvictor and 188BET. Dan has previously directed and managed the implementation of EsportsConstruct’s Esportsbook product inside operators product ecosystems and achieved great success in East Asia. You can reach Dan with questions, feedback or comments using our contact form.


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