Esports Betting Market Size as of 2021

Esports betting has been on an upward trajectory, starting with skins betting, to Bitcoin betting, to real money betting. Since 2015 when bookies started offering esports betting at their lobbies, the annual revenue has been going up at an astonishing rate, with new games and more markets being added every year. Canada, for example, is one of the game-changers of the esports betting scene as it was among the first online platforms to offer esports betting exclusively. To date, the site remains a popular choice among hardcore fans of eSports betting.

Weathering the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

Come 2020, and a global pandemic takes the world and different industries by storm, throwing the global betting industry, including esports betting, in disarray; or so it would seem. With law-mandated lockdown restrictions, most establishments shut down, leading to massive losses. However, thanks to streaming services from platforms such as YouTube, Steam and Twitch, the global esports market boasts a strong 474 million fan base, and this figure is expected to hit 577 million by 2024.

The fact is, the wheels were already in motion since the 2017 Intel Extreme Masters tournament that attracted just over 45 million viewers worldwide. While things looked gloomy for most sectors for most of 2020, the esports betting market seems to have held together just fine, with investors and sponsors not showing signs of slowing down in their support of the industry.

As of H1 of 2021, the esports sector was worth approximately $1.08 billion, which according to Statista, is more than twice that of the previous year. Most of this income ($641 million) came from sponsorships and advertising, while another big chunk ($192 million) came from media rights. Further, a report by Talkesport projects that the esports betting market is expected to be worth over 13 billion by 2025.


However, when you delve a little deeper, you will find that some demographics contributed more to the numbers due to the regional or age-related audience size. Let’s shine the spotlight on these demographics below, starting by focusing on the three of largest Esports markets globally – China, USA and Western Europe:

  • Asia: Being among the first regions to support esports betting, Asia has enjoyed the highest revenue for years, and 2021 is no different. China alone has an estimated esports revenue of $360.1 million for the year, representing the largest potion globally.
  • USA: With most states now embracing online esports betting and legalizing it, the US is now a fast-growing market for the esports industry, with an estimated $243 million for 2021. Right now, there are over 25 million esports fans in the US, and by 2023, this number is expected to almost double to over 46 million.
  • Western Europe: The UK and surrounding countries have also been very supportive of the esports betting market, and they come third in the contribution to the global esports revenue at $205.8 million.

Audience Size

As we speak, there are about 234 million avid esports fans and a further 240 million who occasionally view the tournaments. This is an increase from 2020 where there were roughly 215.4 million enthusiasts and 220.5 occasional viewers. The number is expected to keep rising, and it’s forecasted that by 2024, there will be 285.4 million dedicated esports viewers. That, of course, will translate to an increased volume of bettors.

Esports Games Preferences

Players are attracted to huge potential payouts like moths to a candle, and this has partly driven what game bettors prefer to place wagers on as well. But, of course, players are also inclined to bet on games that they feel more confident.

Today, CS: GO is the most played with an average of over half a million concurrent players on Steam and also happens to carry the largest prize pool of $7.98 million. Dota 2 and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are the second and third most-played esports games on Steam, respectively. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds boasts the second-largest prize pool of $7.8 million, while Fortnite is third with a $6.12 million prize pool.

As for betting, CS: GO, and Dota 2 also carry the day, with the third most popular esports betting game being League of Legends. Moreover, esports games that resemble traditional sports such as Maden, FIFA, and NBA2K have recently become popular betting choices, especially in 2020 when many traditional sporting events were canceled.

Final Thoughts

When competitive video games started back in the mid-2000s, no one had envisioned the boom that would propel the little-known niche into a billion-dollar industry just a couple of decades down the line. However, the advent of the internet ushered in a new era for esports, with gamers taking the game online and battling it out in front of millions of fans from around the world.

From there, it wasn’t long before fans were betting on several self-made esports markets, even approaching bookmakers to consider adding esports to their portfolios. While there was skepticism regarding the novel industry initially, some bookmakers still took the risk and started offering limited markets for esports. At this point, it’s clear that esports betting is here to stay, and with the rising figures, it may just be that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.

Related Articles