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Published Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 in

Bitcoin and Esports – A Valentine’s Day Special

Many Bitcoin enthusiasts and early adopters are gamers, and many gamers take a lot in interest in technologies like Bitcoin. These two markets are clearly a match made in heaven, and the data shows that this relationship couldn’t be tighter. For anyone already betting on esports, the introduction of Bitcoin as a gambling currency is an instance of “love at first sight”. This new market for Bitcoin esports betting has rapidly gained international recognition in recent years, and as a result, a number of high profile esportsbooks now accept Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. In this article, we take a look at some of the latest and greatest Bitcoin esports betting sites, as well as some trends in the market that hint at the future of this seemingly perfect match.

Why Do People Use Bitcoin for Esports Betting?

Esports betting is no longer accessible for those living in countries where online gambling is banned or heavily regulated – most notably in the USA. Despite this, many esports bettors were able to sidestep the issue through “skins betting”, where bets could be placed with virtual items (skins) instead of real money. For many years, skins betting was enormously successful, and dozens of esports betting sites appeared on the scene offering this new method of depositing/withdrawing. Unfortunately, as quickly as this phenomenon had started, it had stopped. Steam announced in Autumn 2016 that they would ban the trading of skins on these betting sites, and this option for players no longer exists. As a result, Bitcoin was taken up as the next best alternative – providing an anonymous and fast way to gamble on any major esport at a range of professional bookmakers. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin and its proven track record as a viable currency has ushered in a new era of online esports betting, one that is set to grow from here.

Esports Betting and Its Growth

According to esports betting aggregator, there are now over 30 different esports betting sites available to players around the world, and that number is growing fast. Data from the esports trends site showed that over 300 million hours of esports were consumed on in January 2017, up from 230 million in the previous year. In Dota 2, the total prize money across all majors in 2015 stood at $24,000,000, rising to just shy of $30,000,000 in 2016. With such an enormous following, and prizepools that exceed that of many “real world” sports such as Tennis and Football, it is no wonder that esports betting is becoming mainstream. On the day of this article’s publication, Fnatic also announced that it had signed a partnership with Italian football club, AS Roma, to introduce the club’s first professional team to FIFA’s growing esports league.

Dedicated vs Mainstream Esports Betting
Some of the best esports betting sites that accept Bitcoin are the likes of GG.BET – a sportsbook that is dedicated to esports betting and nothing else. These modern esports betting sites are attempting to go under the nose of the mainstream betting platforms like William Hill and Bet365, in an attempt to carve out a name for themselves in this new market. And it appears to be working. Those mainstream platforms like William Hill appear to have missed the boat – either through wilful ignorance or mistakenly underestimating esports betting as a viable market. This oversight is no doubt a mistake, and as Bitcoin and esports grows, we can expect those less favorable towards this relationship to miss out in a big way.

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