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PandaScore 2023’s esports betting report cards

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Esports betting showed resilience in 2023 against the ups and downs of the year. It sent out a strong signal that esports is here to stay. PandaScore delves into market performance in this article.

PandaScore saw a significant increase not only in total esports wagers, but also the amount wagered per bet. In 2023, the average bet amount was EUR45. This is a 37% rise compared to what it was in 2021.

The total betting turnover has also increased. The esports market was undergoing corrections, including reduced budgets for teams and the consolidation of professionals.

Many suppliers and operators have seen their margins either maintain or improve on previous years.

Overall turnover continues to increase year on year. The pool of betting customers has increased and bets are larger than ever before. Results from 2023 indicate that esports is an evergreen industry that has gained consumer interest and comfort.

We’ll dive in a little deeper.


What esports games are most popular to bet on?

Counter-Strike is incredibly popular and has a strong betting culture. This means that it historically dominates the total turnover or makes up a large portion. This is very true. PandaScore clients are responsible for 60.2% total turnover. Counter-Strike is no longer the dominant esport.

Dota 2 is now the second most popular game among bettors. League of Legends has seen a decline in popularity. LoL domestic competitions in China and Korea have always been popular. The North American League Championship Series is not far behind. This year, we have seen a decline in the number of viewers for the LCS and the total amount bet.

PandaScore’s addition of Ebattles for football to its offering produced some notable results. It is incredible that in the first year, PandaScore managed to generate 5.7% of its total revenue. There is a caveat to these titles that are marketed and designed as fast esports games for bettors. They’re mostly EA Sports FC matches.

The esports games are a major part of the sportsbooks’ product range, but the profile of the bettors is quite different.

The shift from a longer, more intense season to Valorant always had interesting betting implications. Valorant’s total revenue is growing steadily and it is far ahead of the other titles in esports long tail.


Valorant and the Long Tail

It’s important to look beyond the three big esports games of Counter-Strike: Dota 2 & LoL and see how the long-tail titles compare with Valorant.

Call of Duty is the most popular esports title, and Valorant has a growing fan base. Call of Duty remains a top title, even with the US regulations being implemented on a per-state basis. This is because the professional gaming scene has now moved to the United States. Valorant is a popular title for North American esports enthusiasts. It remains to be determined whether other long-tail titles will be able to catch up to the Riot Games’ first-person shooter game.


The show is run by live betting

In the last few years we have seen bettors shift from 55-45 to a larger share – about 65%. It is consistent with the trend in sports betting, and a good indicator that live betting has improved.

Counter-Strike is the game that has been most played in the past 12 months. ESL Pro League is a month-long season with 32 teams, and many matches. It’s not uncommon to see competitions at this level. Paris Major, arguably the largest Counter-Strike event ever held in Paris with local heroes Vitality winning the tournament.

It’s a fact that there are no Dota 2 events in the top 10 tournaments, including the International which is the last tournament of the season. The Dota Pro Circuit, which is the competitive season of the game, was designed in a way that allowed for a high number of matches. This was despite the fact that LoL had a higher overall revenue. Dota 2’s turnover was spread across many tournaments that performed well, rather than the high-ticket events in other games.

Valve, the game publisher, is replacing its Dota Pro Circuit structure with a decentralised grassroots model. Only time will reveal what this change means to betting.


Pandascore expects a positive future for 2024

Valve’s overhaul of the DPC resulted some tournaments at the top leading the way and ESL providing some large-scale qualifiers.

After a mixed experience with midweek games, the LCS has decided to move back to weekends. Weekend timeslots are extremely popular among LoL players and betting enthusiasts. We could also see an increase in the LCS’s turnover, given the legalisation of online esports gambling across the US.

Valorant continues to be a favorite among operators and suppliers, who are eager to see if its newly-established Partner Program will improve the stability, consistency, and quality of professional gaming. A more stable league will always lead to a stronger connection to the teams and players. This is a crucial touchpoint when esports betting.

While the first major of Counter-Strike 2, which was recently released, will begin in March and the changes in the competition structure may lead to a shift in betting behavior, there’s no doubt that betting on Counter-Strike is going to remain strong.

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