Esports is at the heart of the Luckbox project. The ambition is not only to become the number one place to bet on esports but also to create thriving community where players and fans come together to engage with each other over their favourite games.
But why esports? Well, for a start, we love esports at Luckbox and, secondly, the potential in the sector is huge — and largely untapped.
A brief overview of Esports
For the uninitiated, esports is a general term for playing video games at a competitive level. Major tournaments and finals are played between teams in venues with thousands in the crowd, while millions more play online.
Teams are similar to football clubs — they scout, recruit, develop and transfer players. Tickets for major events sell out in minutes.
Games are played on PC and consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One, with the most popular games including Dota2, CS:GO, League of Legends, PUGB, FIFA and H1Z1.
With the explosion in popularity, organisation and structure has followed. There are now several governing bodies with responsibility for different games, regions and events, with amateur and professional players and teams taking part.
Esports might be relatively new but, make no mistake, it’s already big business.
How big is esports?
Esports is truly global and massively inclusive. Players of all ages and from all backgrounds are involved.
According to esports market intelligence agency Newzoo, the total audience for 2016 was 370 million, with that expected to rise to 385 million. By 2020, it’s expected to reach 589 million, with revenue generated by esports expected to reach £1.1 billion.
For context, 31 million watched the 2016 NBA finals, while 36 million watched the same year’s League of Legends World Finals.
Newzoo say: “With the number of viewers esports attracts, there is no doubt it will grow to a multi-billion-dollar industry in the coming years.
“The only question is at what pace this will occur. After an initial growth phase, the overall structure of the esports industry has become clear. However, business models aimed at increasing revenues per entertained consumer are still being tested.
“As the growth of the industry largely depends on improving the monetisation of fans, the pace of growth will depend on the success of new leagues and events that look to sell media rights and sponsorship deals for the entire league at once.
“Local and challenger leagues are a second crucial component required to tap into the local marketing budgets of sponsors.”
Of course, audience and revenue figures of these sizes don’t go unnoticed and major brands have already begun to align themselves.
German Bundesliga club Schalke and several top-flight Turkish teams have League of Legends squads, while French champions Paris St Germain have teams in Rocket League and FIFA. And there’s plenty more on the way.
In the US, the NBA 2K eLeague is due to launch in 2018, with all 30 NBA teams predicted to have an esports team.
NBA 2K’s senior vice president of basketball operations Jason Argent told engadget: “I think there’s enough momentum, there’s enough proof, and there’s enough people and enough consumers who are playing and participating in eSports that it’s a very viable market in our opinion.”
There are plenty of places to go for fans to bet on their favourite games but no one has nailed it yet — which is why we’re so excited about Luckbox.
Most traditional operators offer some form of esports betting but options are limited and there’s a clear lack of understanding of the sector.
And the other end of the spectrum is platforms that fully understand esports and have successfully attracted traffic. The problem for many of these sites is a lack of regulation.
Some are operating illegally — particularly skins gambling sites — and have been or will be in danger of being closed down. Thousands of players have been left out of pocket by such sites. Players simply aren’t properly protected.
And those that hold licenses are restricted to certain geographical regions, meaning they are not able to reach a global audience and grow as a business.
Luckbox’s mission is to capitalise on this opportunity by being a genuinely dedicated esports-centric platform while at the same time complying with the highest levels of jurisdiction, just like other major operators.
As well as love of esports, the Luckbox team boasts a wealth of experience in the gambling industry, working with companies such as PokerStars, Full Tilt and BetStars. This combination of understanding and knowledge will put us at the forefront of the sector.