It was to be expected! The impact of the Covid-19 virus was particularly felt in the entertainment business, which experienced steep downs in revenue during the last few months, causing severe layoff situations like the one suffered by thousands of Disney workers a couple of days ago, or the now imminent closing of some of the largest movie theater chains in both the United States and Europe… Let’s not even talk about the losses that major sports leagues have had to endure this year, who were dealt the worst audience ratings in years on their comeback attempts. NBA Finals anyone? Didn’t think so.

There is but ONE big exception to the aforementioned trend, that of the burgeoning Esports industry, which has grown exponentially during the pandemic. The arrival of a new, distance-safe competitive sports-like environment has opened up a whole new market for the online betting houses, who speedily introduced esports betting odds and pools with outstanding success, gaining a whole new audience of passionate players, and a terribly young one at that too!

According to a recent article posted at media-savvy source The Conversation, the number of underage (11-16 year-old) active esports gamblers in the UK has gone up to 50 thousand reported cases, in the last two years alone, and the problem is only likely to become bigger over time. 

Are esports bettors generally younger than the average sports bettor?  Can the industry do something to prevent the expansion of underage gambling in the global market?

Before we continue, and as long as you’re over the legal age, make sure to check out esports action hub New sign-ups will earn instant access to high-quality streaming for major matches and one of the largest collections of esports betting odds out there.


Esports Bettors vs Sports Bettors

The Esports boom is evident everywhere you look, and it will be really hard to find a single esports-driven site without a single advert by some online betting site showing somewhere. The allure is just simply undeniable: The audience ratings of the most recent major esports events have now outgrown that of classic sports events, and the total value of the industry is now estimated at nearly $15 billion, propelling the investment made in advertising by online betting sites to multiply by three only during the lockdown period.

Unfortunately, there is one “tricky” aspect about this novel esports betting audience that bookmakers didn’t predict beforehand, that of a large portion of the new bettors being increasingly younger than their accustomed pond of sports gamblers. In average, the typical sports bettor’s age ranges between the 35 to 65 years, while the esports action aficionados tend to be in their mid-2os and oftentimes even younger than that.

Video games have been the turf of the fresh generations since the late 70s and 80s, which can easily explain the age shift in bettors to a younger frame, however, it is only until now, with the coming of in-game transactions and the normalization of online-based purchases that bookmakers are faced with the new challenge of dealing with underage gamers with a speedy clicking finger and daddy’s platinum credit card readily at hand.

But, how can bookies draw a clear separating line between the advertising made for adult audiences and that picked by underage players?  They cannot. Gamers of all ages are checking out esports-specific sites every single day, and the option to limit advertising to adult-only websites dedicated to esports is not as simple as it sounds. In short, Esports is a terribly young market and it would be simply foolish to pretend it was otherwise.

Gamers aged over 30 might still remember the controversy raised by the release of the Mortal Kombat games in the mid 90s, and how several attempts were made to censor the game and keep it away from underage players. They all mostly failed in the end, and ultimately, aided in the spike of the franchise’s popularity, so, the notion of restricting esports betting advertising online supposes a faulty strategy at best. The options are very limited indeed.

Perhaps the only piece of rational advice I head back then ought to be put to use again, and parents should take a little more control of what their kids are regularly up to; credit card reports come in every month, and keeping an eye out for odd purchases made by your children shouldn’t be that difficult a task, so, instead of blaming the esports industry and the online bookmakers for this new unpleasant trend, how about we blame the careless parents who have no clue what their children are doing on a regular basis? Now, THAT makes more sense to me.

How do you feel about the growing gambling problem in young esports bettors? – Let us know via our growing community in social media and keep up with all things gaming by reading eFCKNsports’ daily blog. Until Next Time!