Aussie online operator offers odds on Call of Duty world league tournament
Aussie online betting group TopBetta is eying the eSports market, according to Australian media reports, and has launched an exploratory exercise by offering odds on a recent Call of Duty world league invitational tournament.
Randall Noble, who heads the newly formed GameBetta division of the company, told local reporters in Newcastle, Australia that the goal was to assess the demand for eSports action among Aussie punters and the tournament, hosted by Melbourne's Crown Casino, presented a good opportunity to do that.
"This was a good opportunity to start building a presence and getting some traction," Noble said. "The trajectory of e-sports has been phenomenal. Last year, there were 220 million viewers. This year it's expected to hit 250 million viewers."
He said most e-sports fans were in the 18 to 34 age bracket, with disposable income that was spent on games, adding there was capacity for them to bet.
"We did some market research and had positive results on people being interested in betting on e-sports, which drove our concept for getting into this," he said.
Noble added that independent research has predicted that the e-sports market will generate $500 million in revenue by 2019 but had already hit that figure last year.
The tournament was held over two days on Apr. 9 and 10, with Crown reportedly putting up A$70,000 in prize money for the winner.
Rob Cumbrae-Stewart, a spokesman for CrownBet, said his company had also offered bets on the tournament, noting that eSports interest and popularity is now comparable to sports such as golf, MMA or darts:
"The International (TI), with a prize pool of $16 million, in August last year is what really sparked our interest on it," he said. "We are seeing more and more money for each tournament and thinking that it will only get bigger from here."
The Crown Invitational was the first Call of Duty World League Challenge Division event held in Australia since the inception of the league. The prestigious tournament featured 3 of the world's best teams: NA champions Optic Gaming, EU champions Millenium, and ANZ champions Mindfreak.
Challenging them for the $70,000 prize pool were five of ANZ's fiercest eSports teams: Tainted Minds, Orbit, Chiefs, Apotheon, and Plantronics.Nv.
The event was livestreamed on Twitch here: https://www.twitch.tv/callofduty
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