We sit down and speak with Oddin.gg Co-founder & Managing Director, Partnerships Marek Suchar in this captivating interview that probes the very soul of the competitive video gaming product known as esports. Oddin.gg has been one of the most prominent adopters of esports data feeds and tech and has helped onboard traditional sportsbooks.
Outlining the industry and its unique challenges, today Oddin.gg brings a comprehensive offer of odds feeds and risk management solutions that help companies navigate this exciting new vertical that has long been underestimated, but which proves to hold immense value when it comes to engaging with younger generations of tech-savvy consumers. Our conversation with Suchar is worth reading in its entirety.
Q: How does esports fit into the broader gambling industry ecosystem today and has there been a strong reception of the vertical?
Esports has found a place in the wider gambling industry ecosystem, attracting attention and interest from bettors and operators alike, and also, becoming one of the income sources that fuels the whole esports ecosystem. It offers a fresh avenue for bookmakers to engage with a younger audience and tap into the rapidly growing sector.
This form of betting has gained popularity, particularly in regions where esports and online gambling are well-established. It's rather a myth that responsible gambling, match-fixing, and underage betting remain concerns in esports: regulation addresses this issue to ensure the integrity of esports competitions and the safety of participants and bettors.
Also, the network of our partners allows solutions such as our risk management to spot irregularities and suspicious activity in real time. Coupled with professional organizations serving as an umbrella for major events, the credibility of esports will be growing, too. Overall, esports' rise as a spectator sport and its seamless integration with online gambling platforms have made it a promising vertical within the gambling industry.
Q: What is Oddin.gg's role in the esports betting ecosystem and why is your company an important part of this exciting market?
As a leading provider of B2B esports odds feed and risk management solutions, we believe that Oddin.gg holds importance within esports. We offer a comprehensive suite of services tailored to the needs of operators in many regulated jurisdictions.
Oddin.gg stands out for its expertise in delivering mainly live odds for various esports events. By leveraging advanced algorithms and cutting-edge technology that includes AI and machine learning, we ensure that operators can offer engaging, yet profitable odds to their customers. This reliable and comprehensive offering enhances the overall betting experience and enables operators to provide a wide range of betting markets for different esports titles.
Oddin.gg's risk management solutions are crucial in maintaining a stable margin. We employ sophisticated systems to monitor and identify any suspicious betting patterns or potential instances of match-fixing in esports. By actively addressing these issues, Oddin.gg contributes to the integrity and credibility of esports competitions, safeguarding the interests of both operators and bettors.
Q: In your experience, are companies done with underestimating esports betting as a vertical, and how do they feel about the segment today?
Companies have evolved their perception of esports betting as a vertical since the pandemic. Initially, many underestimated its potential, regarding it as a niche market. However, the current sentiment indicates a significant shift in attitudes.
Today, companies have recognized the immense value and opportunities that esports betting presents. They have come to appreciate the growing popularity of esports as a spectator sport and its appeal to a younger demographic. Consequently, they are actively embracing the segment and incorporating it into their offerings.
The realization of the potential in esports betting has sparked increased interest and investment from companies within the gambling industry. They understand that esports betting provides a fresh avenue to engage with a tech-savvy audience and tap into the fast-paced growth of the esports industry. Overall, the changing perception of esports betting among companies reflects a recognition of its significance and the potential benefits it holds for their businesses.
Q: Has esports realized its full potential just yet, and how is Oddin.gg helping with this?
Esports, while having achieved considerable success as a global phenomenon, has not yet fully fulfilled its potential. The industry continues to evolve and grow at a remarkable pace, presenting exciting opportunities for further development: more markets, higher engagement, more fun. In this context, Oddin.gg has emerged as a key player contributing to the advancement of esports betting.
Oddin.gg provide innovative solutions and services that enhance the overall esports betting experience. By leveraging cutting-edge data analytics and proprietary technology, Oddin.gg empowers bookmakers and online casinos on every continent of the world.
Betting is one of the major sponsors of esports. Therefore, we aim through our efforts to help shape and enhance the future of esports betting and through it esports as well.
Q: Are there specific esports titles that tend to define the entire market? Would we be talking about esports betting today if CS:GO didn't exist?
In the world of esports betting, while specific titles have significantly influenced the market, it would be an oversimplification to attribute the industry's existence solely to one game. Among the defining titles, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) definitely holds a prominent position in Europe with its rich history, strategic gameplay, and passionate community. However, it is important to acknowledge the collective impact of other influential games such as League of Legends in Asia and Dota 2 in CIS and LATAM .
LoL and Dota 2 have made substantial contributions to the rise of esports and its betting scene. With their massive player bases, thriving esports scenes, and captivating gameplay, these games have garnered tremendous viewership and engagement. Each title brings its unique qualities, fostering a diverse and dynamic esports landscape.
Q: What are some of the main challenges to the wider adoption of esports by sportsbooks do you think?
There are several challenges that the esports industry needs to address. Firstly, one of the primary obstacles is the perception of esports among traditional sportsbooks. Esports is a relatively new and rapidly evolving domain. Although we see that the initial fight of relevance is over and esports have established themselves as a phenomenon, some sportsbooks may still view it as an unfamiliar territory. In some cases, they see it not as complementary, but a competitive product. The lack of understanding or prejudices about esports can hinder the integration of esports betting into their existing operations. We can't expect not only sportsbooks, but also major media and global brands to invest in comprehensive research on the esports industry, it's on us, companies operating in esports, to continue helping esports to get a solid position beside traditional sports and betting products. To make the adoption of esports as smooth as possible.
The biggest challenge is the technical challenges for sportsbooks based on the unique nature of esports competitions. Esports matches often involve complex game mechanics, multiple players, and various in-game events. Providing accurate and real-time odds for these dynamic situations requires sophisticated data integration and analysis. For sportsbooks, this creates a huge set of requirements: collection of new data types, fast pace character of the games, different philosophy, completely new mechanics. Additionally, the availability and reliability of esports data sources can also pose challenges. I believe that is why our clients are extremely happy with us: we do our best to tackle all these challenges so they can be profitable in esports and focus on their key competencies.
One usually overlooked challenge of esports are patches that change the game play every couple of months. Patch brings the new flavor to the game, simply put, by weakening some heroes, strengthening the others (e.g. Dota2) or bringing new maps or inventory (e.g. CS:GO). In football or basketball, your models are relatively the same for the last couple of years and there will not be that much difference in the upcoming 10 years. Yet in esports, every new patch might mean a significant change to the model, therefore we need to keep up with the changes on a monthly basis to remain profitable for our partners. Esports do not stay still and neither do we.
Q: What's next for esports betting based on Oddin.gg's expertise in the field?
First of all, whether we like it or not, gaming and with it esports is here to stay. Just listen to kids these days, whether their main topic of discussion is football or new season of Fortnite; or rumors around the planned launch of Counter Strike 2.
It is just part of human nature. Our lives are surrounded by stories. Humanity started around the campfire, passing the stories to the next generations. Next was the alphabet to make the stories and knowledge sharable. Radio and television were the next revolution in listening and watching the content. Games are just the next stage of us interacting with the stories, making the next move our own. And VR would put us into the story itself. That is why we love gaming.
Regarding esports itself: we have partners that were able to double or triple their esports volume without much of a marketing spend year over year easily. We have the ones that pushed through marketing and have been growing 10x or 15x annually. Because of that and the demographics, I strongly believe esports strategy should be a strategy of any bookmaker looking beyond 2030 as without it, younger bettors (yet already 30+) would go to your competitors that care about the esports ecosystem – about their passion.
We are also very arrogant about Western views, all the time discussing League of Legends, Dota2 and Counter-Strike. There are millions of viewers watching Free Fire and Mobile Legends in Brazil, Honor of Kings in Asia or PUBG Mobile in India. Africa is a sleeping giant, skipping desktops and jumping directly into mobile games. At the end of the day, if there are sufficient eyeballs, people would eventually love to bet on the outcome. These titles will bring onboard millions of new passionate bettors.
Ask yourself: do I want to miss that?