The esports industry has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last few years. Multitudes of fans now gather to watch competitive online video gaming on the big stage. Feeding on its exponential growth is the esports gambling industry. Betting on your favorite team can be exhilarating, but there are real risks that accompany esports gambling.
The major risks of esports gambling
Avoid making it a habit
What starts as pennies – ends in paychecks. An untreated gambling habit can quickly snowball into addiction. Esports viewers are especially susceptible, as huge portions of the global audience are young. A study at the University of Bristol analyzed the followers of esports betting accounts on Twitter. From the observed, 17% of followers were under 16, with a shocking 69% between 16 and 23. At such an impressionable age, young betters are easily persuaded to spend more.
The global esports betting industry was set to make US$14 billion in revenue in 2020. Over time, COVID-19 lockdowns kept the world indoors. With so much time at home, esports betters spent even more. Before too long, harmless betting hobbies could cost more than initially anticipated. Gambling is designed to draw you back in for one more round. In the end, no game is worth life savings.
Like any money investment, it’s good to know the risks and set limits for yourself. Of course, anyone suffering from a gambling addiction should contact an addiction specialist.
As live streams and gambling sites increase in traffic, cybercriminals seize the opportunity. In 2016, the data of 1.5 million members was leaked when the Esports Entertainment Association League was hacked. At events, thousands of viewers connect to free, public Wi-Fi to make their bets. These connections are typically not very secure and easy targets. It also allows predatory connections to be hosted. Those looking to take advantage set up a public connection, often named “Free Wi-Fi”. The people who connect to this “free” network have their data collected.
Whether watching from a screen at home or cheering your team on in a stadium, your best safeguard is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN hides your browsing, location, and personal data from cybercriminals on public connections. Want to know how good is Surfshark VPN? Check out its latest review.
Cheating and fraud
Corruption in sports isn’t fresh news. It’s most likely been happening since humans invented the dice. Unfortunately, even though the roots of esports are noble, the industry is no exception to the rule. Match-fixing and widespread corruption in esports has shadowed the industry over the years. Players are paid or pressured to lose on purpose and entire games are rigged. You might be betting against scammers, and not for your team.
Sadly, there aren’t many ways you can get around this problem. A large responsibility rests on the shoulders of industry leaders, like Tencent and Activision. Some solutions may require more data from users but would make it easier to spot red flags.
Esports has fortified its place in our entertainment culture. Betting on results increases team support and incentive to watch. Often ignored is the dark side to betting on virtual sports and the industry. Substantial risks sometimes come with this hobby. If overlooked, they can spell trouble for many in the long run. With some awareness of these risks, any esports experience can be safe, but more importantly, just plain fun.
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