[toc]Pinnacle, the first online bookmaker to offer real money betting on esports, has crossed a major milestone with more than five million bets placed on esports games since 2010.
Pinnacle began offering esports betting markets as their Head of Sportsbook Marco Rubwas a big fan of League of Legends and saw the potential for a large betting market in the fast-emerging esports industry.
There were reservations, as at this time no bookmaker offered real money esports betting. This was new ground not only for Pinnacle but for the bookmaking industry. However, seven years later, with the esports industry predicted to reach $1.5 billion in revenue within three years, it has proven to be a great decision for Pinnacle.
The road to five million
Since Pinnacle took their first esports bet in February 2010, the market has blossomed. In late 2014, the site hit the million-bet milestone.
Within a year, Pinnacle added a slew of new esports to its roster: Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, World of Tanks and more. Two years after that one millionth bet, Pinnacle had taken more than four million esports bets by October 2016.
Now, just a few months into 2017, the record-breaking five million milestone has been crossed.
It is a huge testament to the growth of esports betting that it took four years to take one million bets, two more years to take three million more, then just six months to hit another million. The 10-million milestone looms!
The bet that started it all
A Canadian Pinnacle customer named Simon has the honour of being the first-ever person to place a bet on esports via an online bookmaker, immediately proving that there was a market. He made his first wager on Starcraft 2.
“I thought the odds were off and I was getting great value,” he said. “With esports being so new, the lines [might not have been] as sharp as they could be.
“If I’m looking for the best bets, I know the only place to go is Pinnacle. It’s the only sportsbook I recommend to anyone.”
Moving into esports sponsorship
Clearly the market for esports betting existed, but the wider esports community still had to welcome the idea.
Pinnacle sponsored the Dota 2 Pro-Am in January 2014, offering amateur esports enthusiasts the chance to take on the professionals with great results.
The history of esports
While Pinnacle were the first online bookmaker to jump on the ever-growing bandwagon that is the esports industry, the sport itself had been established long beforehand.
The first-ever video game competition took place at Stanford University in 1972, but esports as we recognise it didn’t take off until the dawn of the internet age.
The late 1990s saw the increase of internet-enabled gaming and the rise of esports tournaments. South Korea is often credited with bringing esports tournaments into the mainstream, and the country has a long association with large Starcraft tournaments and events.
It is estimated that esports revenues will reach $696 million in 2017 and grow to over $1.5 billion within three years.
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