Solving the problem of lengthy delays in “live” streams is key to eSports becoming a staple offering for sportsbooks globally, industry suppliers have warned.
Flavien Guillocheau, CEO of eSports data provider PandaScore, raised the issue during a panel discussion on the future of sportsbooks held by G2E Asia on Wednesday – claiming streaming delays have high potential to cause harm to bettors unaware of the practice.
The streaming of eSports matches is typically on a delay of at least one minute, but can be up to 10 minutes, in order to prevent the players from tuning in to see what their opposing players are doing in real time. However, that also has the potential to give bookmakers a huge advantage over their customers.
“What matters is the customer, the punter and fan satisfaction and when we talk about the ugly delay, I don’t think it is that common knowledge that streams are delayed and you can’t really bet off the stream on eSports,” Guillocheau said.
“The sharps know but the average punter probably doesn’t know, the average eSports fan who wants to get onboard with betting probably doesn’t know and to them, betting on stream is going to be very harmful.
“Imagine you are watching a stream and betting on it but the bookmaker actually knows 10 minutes ahead of you what has happened. The match might even have ended already. It’s very difficult and this might be one of the problems with onboarding new people to eSports.”
That problem, says Bayes Esports CEO Martin Dachselt, is exacerbated by the unique traits of eSports fans when compared with traditional sports bettors. According to Dachselt, while at least 50% of traditional sports bets are placed pre-match, more than 70% of bets placed on eSports are in-play.
“I think there needs to be a lot more done to engage customers, gamify and to have a more pleasant customer experience,” he said. “If you have no [live] video stream in your sportsbook, that is very confusing for the customer because the data does not match what they see on Twitch.
“There are a lot of things that can be improved such as what happens when the odds change while you are betting. That happens in eSports a lot.”
The key, Guillocheau suggests, is education.
“This is a problem that needs to be handled in a different way,” he said. “Our role as suppliers is to educate people across the industry. It’s all about the punter and the fan at the end of the day.
“Delay is one of the big issues and if not handled better it is going to harm the long-term growth of eSports. It comes down to how eSports fans behave and what they want. It’s a lot about interaction, it’s a lot about live and that’s the experience we need to provide to them.”