Live-streaming is arguably the new television, and eSports the new… well, sports. In 2018, eSports managed to reel in nearly 400 million viewers worldwide and saw a revenue income of $869 million across the year. There can be no doubt that this industry is set to become one of the high flyers as time goes on, with Goldman Sachs forecasting an increase to $2.96 billion in 2022. It is understandable then, that the iGaming sector is also interested in getting a piece of the action, particularly when you consider that many people do not have a traditional casino near them, but most likely own a smartphone or computer.
Gambling has a history of audience-based gaming, with casino games often drawing crowds when there is a particularly intense game, and the movement into televised games such as high-stakes poker where professionals play in front of live audiences just like at a football match or basketball game. Since the late 1970s, poker has been watched from the home by those who cannot make it to a casino, and these games were made all the more interesting after the introduction of the ‘hole cam’ in 1997, which allowed viewers to see the cards that players held in real-time. Many of the historic matches have been uploaded to video-streaming websites, often cutting them into highlight reels and compilations.
However, the latest development in online gambling is the live-stream, where viewers watch the games in real-time via platforms such as Twitch from their phones or computers. It isn’t surprising when you consider how much of the gambling community is now online. There are forums for players to communicate, casinos that are solely online, and even sites that allow players to view bonuses and deals across different game providers. These comparison sites can be extremely useful for new players and you can click to see the site for more information. With traditional sports moving online and the internet being the home of eSports, it makes sense for the iGaming sector to follow suit.
It isn’t just poker matches either, there are a healthy number of viewers that are interesting in watching casino streams, such as the Twitch star Kim Hultman aka ‘LetsGiveItASpin’. In 2017, they joined forces with Blueprint Gaming to premiere their new game, White Rabbit, which has inspired many other streamers to test their skills at gambling as opposed to video games. With online viewers of Twitch reaching 15 million a day, it is obvious why independent streamers are keen to introduce new forms of entertainment to their channels, increasing their reach and broadening their demographics. Some may make money through sponsorships or through winning games and earning prizes, but there is also money to be made through betting on the online players. Such as with horse racing or football matches, bookmakers can earn money through sorting bets for the viewers and even streaming their own commentary of matches for extra fees.
Surprisingly while most game genres and platforms do seem to crop up on Twitch, the Vita is almost nowhere to be seen. The lack of native video output from the offset didn’t help it break into that market. Then the PlayStation TV – which could have helped immensely, had little impact thanks to it’s incorporation of HDCP protection into its HDMI output. Bizarrely, it’s almost as if Sony didn’t want Vita owners to capture or stream video content from the system and share it with the outside world.
That aside, there is definitely a crossover between iGaming and live-streaming, which is possibly thanks to viewers’ desire to watch things that they can’t access themselves, because of resources or convenience. But there can be no doubt that the two are forming a lasting relationship that will continue to grow with technological advancement.
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