Profit to be made off eSports gaming competitions

Jacob Brase | Staff Writer

With a few bucks and a computer, anybody can make money.

In the world of gambling, it is very rare you hear talk of betting on eSports, or professional video game matches. Despite it not being a mainstream gambling technique, the eSports gambling market is projected to be worth over $30 billion by the year 2020. In more simple terms, there is a lot of money to be made betting on video games, and almost anyone can do it.

Unlike fantasy football where professionals are physically facing off, eSports are video game professionals who play against each other online. Fans of these matches bet on the outcome, and win various amounts of money depending on the odds.

Ryan Quigley, a junior at Mason High School, said he was shocked at how easy it is for people to gamble this way.

“All of the sites have zero ID checks; there’s no verification whatsoever so basically anyone can do it,” Quigley said. “Just put money in your account, buy some skins and you’re ready.”

The actual money being exchanged when gambling on eSports are called ‘Skins’. Skins are virtual goods video game users will buy to make their guns look a certain way in video games. The monetary value of a skin is solely dependent on how rare it is, or how hard it is to obtain in a game.

Quigley said it was rather simple to translate skins to real world money.

“There are third party websites with marketplaces where you can put your skins for sale, and it directly translates to real world money with only like a 10% tax,” Quigley said. “You can either get bitcoin or paypal. I would cash out to my paypal, then that money goes directly into my bank account.”

Players and gamblers hold their skins on Steam accounts, which Quigley called “The Xbox live for computers.” The worth of a skin is dependent on how rare it is, or how hard it is to obtain. If players don’t get skins by buying them with real money, they can purchase a crate, where you have a small chance of winning a valuable skin. Opening Crates is a form of gambling by itself, but in this instance you pay a much smaller amount in exchange for a small chance of winning something significant.

Quigley often purchased crates in hopes of obtaining something valuable, and when he finally won a rare skin, he said it was pure luck.

“I had a .003% chance of winning this skin, but I did somehow. I still to this day have no clue how it happened,” Quigley said. “It was an AWP Dragon Lore skin which is worth $800 in real money.”

Quigley said this was one of his best experiences with skins, but the actual gambling on eSports matches can have consequences.

“There’s a lot at risk when you’re gambling in eSports. When you’re betting on whos going to win a single game, you always have a 50% chance of loss,” Quigley said. “You’ll have those win streaks, but you’ll also have those really bad periods you lose a bunch of money, Greed kills you in the end.”

Despite his many positive experiences, Quigley said eSports gambling will never reach as many people as other popular gambling venues.

“There is money to be made, but it’s not exactly reliable,” Quigley said. “I don’t think this type of gambling will ever be mainstream.”

Graphic by Jacob Brase.