It's a Guy Thing

The Rise of e-Sports and i-Gaming Entertainment

Online gaming has surged in popularity in recent years. With developments in technology meaning games are no longer the clunky, solo affairs of consoles past, online gaming has become an altogether slicker and more sophisticated affair. Games are now popular on new generation consoles, regularly updated to become more powerful, computers, and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Technology has allowed developers to optimise gameplay for different devices, and on-the-go gaming has seen a meteoric rise as smartphones have become ubiquitous. Connectivity has improved such that almost everyone has access to the internet, and barriers to entry have greatly reduced for producer and consumer. In 2019, the global gaming market was worth around US$151.55 billion, and this is expected to grow to almost US$257 billion by 2025, with over 2.5 billion unique players.

There are two sub-sections of this highly profitable and booming industry that have seen huge growth in recent times are relative newcomers to the scene: i-gaming and e-sports.


I-Gaming, put simply, is betting on the outcome of an event or game online, and includes online casinos and sports betting. The world of online gambling is huge; the market is expected to reach US$92.9 billion by 2023 in the USA alone, having already experienced huge growth from as recently as 2019 where the market was worth US$59.8 billion. Sports betting is slightly less regulated, but it is estimated that it accounts for around 35% of the gambling industry and is growing at a similar rate.

One hugely popular site is 888casino, offering both traditional casino games like poker, blackjack, slots, and live dealer games, as well as sports betting. Wagers range from mere pennies to larger amounts, catering for all budgets, and the different games cater for novices and experienced gamers. There is also a VIP area to reward loyalty, offering exclusive promotions, discounts, and members tables.


The first recorded instance of esports was the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics at Stanford University in 1972, and since then has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry, attracting almost 500 million viewers in 2020. Numbers are such that many venues cannot hold all those who wish to attend, and events are often sold out, with         tickets as hard to get as for any pop tour. Some of the most popular events, such as Overwatch and League of Legends (whose online audience for their 2018 invitational reached 60 million) are due to build their own venues, and there are several new esports arenas currently under construction: the LCK Esports Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, Full Sail university Arena in Florida and one in Richmond, Canada.

Predictions for market size vary but are estimated to be anything from US$1.3billion to US$3.2 billion by 2022. There is also a lot if investment from advertisers and tournament winners become celebrities and millionaires overnight, with prize money in the millions. Streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch allow gamers to share their gaming tips and walkthroughs of popular games and have become popular celebrities in their own right.

What is driving this growth?

·       Technology

Technology is undoubtedly the driving force behind the growth of the         industry.  Developers can provide increasingly exciting offerings, and consumers are able to access it. 

The very low barriers to entry, and low-cost high entertainment value         make online gambling and esports a popular entertainment options and is something different to watching TV or just playing a game.

·       Advertising and publicity

Using sponsorship and celebrity endorsements, i-gaming and esports are able target new demographics and strengthen their foothold in the market. 

·       Changing player habits

The rise of the casual and hyper-casual gamer has changed gaming. It is no longer limited to traditional gamers, particularly in the case of online gambling, where novices and experts alike can play, and players can spend mere minutes to hours playing.

What does the future hold?

New technology is being created and developed all the time, and we         can see these industries looking to adopt these on a daily basis. They also get involved with technology companies and invest in new technologies. Online casinos are already looking at ways to implement Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, to engage their customers. By leveraging technology to make players feel like they are actually in a real-life bricks and mortar casino, they will ensure they continue to attract and retain their player base and will ensure the continue to grow. Esports is using improvements in technology to stream their events to the masses, using new platforms to spread their reach and attract more viewers. If these industries continue to embrace advancements in technology and use it in smart ways to attract and retain customers, there is no reason that these industries will not continue to thrive in a digital age.