Global Gambling Statistics 2019

There are more than 2.5 billion gamers around the world. Video games have taken the world. “The literature review revealed that geographical region made little difference to prevalence,” says Vladimir Poznyak, an expert on substance use and addictive behaviours at the World Health Organization (WHO), who points to several surveys showing internet gaming disorder prevalence between 1%-10% in Europe and North America. In 2019, the global games market will generate revenues of $152.1 billion, a +9.6% year on-year increase. For the first time since 2015, the U.S. Will be the largest gaming market by revenues globally with $36.9 billion this year.

According to The American Gaming Association (AGA), the gambling industry in the US is worth $261 billion and supports 1.8 million jobs in 40 states (1); however, gambling has had a difficult (and illegal) history in the USA and it is just up until now that the path is being cleared.

Sports gambling statistics

Several anti-gambling laws have been in place since the great depression and gaming has been heavily regulated ever since. Some of those regulations haven’t been updated since the 60’s. Despite this, the widespread use of the internet (and online casinos) have made the betting scene change notably and laws have started to shift (2).

Today, the industry faces a rapid growth and increased revenue moving away from the stigma it once held, making it easier for people to access online gaming and betting.

Gambling Revenues in the USA

USA gambling revenues increased to over $160 billion in 2018. Now that sports betting is legal, most gaming experts and financial analysts predict the total revenues for US betting each year will top $200 billion. Whether it’s a lottery ticket, slot machines, sports bets, bingo, or poker, Americans love to gamble.

As each year passes, US state governments expand legalized and regulated games of chance, which encourages more gambling. 2018 was no different. Below is a breakdown of the revenue generated by each form of betting each year.

Commercial Casinos$41.2 Billion$51.4 Billion
Tribal Casinos$31.945 Billion$32.801 Billion
Poker Rooms$1.9 Billion$1.9 Billion
Lottery Revenues$80.55 Billion$72 Billion
Legal Bookmaking$248 Million$430.6 Million
US Online Gambling$247.5 Million$306.5 Million
Pari-Mutuel$295 Million$299 Million
Charitable Games/Bingo$2.15 Billion$2.1 Billion
Total Revenue$158.54 Billion$161.24 Billion

USA Casino Revenues

US commercial casinos generated $41.2 billion in 2017, a 3.7% increase year-to-year from 2016 and a new record for gross gaming revenues for US commercial casinos. New casinos in Maryland and New York added to the increased revenues in 2017. MGM National Harbor in Maryland was the most successful new casinos, but Del Lago Resorts, Rivers Casino, and Resorts World Catskills in New York state also contributed.

In all, commercial casinos generated $51,395,562,664 in revenues in 2018. The total represents a 3.5% increase over 2017. Commercial casinos sustained 737,450 jobs and paid $34.334 billion in worker income. The Las Vegas Strip generated $6.59 billion in gaming revenues in 2018, making it the top destination. Atlantic City came in second with $2.51 billion, which shows a strong 5-year bounce back from its $2.1 billion in 2014. Chicagoland, Baltimore-Washington DC, and New York City finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th among commercial casino markets.

USA Tribal Casino Revenues

The National Indian Gaming Council still has not released full tribal casino statistics, so the NIGC’s 2016 gross gaming revenues are the most recent official revenue statistics. In 2016, America’s tribal casinos generated $31.195 million in gross gaming revenues. That is up nearly $1.3 billion from 2015, which itself increased $1.4 billion from 2014. If one projected similar growth year-to-year from 2016 to 2017, one might expect to see gross gaming revenues in the range of $33.3 billion for 2017. To avoid speculation, we list the 2016 official statistics. The NIGC releases the previous year’s figures in June or July each year, so check back for the latest results.

Tribal casinos generated $32.801 billion in 2018 — a 3.5% increase over 2017. At its current pace, the tribal casino industry should overtake commercial casino revenues by the year 2030. Like the commercial gambling industry, a handful of tribal casinos launched sportsbooks.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians opened sports betting at their three land-based casinos, while the Pueblo of Santa Ana opened a sportsbook at Santa Ana Star Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bookmakers’ success could open the door for many other tribal sportsbooks across the United States.

US Poker Room Revenues

Nevada poker room revenues showed less than 1% growth, as gross gaming revenues were $118.46 million. The 2017 poker rake was $117.7 million. The Nevada figures were a minor miracle, considering that several Nevada poker rooms closed in the past year. MGM Resorts closed the Mirage poker room in February 2017, while the Hard Rock Las Vegas poker room closed in March 2017 and Luxor cardroom closed in May 2017. (The cardrooms for the Linq, Eastside Cannery, The Plaza, and Aliante Casino closed in 2016.)

Atlantic City’s seven poker rooms added $28.38 million in gross gaming revenues in 2017. Pennsylvania’s live poker revenues equaled $60 million. MGM National Harbor in Maryland collected $44.5 million in poker rake alone last year, which was the vast bulk of Maryland poker revenues in 2017. New York’s new live poker rooms, on the other hand, contributed only $6.7 million to the nation’s live poker revenue total. It is difficult to calculate accurately the live poker revenues for America’s 6,100+ live poker rooms. Tribal casinos contain many card rooms and they do not have to report their earnings to states. Thus, it is likely that some poker revenues might be listed under tribal casino statistics.

Nevada poker rooms increased their total rake from $118.45 million to $120.1 million. On the other hand, Atlantic City poker revenues dropped from $28.38 million in 2017 to $27.028 million in 2018. Pennsylvania’s live poker revenues remained in the $60 million range. MGM National Harbor remained high with over $45 million in poker rake, while the New York state live card rooms continued with a week haul with a little over $7 million in revenues. As always, it’s difficult to gauge total poker revenues, because tribal casinos include their poker rake with their other casino games.

Ultimately, the official US poker room revenues remained steady at $1.9 billion. 2018 showed the US poker industry holding steady after two years of decline. Fewer Las Vegas casinos have card rooms than they did ten years ago, but 2018 did not have any major Vegas poker rooms close. 2016 and 2017 showed a marked decline. MGM Resorts closed the Mirage poker room in February 2017, Hard Rock Las Vegas’s poker room closed in March 2017, and the Luxor cardroom closed in May 2017. In 2016, the cardrooms for The Plaza, the LINQ, Eastside Cannery, and Aliante Casino closed. Still, the United States has over 6,100 poker rooms, so the revenue stream remained steady throughout 2018.

New Jersey Online Gambling Revenues

US online gambling produced $247.5 million in revenues in 2017. New Jersey’s online gambling industry continues to grow. In 2017, the combined revenue of Atlantic City’s online casinos and poker sites was $245 million. That’s a 21% increase from 2016 when New Jersey’s iGaming niche generated $195 million. Delaware added only $2.4 million in online gambling revenues, which was an 18% decline.

Mike Lawton of the Nevada Gaming Control Board said online poker revenues are included in total poker revenues for the state, so it is hard to get official statistics for Nevada online poker. Given the fact, only two Nevada online poker sites exist and state regulators try to hide the small revenue stream, one can assume Nevada’s iPoker stats are tiny. Nevada has about twice the online gamblers as Delaware, so $5 million is a safe assumption. Those poker revenues are not included in our figures, though, because they are included in Nevada’s overall poker stats.

New Jersey grabbed the lion’s share of legal US online gambling revenues in 2018 with $298.7 million. Five years into its experiment with online gambling, New Jersey’s online casino and poker portals continue to grow apace. Delaware and Nevada both have regulated online poker, but despite the Multi-State Internet Gambling Association (MSIGA), their revenues were negligible. Pennsylvania will be a huge factor in 2019, but its online poker and casino industry was still getting off the ground in 2018.

Interstate online gambling faces a severe test in 2019. The U.S. Department of Justice declared in January 2019 that interstate online poker is illegal under federal law, striking a blow to the MSIGA pact between Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. The New Hampshire Lottery sued because its online lotto ticket sales are endangered by the 2019 DOJ opinion, while New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed their own lawsuit to protect their online poker and casino industries. Whatever happens with the legal cases, US online gambling revenue growth should be significant in the coming year, because Pennsylvania’s iGaming industry launches.


US Lottery Revenues

Like the tribal casino revenues, compiling an official list of lottery revenues takes a bit longer each year, because of the patchwork of state-run lotteries and multistate lottery associations. In 2016, US lottery ticket sales were $80.5 billion. The projected figures for 2017 are expected to exceed $85 billion, due to upticks in the sale of scratchcards and the increases in the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot sizes. Scratch-off tickets are the biggest contributor, with the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery association games contributing the second and third-most to the revenue pool.

New York state had the biggest lottery ticket sales, with over $10 billion. California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas were next in line. Each of those four states had between $5 billion and $6.5 billion in lottery sales.

The combined revenues of US lotteries for 2018 sit around the $72 billion mark. The U.S. Census Bureau releases the official lottery revenue statistics each year. So far, the Census Bureau has not released official 2018 lottery revenues. The 2017 lottery total was $71.826 billion, while the 2016 lottery statistics were $72.649 billion. That shows a regression of nearly $800 million from 2016 to 2017, though that number reflects a statistical anomaly in lottery drawings more than a loss of interest in the state and multistate lotteries.
State politicians are leery of allowing legal online gambling, though, because they fear it would harm lottery sales. Departing Michigan Gov. Bill Snyder vetoed an online poker and casino bill in December 2018, because he said lottery taxes are higher and iGaming would hurt lottery sales (thus tax revenues). Given the recent trends, it’s a safe bet that US lottery revenues in 2018 were around $72 billion for the year. Mega Millions and Powerball drawings continue to dominate national attention, while their revenues increase year to year.

United States Legal Sportsbooks

The revenue figures for US legal sportsbooks came from Nevada and Delaware in 2017. Nevada bookmakers won $248 million from sports bettors in 2017, which was a record year. New forms of betting on eSports helped, though the growing impact of William Hill USA on the Nevada sports betting scene helped. Even hockey betting was up in 2017, thanks to the inclusion of the Las Vegas Golden Knights to the NHL. The Golden Knights’ surprising first-year performance helped drive local sports betting, though it was general NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, NBA, and March Madness betting which generated the most revenues.

Delaware, which had legalized sports lotteries, generated the remaining $6 million in sports betting revenues. Delaware’s sports lotteries require players to make parlay bets of 3 or more games. Delaware sportsbook revenues should increase significantly in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s repeal of the PASPA sports betting ban. Delaware plans to open legal sportsbooks at Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway on June 5, 2018. New Jersey sportsbooks at the Atlantic City casinos and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport should follow suit quickly. US sports betting revenues should have a big jump in 2018.

Given the landmark US Supreme Court decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) as unconstitutional, US sports betting revenues increased significantly. Several states (New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia) legalized sports betting in the months after the May 14 SCOTUS decision. Led by New Jersey, the new sports gambling jurisdictions generated $129.6 million in a little over 6 months of activity.

Meanwhile, Nevada benefited from the additional media coverage given to sportsbooks, so it generated $301.0 million. In all, the legal US sports betting industry generated $430.6 million in revenues – a $182 million increase from 2017. The number should increase significantly in 2019, when New Jersey and Mississippi feature a full year of sportsbook operations. Pennsylvania bookmakers also launched in late 2018 and early 2019, which should boost numbers greatly.

US Pari-Mutuel Racebook Revenues

Pari-mutuel racebooks generated $300 million in revenues in 2018. Pari-mutuel wagering is the legal term for betting on horse racing and dog racing. Bettors receive winning for the thoroughbreds, harness racers, or greyhounds which finish in the top three of a particular race (win-show-place). Pari-mutuel wagering also includes a variety of trifecta bets and parlay bets, which pay out more, but hit for the bettor less often.

Dog racing now is allowed in only 5 US states, as the Florida electorate voted to ban greyhound racing (Amendment 13) in the coming years. Most greyhound tracks continue to act as off-track betting facilities (OTBs), offering simulcasting and wagers at over 200 race venues worldwide. Churchill Downs, site of the annual Kentucky Derby, continues to generate almost 60% of the racebook revenue ($175 million) in the United States. Besides the world-famous Louisville-area horse track, Churchill Downs Incorporated owns racetracks and even a few land-based casinos across the United States.

The US pari-mutuel racebook industry must find new ways to drive customers or die a slow death in America. Race betting declined significantly in the past generation due to competition from the lottery, tribal casinos, online casinos, and mobile betting. After the US Supreme Court repealed the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA) in May 2018, sports betting should grow significantly in the coming 5 to 10 years. US pari-mutuel racebooks face another major competitor, so they’ll need to find innovative ways to bet on horse and dog racing or that $300 million total will decline.

For generations, charitable bingo halls have generated cash for civic organizations, veterans groups, religious groups, fraternal organizations, firefighters, and other charity organizations. Charitable bingo remains a major focus, but organizations also hold raffles, poker nights, and sell pull-tab games to the public.

As lottery betting and tribal casinos have increased over the past two decades, charitable gaming and bingo participation has decreased in many states. Charitable gaming is a major source of fundraising for nonprofit organizations in the United States. The numbers haven’t declined across the board, as Michigan’s poker nights (millionaires clubs) increased greatly from 2002 to 2012, due to making it easier to attain a charitable gaming license. Even in Michigan, though, the decline since 2012 has been significant. Meanwhile, Minnesota increased its charitable gaming revenues significantly, as part of a plan to fund the Minnesota Vikings’ football stadium.

As the US population has increased in the past 16 years, the number of charitable organizations holding bingo nights and raffles has increased. That means the overall decline in charitable gaming revenues was slight, from $2.2 billion to $2.15 billion, though the decline in revenue-per-venue and real money value due to inflation is stark.

Each US state organizes and regulates charitable gaming in their own way. Groups pays taxes to the states, but otherwise remain coy about their fundraising. Different states have different terms for their games (Millionaire’s clubs, pickle games, fish games), which adds to the confusion. This makes a completely accurate total of charitable gaming revenues more an estimate than an official tally. Charitable gaming revenues stayed in the $2.1 billion range for 2018.

What Is Online Gambling in the US?

The gambling industry in the United States is the sum total of all forms of legal betting. US gambling includes commercial and tribal casinos, state and multistate lotteries, sportsbooks and racebooks, real money online casinos and poker sites, as well as charitable gaming and bingo halls.

US gambling statistics do not include unregulated online gambling, local bookies, organized poker games in your neighborhood, office pools, fantasy leagues, or March Madness brackets. Because such gaming is unregulated and untaxed, it is hard to get accurate statistics for them. The American Gaming Association and other groups estimate yearly betting turnover of illegal gambling, but the AGA’s data is an educated guess.

In this US gambling report, Online United States Casinos stick to the facts. Most of the statistics below are compiled from state regulatory agencies. Each month, gaming commissions, gaming control boards, and state lotteries across the United States produce gambling statistics. We’ve collected the latest gaming data and compiled it into several gambling categories, which we present below.

Is Gambling Legal in the US?

Many forms of gambling are legal in the United States, but no form of gambling is legal everywhere. Because the United States is a constitutional republic with a federated system of government, the USA is a patchwork of state and federal gaming laws. That makes gambling legality complicated in the United States. What it does mean is Americans who love to bet can find places to live with permissive gambling laws, while Americans who dislike gambling can find states where gambling is 100% banned.


In Which States Is Gambling Legal?

US gambling laws are complicated because each state deals with its own gaming interests and social mores. Nevada is the most pro-gambling states in the United States, as Las Vegas and Reno are gambling destinations. At the same time, Nevada is one of a handful of states which bans lotteries — because it would compete with the billion-dollar resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Kentucky bans casino betting, though it is the center of the United States horse racing (and horse betting) industries.

As a general rule, legalized gambling has expanded greatly in the past 25 to 30 years. After the Indian Gambling Regulation Act of 1988, tribal casinos expanded to 28 states. California and Oklahoma are two US states with huge tribal gaming industries, but dozens of others exist. The expansion of tribal gaming caused US states to liberalize their commercial casino industries, so states like Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, and Kansas expanded casinos greatly. Pennsylvania legalized casino betting at racetracks and now collects more gaming tax revenues than any states besides Nevada.

Lottery gambling has grown exponentially, too. The Powerball and Mega Millions have the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. State lotteries’ scratch-card tickets generate the most tax revenue. Meanwhile, online and mobile casino gambling and poker betting has grown in popularity. While many Internet gaming sites are unregulated, legal online/mobile gambling exists in 4 states and is expected to be legalized in other US states in the coming years.

Utah and Hawaii are the only two US states which have a 100% ban on all forms of gambling. In Utah or Hawaii, you can’t visit a casino, buy a lottery ticket, make a sports bet, or even play in a bingo hall. All 48 other U.S. states have some form of legalized gambling. In the USA, many southern states restrict gambling significantly, because of the social conservative values in many states. Despite that general statement, all southern states can’t be pegged as anti-gambling.

Alabama bans gambling (even lotteries) in anything but tribal casinos, while Mississippi has dozens of casinos on the Gulf Coast and Tunica County. South Carolina bans most forms of gambling, while Florida allows expanded gambling for the Seminole Tribe and even 8 counties throughout the state. Texas bans all but lottery betting and horse racing, while its neighbors, Oklahoma and Louisiana, allow casino betting; Texans flock to those casinos.

Types of Gambling

Readers might be wondering about the types of gambling that takes place inside the United States. Below is a glossary list of the betting opportunities Americans have, along with a quick description of each form of gambling. We provide revenue data for each type below.

Global Gambling Statistics 2019 Worldwide

  • Commercial Casinos: Owned by private companies and publicly-traded companies alike. Commercial casinos can be land-based casinos, riverboat casinos, airport casinos, racetrack-casinos (racinos), or casino cruises. Many have Class III or Las Vegs-style slot machines, while others use Class II Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) or Video Gambling Terminals (VGTs).
  • Tribal Casinos: Owned by Native American tribal gaming authorities and based on Indian reservation lands. A landmark 1986 US Supreme Court case (Cabazon v. California) stated Native American reservations are sovereign lands (and thus able to house casinos) if they were recognized by the US Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs Bureau by 1934 or before. The Cabazon case led to the US Congress passing the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which says Indian tribes which reach a gaming compact with the states they are inside can have casino gambling with Class II slot machines. States can tax tribal casinos for the cost of regulation but can tax more, if the state gives special concessions like statewide monopolies on certain gaming types.
  • Card Rooms: Card rooms can exist inside or outside a land-based casino. Many Las Vegas Strip casinos and Atlantic City have their own poker rooms. In certain states, commercial card rooms or poker clubs exist. The Bicycle Club, Hollywood Park Casino, and Cameo Club in Los Angeles are a few examples of private card rooms. Tribal casinos like WinStar World Casino, Choctaw Casino, Mohegan Sun, and Foxwoods have poker rooms.
  • Charitable Games: Charitable gaming takes many forms. In most places, charitable gaming organizations host bingo nights, but other forms of gambling are allowed. Not-for-profit charitable gaming organizations sometimes host Las Vegas Nights (Millionaire Clubs), raffles, bell jar competitions, pickle card contests, and pull-tab contests. Pickle cards and pull-tab tickets are similar in many ways to a lottery scratch-card. Bell Jar gaming is a kind of raffle.
  • Bingo: Bingo is the most popular and widespread form of charitable gaming. Church groups, veterans’ groups, police and firefighter organizations, medical research groups, and civic organizations all host bingo nights. Organized bingo nights might be found in a dedicated bingo hall, a community center, or a VFW outpost; online bingo has become widely popular as well.
  • Lotteries: State lotteries have existed since the early days of the United States. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress funded the war partly with lottery betting. In the latter half of the 20th century, many US states enacted state lotteries to produce public school funding and scholarship funding. Since the 1980s, the multistate lottery associations, Powerball and Mega Millions, have grown to include 44 US states apiece. State lotteries also sell scratch-cards, the best revenue producer.
  • Sportsbooks: Legal sportsbooks are found in land-based casinos in Las Vegas. For the past 25 years, sports lotteries are legal in Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. After the US Supreme Court struck down the PASPA federal ban on sports betting in the 46 other US states, any US state can legalize sportsbooks. Delaware and New Jersey plan to open sportsbooks in the coming weeks, while 5 other US states have sportsbook legalization bills in committee. Lawmakers in 13 other US states are discussing the legalization of sports betting.
  • Horse Racing: Horse racing has been legal in many US states for generations because betting on horses is considered a less dangerous form of gambling — and one wealthier Americans enjoy. Horse racing, harness racing, and greyhound racing involve pari-mutuel wagering, in which one bettor’s win means other bettors lose. The horse bettor competes against other bettors and not the racebook, though the bookmaker sets the odds based on betting volume for each horse. Off-track betting facilities now exist, with simulcast horse races and betting on historical horse races. Because the horse betting industry has struggled, many states now allow slot machine gambling at horse tracks.
  • Online Casinos: Online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks were a huge industry in the USA until 2006 when the US Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The UIGEA banned all forms of Internet gambling which were banned for interstate telephone lines under the 1961 Wire Act. From 2007 to 2011, this meant casino sites, online cardrooms, and bookmaker sites. A 2011 US Department of Justice opinion reversed the DOJ’s stance on online casinos and poker sites, so four US states now have legal online casinos and poker sites: New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. New York, California, and others might follow suit eventually. It is estimated that between 65% to 85% of casino revenue in the US comes from real money slots.
  • Smartphone Betting: In most parts of the United States, mobile casino and poker sites are banned or unregulated. Now that sportsbooks are legal, live/in-play smartphone betting apps could become legal. Tom King of the Readyfire smartphone trivia apps says legal US sports betting will transform Android and iOS gaming apps in America.

Other Types of Wagering: Other forms of gambling takes place in the United States. 50 million Americans bet on Super Bowl office pools and March Madness brackets each year. Though it’s illegal, so many people engage in office betting that authorities look the other way in most cases. Fantasy football and fantasy baseball leagues involve small season-long wagers. In over a dozen US states, fantasy sports have been legalized, but in many other states, fantasy sports betting is allowed to happen. Some argue that daily fantasy sports gaming sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are sports wagering, but they exist in a gray area. Over a dozen US states have legalized DFS sites. Jai Alai is a legal form of sports betting in Connecticut and Florida.

The eSports industry has seen tremendous growth over the years, both in terms of viewership and revenue. The increasing viewership is what mainly contributed to the revenue growth – and it's not just because those viewers are generating revenue. Seeing the potential of reaching a large and engaged audience, brands are investing in eSports marketing, both directly and indirectly. This has contributed to rapid revenue growth in the industry, only slowed down by COVID limiting large public eSports events.

eSports has also experienced growth in several other aspects, with many of them interrelated in one way or another. In this post, you will learn more about just how much the eSports industry is growing so you can understand how to leverage it.

Related Content:

Leverage the Growth of eSports (With the Stats Associated):

eSports Viewership is Growing

Since 2016, there has been a significant increase in eSports viewers – both occasional viewers and enthusiasts, i.e., viewers who watch it regularly. Between 2018 and 2019, there was a 12.3% increase year over year. In 2019, there were 245 million casual viewers and 198 million enthusiasts, making the total audience 443 million.

By Feb 2020, the year-over-year growth rate had slightly dropped to 11.7%, although that's still a sizable increase. In 2020, there were 272 million occasional viewers and 223 million enthusiasts. So, the total audience size grew to 496 million, almost half a billion eSports followers.

By 2023, Newzoo predicts that the annual growth rate will be approximately 10.4%. They also expect that the number of casual viewers will grow to 351 million. And that there will be 295 million eSports enthusiasts, making the total audience 646 million.

Newzoo has also released statistics highlighting the growth in the European audience for eSports. The total audience for eSports in Europe was 79 million in 2018, growing to 86 million in 2019 and 92 million in 2020.

As you can see, there has been a steady growth in eSports viewership, and the trend is likely to continue in the coming years. The increase isn't just limited to dedicated eSports fans; there also seems to be an increase in people who view it casually. This is likely a result of increasing awareness about eSports and ease of access to the internet.

Also, viewing platforms like Twitch and YouTube have seen growth in their users. That's another contributing factor to eSports audience growth. You will learn more about these factors later on in this post.

However, there is one proviso regarding expectations of future growth. The above predictions for future growth were made before COVID had such an impact on the world. Newzoo recognizes that 'the eSports audience is not smaller (meaning there's no decrease in demand), and the number of organizers is not fewer (so there's no decrease in supply).' However, this year has seen eSports events postponed and cancelled, and if this continues, it may impact future growth.

eSports Awareness is Increasing

One of the main reasons why there has been growth in eSports viewership is because more people are learning about it. There has been a tremendous rise in awareness of the eSports industry since 2015. Back then, there were slightly more than 800,000 people who had heard about it. These numbers soon changed, and by the next year, more than a billion people had learned about eSports.

These numbers continued to increase in the following years, by a few hundred thousand annually. By 2017, eSports awareness had risen to 1.28 billion, and it reached 1.43 billion by 2018. Statista doesn't appear to have continued recording these figures since then, but they predicted that by 2019, an estimated 1.57 billion people were likely to be aware of eSports.

We can, however, glean additional information on eSports awareness from Newzoo's report. They indicated that the global awareness of eSports in 2019 was actually 1.8 billion, and they expected this to rise to 2.0 billion in 2020. Newzoo expects that 530.4 million of these will be Chinese.

So what does this increase in viewership and awareness mean for brands? For the most part, it says that they have a new channel to target in their marketing mix. It also says that they have more people to reach within the eSports industry. So, eSports marketing will help them expand their reach and deliver their marketing messages through engaging channels.

The rise of Platforms Offering Live eSports Coverage

It's no surprise that more people watch eSports videos and events considering how online platforms now make watching eSports content more accessible. eSports streamers use these platforms to broadcast live coverage of events and their own gameplay. This makes it easier for fans to participate in their favorite events and engage with their preferred eSports athletes.

So, you can see an increase in the number of viewers and broadcasters on these platforms as well. Although not all the viewers and broadcasters on these platforms are relevant to the eSports industry, this increase still likely affects the industry.


Streamlabs made some interesting observations in their Q3 2020 report. The majority of streamers still prefer Twitch. It represents 91.1% of the market share for hours streamed, up 14.5% from Q2 2020. The reason for this significant increase was because of Microsoft's shutting down of Mixer. However, Facebook Gaming also saw an increase in market share, up 1% over the quarter to 3%. YouTube Gaming hasn't benefited much from Mixer's end, dropping 1.2% to have a market share of 5.5%.

Twitchtracker provides some interesting statistics about Twitch's progression over the years. COVID lockdowns have led to many people increasing their time on Twitch. 889 billion minutes have been watched over the last year, up from 660 billion minutes in 2019. Similarly, there are now 4.4 million monthly streamers in Twitch in 2020, compared to 3.64 million in 2019.

The platform has also seen a steady increase in the number of channels simultaneously broadcasting live. This number increased by 20% in 2019, with 49,500 average concurrent live channels. In 2020, the increase so far has been 69%, with 83,900 average concurrent live channels. So, there is a ton of activity on these platforms, signifying that eSports fans are highly active and engaged with relevant content.

People are Spending More Time Watching eSports

Sports Gambling Statistics

Audiences watched over 7.46 billion hours of content across all live-streaming platforms in Q3 2020, slightly down from Q2's 7.71 billion hours. Surprisingly, considering its fall in market share, YouTube Gaming experienced the most growth for hours watched with an increase of 156M hours from Q2 to Q3. Facebook Gaming exceeded 1 billion hours watched for the first time.

However, although Q3 2020 saw a small drop in hours viewed, it still represents a 91.8% increase on the 3.89 billion hours watched in Q3 2019.

Streamlabs also included some data about the top eSports watched during the quarter (Q3 2020). LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) saw 33,310,312 hours watched. This was closely followed by the PUBG Mobile World League 2020, with 33,179,000 hours watched, and League of Legends European Championship, with 28,957,234 hours watched.

Since consumers spend so much time on eSports, this means that brands need to meet them where they're at by adopting eSports marketing. This could be through ads, reviews, product positioning, influencer marketing, and more.

eSports Revenue Growth and How Brands are Contributing to It

Realizing the potential of tapping into the eSports market, some brands have already made significant eSports marketing investments. So, the industry has seen an impressive increase in revenue in recent years.

According to the previously cited Newzoo analysis, there was an average revenue increase of more than 30% annually until 2018. The rate of increase decreased at this point; however, eSports revenue in 2019 was $957.5 million, still a 23.3% YOY growth (and slightly greater than what Newzoo had predicted). Yet, COVID has had a noticeable impact on eSports revenue, and Newzoo has revised its 2020 eSports revenue estimates downward from $1100.1 million (as predicted in February 2020) to $950.3 million globally. If this is accurate, it will represent a fall of 0.8% in YOY revenues. This fall in revenue will predominantly occur because there is currently almost no in-person attendance at eSports events, with restrictions on large gatherings. As we have seen elsewhere, eSports and gaming are more popular than ever – there are, however, COVID-related restrictions on revenue streams at the moment.

Gambling Statistics In America

Newzoo’s latest estimates of eSports revenue streams, suggest that the $950.3 million is likely to be made up as follows: sponsorship $584.1 million (up 7.5%), media rights $163.3 million (up 3.3%), publisher fees $108.9 million (down 11.6%), merchandise & tickets $52.5 million (down 50.3%), digital $21.5 million (up 60.9%), and streaming $19.9 million (up 44.9%). The effects of COVID are obvious when you look at the relative changes in the revenue streams.

Visible Growth in eSports Tournaments

National Statistics On Gambling

There's little doubt that with so much growth in many of these statistics, there would also be growth in eSports tournament prize money and player earnings – at least until COVID arrived. In 2018, the total prize money for 4579 tournaments was $164,829,763. So, the mean tournament prize pool was $35,997. With 23,020 active players at these tournaments, the mean earnings for each player were $7,160.

In 2019, the total prize money for 5288 tournaments was $234,433,656, up 42%. So, the mean tournament prize pool was $35,997. With 27,279 active players at these tournaments, each player's mean earnings were $8,594, up 20%.

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Unfortunately, COVID has seen a considerable drop in both the number of tournaments and total prize money offered. As of late October, the mean earnings per player plummeted to $3,975.


These stats showcase eSports' rapid growth until the recent temporary reduction due to the effects of COVID on large-scale events. Gamers are spending more time than ever on the streaming platforms at the moment; however, they have less competitive content to view.

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But this will only be temporary. The reduction in eSports events is considerably less than many traditional sporting occasions. Many competitive eSports continue. You can still sponsor teams at tournaments (remember that sponsorship has continued to rise, despite the effects of COVID). Perhaps you could also partner with influencers in the industry and have them promote your brand or review your products. There are tons of opportunities you can seize to ride the wave of eSports' popularity.