Counter-Strike and the potential within the LATAM betting industry

CS:GO is rising in popularity among LATAM countries, especially in Brazil.

Counter-Strike was released in 2000 as a mod from the popular game Half-Life. During these twenty years, its popularity has been increasing. Today it gathers millions of fans, from millennials who are already in their 30’s and have played the game since their teenage, to the youngest generations. The latest version of CS:GO (released in 2012) is currently one of the most popular esports in the world, having Brazil as one of the top countries worldwide in terms of competitiveness and popularity.

A simple but very entertaining game

The premise of the game is simple: five players are terrorists and another five are counter-terrorist. The first team needs to eliminate the second or detonate a bomb, while the second team aims to get rid of the first or defuse the bomb. After 30 rounds (plus 6 if there is a draw), there will be a winner. The game brings constant action and a very joyful sense of teamwork among their players. Contrary to other popular esports games like League of Legends or Dota 2, CS:GO is very easy to understand, even if you never watched it before or played the game yourself. It doesn’t mean the game is easy to play since there are a lot of skills and strategies you need to practice and learn to be competitive. However, it is easily accessible to everyone, and it sparks curiosity not only in gamers. Moreover, considering its longevity, it is already a very well tested entertainment product: people don’t get tired of it!

Screenshot from a professional CS:GO game
Screenshot from a professional CS:GO game

LATAM and its potential within the esports industry

As an emerging market, LATAM is already establishing a strong role in the esports industry. According to Newzoo, esports attracted 43 million viewers within the region in 2019. The projections are very promising: the industry is expected to grow +7.7% in 2020 and reach $40 million in revenues by 2021. The fanbase is massive: 10% of gamers worldwide are Latin-American.

Brazil and Counter-Strike: a story of success

Brazil have two of the most popular teams in CS:GO: Furia and MIBR. Players like coldzera, fer, or FalleN are among the most successful players over the last years in the competitive scene. Their success is followed by a massive fanbase in the country. Brazilian fans are known in traditional sports for their excitement towards their biggest stars, and CS:GO esports athletes are not an exception. As an example, the ESL One: Belo Horizonte tournament gathered 15,000 fans in the Mineirinho Arena in 2018 and more than a million viewership hours. The prize pool: $200,000.

“The Brazilian esports athlete Coldzera was named the best CS:GO player in the world by HLTV in 2016 and 2017’’

Organizations are following the trend and investing in the Brazilian local scene. The Brazilian Counter-Strike Championship was created in 2019 with the objective to professionalize their local teams. The tournament is sponsored by major companies such as Lenovo or Banco do Brasil.

Even Brazilian football stars are investing in the game: Real Madrid player Casemiro announced on 29 October the creation of his brand new CS:GO professional esports team called CaseEsports.

An opportunity for bookmakers

Counter-Strike is already an established and popular game in Latin America, with tournaments like La Liga Pro Trust being played among all the countries in the region. Not only in Brazil but in countries like Mexico, Argentina, or Peru the interest is also rising. Now it’s time for bookmakers to adapt their offerings to the new generations who love esports and want to place bets on their favorite games such as CS:GO.

While the bookmakers offering varies from country to country, there is a common trend: esports offering is very weak. It is not a surprise, since it’s a new market and the industry has not yet adapted to its singularities. From the millennial who grew up playing Counter-Strike with their friends on LAN to the Gen-Z guy who is an expert on everything related to online games, both need a proper esports offering to engage with their favorite games. These players are demanding: they won’t tolerate a bad user experience where the sportsbook is offering very few betting options and is suspending the live markets most of the time.

Esports dedicated odds feed is the only way

Counter-Strike, even considering its simplicity, it’s a complicated game in terms of calculating live odds. Only through the use of official data and a team of traders and data scientists who understand the game you can achieve a competent odds feed that can bring engagement to punters. To achieve this, the betting experience should provide crucial aspects: live-streaming, wide coverage of tournaments, multiple live betting opportunities, and high uptime.

Oddin odds feed covering a CS:GO live game
Oddin odds feed covering a CS:GO live game

With Oddin odds feed, the punters finally have the opportunity to bet most of the time while the game is being played (more than 80% of the time). Any CS:GO fan will be able to engage with the game they’re watching in the same way they do with a Twitch stream, with the difference that they will have multiple options to express their opinion throughout the game by placing multiple bets. At Oddin, you can find up to 16 different live markets in any game. The CS:GO coverage is extensive, including all Tier 1 and Tier 2 tournaments such as ESL, WESG, or Dreamhack, and other Tier 3 tournaments.

Investing in esports like Counter-Strike is investing in the future. Every year it brings more fans and the demand for betting in such games is increasing. The younger generations are becoming eligible for betting and increasing their purchase power every year. Now it’s time for the bookmakers to decide if they want to attract them and engage their audience with competent esports live offerings.