Esports betting is expanding in popularity, yet little is known about who participates in this niche gambling activity. This study aimed to determine whether esports bettors are more vulnerable to harms and problems than gamblers engaged in traditional sports betting.
Data were collected from 298 regular esports bettors and 300 sports bettors (who regularly bet on traditional sports, but not esports). These groups were compared on demographics, gambling involvement, problem gambling, and gambling-related harms.
Compared to sports bettors, esports bettors were more likely to be younger, university-educated, employed (lower income earners), and speak a non-English language at home. Esports bettors gambled on fewer traditional gambling activities in the last 12 months, but compared to sports bettors, gambled more frequently on some activities, were more likely to meet problem gambler criteria (64.8.% vs 17.3%), and experience at least one gambling-related harm (81.9% vs 45.3%). Being an esports bettor significantly predicted greater problem gambling severity and gambling-related harms. More frequent esports skin betting and skin gambling (on games of chance) were significant predictors of gambling problems amongst esports bettors.