ESports betting covers a number of aspects of many of the most popular video games. Titles such as League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 are played at a professional level with big prize money at stake.
eSports betting stands for betting on electronic sports and competitive video gaming. eSports enjoys a growing audience and popularity, receiving more and more attention from bettors and betting sites alike. Betting on eSports works similarly to betting on traditional sports with eSports having its own markets and competitive odds.
But how big is eSports betting? It’s actually taken very seriously with markets in place for tournament winners, match winners and stage winners.
How Does eSports Betting Work?
The answer to the question how does eSports betting work is actually quite simple. Anyone who has placed a traditional sports bet on any market will find that the practise is virtually identical while those who are completely new to wagering will quickly pick it up.
Within this sector there are a number of esports genres and a range of different games and tournaments. A comprehensive list of options will appear in this guide but the principle of betting is similar for each one.
Betting can start with odds on the outright winner of a league or knockout tournament. Bettors will consider the prices available and then stake on the team or player who they think is going to win the overall competition. Similarly, there are markets with odds in place for the winner of individual matches for each tournament.
With some betting sites, there is an additional list of handicaps. Handicap betting applies when one team is given a notional head start over their opponent. The bettor can then accept higher odds for those opponents but they must overcome that theoretical deficit in order for the bet to be settled successfully.
eSports betting also has a limited range of additional bets known as side markets or props. These might typically include options for the winner of stages – frequently referred to as ‘maps’ within certain games.
Various Types of eSports Bets
- Tournament Winner
- Match Winner
- First Map
- First Kill or First Blood
- Handicap Betting
- Odd/Evens Bets
- Over/Under Bets
- Accumulator Bets or Combi Bets
- System Bets
- Live Bets
How Can I Bet on eSports?
Anyone looking to bet on eSports will firstly need to sign up with a registered betting provider. We’ll look at what is the best site for eSports betting later in this guide but there is no shortage of choice.
Those that are already registered with a traditional sportsbook may well find that there is an eSports section in place with a choice of tournaments. Alternatively, other sites are more specifically focused on eSports and there may be a better choice of games here.
Having found a provider, the process of betting on eSports is quite simple. The index will be logically laid out and it should be easy to find the relevant section along with the tournament that you’re interested in. From there, there will be a range of bets and it’s a case of finding your selection.
Click on that selection and a bet slip will appear, usually in a window in the top right hand corner of the homescreen. Type in the amount and simply press the confirm button to place that bet.
eSports Live Betting
The best bookmakers will also cover eSports live betting where in-play markets open once a match or tournament has begun. Many of the same markets will be available with match result and stage betting quoted when available. Handicaps can also appear in the earlier stages of gameplay.
Tournament betting will also remain live until such time as the champions are declared. Live betting should be available for all of the big competitions once they get underway.
eSports live betting is popular for a number of reasons: Firstly, it can really test a bettor’s analytical skills. The market can also fluctuate and change quickly and it is possible to get good value odds in certain situations.
What is the Best Site for eSports Betting?
The best sites for eSports betting combine factors such as choice and value. The best operators will therefore provide a good choice of markets along with competitive odds across all competitions. That element of value can also be enhanced by a selection of offers and promotions.
Other factors can also be taken into consideration: Does the operator offer a range of funding options that might include bank cards, eWallets such as PayPal, Skrill and Neteller plus Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency?
Live betting and a free mobile app are also important features. Prospective customers should also check on a site’s security and their licensing and regulation. We make a number of recommendations in these pages including GGBet, Betway, Arcanebet and Unibet but, as long as your operator covers these factors successfully, they should be fine to use.
Popular eSports Games
Many esports genres are covered by the major betting sites. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games are among the most popular and typical titles include
- DOTA 2
- League of Legends
This type of strategy game is perfect for betting because there is so much drama and many twists and turns during gameplay. Other titles to be picked up by the best esports betting sites include
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Starcraft 2
Those sites that are mainly focused on eSports may have more titles in place but those are the main games offered up to the betting community.
Major eSports Tournaments and Leagues
The first big eSports leagues started to evolve in the first few years of the new Millennium. In the present day, the list has grown to include major divisions and tournaments including World Cups for certain games. Currently, the biggest eSports competitions include:
- EVO Champions Series
- League of Legends World Championship
- Call of Duty League
- Electronic Sports League
- Electronic Sports World Cup
- Evolution Championship Series
- Apex Legends Global Series
- Global Starcraft II League
- FIFA Interactive World Cup
- Major League Gaming
- League of Legends Pro League
- Overwatch League
- The International
This includes the biggest competitions of them all but it isn’t a complete list. Other professional eSports competitions may well be picked up by the best eSports sites.
FAQs about eSports Betting
Is There a Legal Age to Bet on eSports?
The precise legal age for betting on eSports will depend on the country in which you are located. eSports betting is covered by national gambling laws and offers no exception to the regular rules.
In the United Kingdom and across much of Europe, the legal age for betting on eSports is set at 18. In the United States of America, this rises to 21. Customers will need to check this point in relation to their specific jurisdiction and should be aware that operators will require verification documents as proof of age.
How Big is eSports Betting?
eSports betting may have started out as a small part of the industry but it’s a major player in the present day. Statistics show that, in 2019, global revenue came in at $957 million USD and this is expected to climb above the 1 Million Mark by the end of 2021.
By 2024, projections claim that eSports betting revenue will produce in excess of 1.6 Million USD.
What is the Biggest eSports Tournament?
The biggest eSports tournament in terms of overall prize money is The International. Focussing on Dota 2, this competition was originally established back in 2011.
As of 2021, The International carries a total prize pool of some $34.3 Million USD.
What is the eSports Integrity Commission (ESIC)?
Established in 2016, the eSports Integrity Commission aims to stamp out any form of corruption across all esports genres. Their remit can extend to cover illegal approaches to competitors and attempts to bribe individuals within each discipline.
ESIC works with a number of leagues and tournaments with a view to keeping competitions honest and fair. The mission is to deter corruption so that bettors can carry out their wagers with confidence.
Item and Skin eSports Bets
What are eSports Items and Skins?
Skins are ways in which to modify equipment used in certain eSports games. They are generally superficial and do not enhance that equipment in any way. For example, the term ‘skin’ may be used to describe a design for a gun used in Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Other skins can relate to costumes worn by dragons and special uniforms or they may simply alter the appearance of a player’s avatar. During regular gameplay, skins can form part of a range of in-game purchases. Some of those skins are special ‘one-offs’ and, as such, they can fetch staggering amounts of money that run into several thousand dollars.
The term ‘item’ can also be used to describe skins. Essentially, they are upgrades to make players stand out such as new designs and decals but they aren’t in place to make any team or individual have a greater chance of winning.
How to Bet on eSports Items and Skins?
Bets cannot be placed on whether or not a certain skin will be available but it is possible to carry out eSports betting using those skins as a form of currency. As we have seen, they all have a monetary value ranging from a few dollars to five figure sums and potentially higher.
Players can, therefore, open an account with specialised esports bookmakers who will assess the value of their skins. Customers will open and effectively deposit that skin into a new account and place subsequent bets based on its value. If those bets are successful, they will either be paid in additional skins or some form of internal currency which is outlined by the sportsbook on registration.
This is something of a niche area of the eSports betting business but it does have a strong following and is something that could certainly become more mainstream in the future.
During the biggest eSports tournaments listed above, certain bookmakers may list some one-off, special bets for that competition. These ‘specials’ might include an option to bet on who will pick up the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the end of the event.
Other specials may cover bets on who will make the most kills during the tournament. The best places to look for specials are likely to be within the platforms of those bookmakers who concentrate on eSports as their main focus.
Over the course of this guide, we should have answered the question how does eSports betting work and we’ve given you a lot of extra information. There are many facets to the practice of betting on eSports and it’s an area that offers additional options beyond match and tournament markets.
It’s also possible to get involved with eSports live betting for those who like to stake once a match is underway. Choosing the right eSports bookmaker is important and there is a list of factors to look out for. Safety and Security is also essential and that’s why the work of organisations such as ESIC is so important.
It’s a comprehensive guide and anyone who is just starting out on their eSports betting journey should look to digest all of the information listed before coming on board.