ESports Betting Sites
eSports is a somewhat new term, and it refers to electronic sports. It means any sport or game where the primary mechanism of playing is controlled by electronic systems. If you are confused, think that we are referring to multiplayer video games events and competitions that are played between professional individuals and teams.
The games in questions are the ones that are commercially available and that are based around real-time strategy, first-person shooters, multi-person battle, virtual sports, football games and others. Any game that becomes popular to attract organised leagues and fans will have events around it and bookmakers have started to give odds on the outcome of the games. It might seem a small market, but it is not if you consider that more then £50 billion is now bet on eSports around the globe: this means eSports is already ahead of many traditional sports and need to be considered very seriously.
It is a debate to call eSports as an actual sport as many saying that there are just games. But the same things can then be said for snooker, darts and others games of skills invented in the past. What it is important to highlight is that there is a massive number of people that are following the eSports especially in Asia and this is a trend that is set to stay. If you search for you will see that all the major betting sites are already providing extensive markets coverage and promotions around eSports. In this guide, we will show you the top eSports bookmakers and also where you can find the top deals. In addition to that, we will be looking at how to bet on eSports and the history of this sport.
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Best Online Bookmakers For ESports Betting
Even if eSports are more and more popular and have a massive amount of followers, only some betting sites have decided to seriously being involved in this area. Surely setting odds and markets on eSports is complex and very different from traditional sports and this has been the most difficult challenge to overcome for conventional sports bookmakers. We have however hand-picked in this guide the betting sites that have fully embraced the new age of electronic betting and are providing an excellent eSports service.
Betway – Absolute Biggest & Best ESports Site
Betway does offer a great range of markets for eSports betting and is one of the few online betting sites that do provide top eSports promotions.
By taking a look at Betway, you will find that they provide odds for all the top tournaments like league of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2 and a lot more. This betting site does have a lot more eSports markets than the competition and also have a great live betting service. After all, this bookmaker is positioning itself as an eSport expert, and from what we have seen they are not disappointing.
Betway has fully dedicated traders that do set prices on eSports markets, and this is a guarantee that you will find some of the best odds around. In addition to that Betway is also running accumulator insurance and other offers for eSports. If you want to get the latest news, Betway also offers a comprehensive blog feature dedicated to eSports. Betway Full Review.
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Ladbrokes – Top ESports Interface
Even if Ladbrokes don’t have the same depth of market coverage as other operators, they do have some of the best eSports pages. Markets are divided by time and events, and you can find the line you wish very quickly and easily. Ladbrokes is a complete bookmaker that also cover handicap betting, match markets and in-play. In addition to that, they have good odds that are published early. Ladbrokes Full Review.
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ComeOn – Modern Site, Take ESports Seriously
ComeOn is a very modern betting site as even if they don’t offer the traditional sport of greyhound racing, for example, they do provide excellent coverage for eSports.
ComeOn is covering all major tournaments, and by betting on eSports, you will receive reward points that you will be able to exchange for great prizes, free bets, bonus and even real money. If you are a modern person and need a modern bookmaker, then ComeOn is the right place. ComeOn Full Review.
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A Brief History Of ESports
Only with the arrival of superfast broadband, it has been possible to watch and bet on video game competitions. Games competitions have always been around since video gaming itself as already back in 1970’s teams of professionals were competing in the latest games, but the difference is that in modern day you can follow these events in streaming from everywhere in the world.
It was back in 1972 that a group of students at Stamford University in California started a competition for the game Spacewar and it was called ‘Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics’: the winner was getting a subscription to the magazine Rolling Stone. It was only in 1980 though that the first large-scale tournament was held: it was organised by Atari and was the Space Invaders Championship. The event attracted more than 10,000 players in the USA and was a great success.
In the 1980’s there were a couple of eSports television programmes aired like Starcade: players were competing to beat the others scores on a favourite arcade game.
In the 1990s games went online. In 1994 an event with the newer Super Nintendo system attracted tens of thousands of people. Gaming was entering most houses and established itself as a favourite pastime with the younger generations. New TV gaming shows were launched like Gamesmaster.
The popularity of eSports as a global phenomenon in the new millennium is due to two main things: the rise in popularity in Asian countries and the further development of broadband internet.
In 2000 the South Korean eSports association was created. It is believed that the reasons for the explosion of eSports in Asia are linked with the 1997 Asian financial crash that pushed the governments to develop faster National internet infrastructure and with the fact that many people were out of work so had time for new pastimes.
In 2000 there were around ten significant eSports tournaments that became 260 in 2010. Over those years some successful championships were created like World Cyber Games and the Major Gaming League. In 2005 the Web games Championship gave out a prize of $1 million.
Korea was the first country that started to televise eSports, and in the 2000s a 24/7 TV channel was dedicated to competitions like Starcraft and Warcraft. Even if also some European countries have tried something similar, this remains mostly a TV Korean peculiarity. People in other parts of the world do watch eSports but differently mostly in streaming. Since 2011 streaming of eSports has become available through platforms like Twitch and now also some betting sites, have started to provide streaming and odds of events like League of Legends and Dota2.
It is undoubted that eSports are moving forward very fast. The vast majority of games producers are now making the latest titles with the idea of eSports in mind. The biggest eSports league is called the Electronic Sports League and has more than 6 million registered players and more than 1 million teams. The final of the 2014 League of Legends World Championship in Korea so more then 40,000 spectators attending the event.
It is estimated that currently, more than 500 million people are watching eSports in the world and streaming numbers are growing daily. It is clear that this is the sport of the new age, which is internet based and has a young audience of 18 to 34 years old. The gender split is 85% for men and only 15% for female: even if usually all sports are swayed towards men, this is somewhat notable in eSports.
How To Bet On eSports
Betting on eSports is generally the same as betting on other sports. Some teams or individuals are competing with each other and punters can bet on some markets from the outright match result to the outcome of individual selections of the game. Handicap betting, Under/Over points and spread betting are all possible. If you want to know about bet types in general check our betting guide.
How eSports Are Played
An eSport is a video game, so every game is effectively played in different ways. There are, however, common factors between the various games that do allow more general betting markets. The majority of the games are separated into sections which are called maps: winning maps will give you points (usually 1 point), and the team that wins most points or maps has won the game.
Outright & Match Result Betting
The most popular bet is the winner of a given match between two or more individuals or teams: this is common with traditional sports as you are only betting on the winner or the draw. In the same way, you can also bet on the winner of a tournament.
Since most betting sites are offering those odds, these markets usually have excellent odds, and by shopping around a bit, you can make sure you are getting the best possible price.
Around match betting, you will also find some offers that will add additional value to your bets. For example, lots of bookmakers offer accumulator insurance. In addition to betting on the winner, you can also bet on the top 3, to reach final, country of the winner, and so on.
In this type of bet, you have to predict the winner of the map, and this is a trendy way of betting on eSports. Maps are completed in less time than a match and are lends itself a lot better to live betting.
Maps are different depending on the type of game (first-person shooter, battle, tactical, etc.) and there are lots of map bets available. For example, you can have markets like ‘first to draw blood’, ‘first to 10 kills’, ‘most towers destroyed’, and so on. In short, there is a lot to bet in play.
Depending on the type of game (first-person shooter, battle, tactical, etc.) there are several other map bets available. You may see markets such as ‘first to draw blood’, ‘first to 10 kills’, ‘total kills’, ‘next to kill or be slain’, ‘most towers destroyed’, ‘first to slay a dragon’, ‘most buildings destroyed’, etc., and this again means there is plenty to bet on in play. In addition to those, you can also bet on other markets like correct map score, under/over and so on.
Individual Team Bets
You can also place bets on how individual team members will perform in a map/round/match/tournament, and it is also possible to place wagers on how well a team will do in a competition. For example, you can bet on the top scoring individual/team, most kills, biggest score and so on.
Every betting market available can be generally split into a tournament as a whole, a team or an individual. For this reason, many eSports markets have tremendous depth, and this means lots of wagering opportunities similarly to a football match.
Since eSports is based on points, it is entirely possible for you to bet on all sorts of handicap and Asian handicap markets. These are covered by most eSports betting sites, and you can therefore also get decent odds. All the bookmakers we have listed in this page will offer those betting opportunities.
All the bets we have seen can be available in the handicap market. In addition to the regular handicap markets, you can also find things like ‘kill handicaps’ which are bespoke to eSports gambling.
Over / Under Points Spread Markets
Similarly to what we have said before the points structure lends itself well to this type of wager. You can, therefore, bet on how many points, kills, maps etc. a team will win or being defeated by. Generally, though Under/Over bets are excluded from offers like accumulator insurance so best always to check terms and conditions.
Under/Over market is somewhat useful to understand better where the market is for an eSport specific game. For example if you are planning to bet on how many kills there will be but not sure about the benchmark then you can take a look at the Under/Over market and you will find the line where you can get roughly even odds for over and under: this is where the betting site believe the average is.
Correct Score is another classic bet that is also well applied to eSports. Usually, it is possible to place correct score bets on both individual maps and the overall match. You can bet on the correct score in an entire series, but this will depend on the format of the competition. In this market, you can also bet on the highest scoring teams or players.
An eSports tournament usually has a large number of matches over the same day or week, and it is therefore not surprising to see that accumulator betting is very popular. There are lots of online bookmakers that will give you eSports acca insurance and others that give you all sports acca insurances and bonus that can be applied to any market and therefore also on eSports.
Based On Real Sports
There are also some games that are based on real sports (like for example FIFA eWorld Cup): those give lots of betting opportunities as you can place many of the same bets as you would do on a match or tournament that is played in the real world. In addition to that, you can also place more specific eSports similarly to the ones we have listed before.
Unlike traditional sports where every game follows the same rules, in eSports, every game is entirely different. For this reason, the type of bets can vary significantly on a game by game and sometimes even on a tournament by tournament. On eSports, you will find lots of bespoke bets linked to a particular game listed under the ‘special’ tab. Since there are so many possibilities, it is impossible for us to list all the examples but generally, if you want to back a player or a team to do something during a game, you are likely to find the market in the ‘special’ section.
Other Betting Systems
Since eSports are based on scoring systems, theoretically it is possible to place more complex bet types like full cover betting (i.e. Lucky 15’s, forecast betting, conditional betting and so on). It is unlikely however that you will find those betting types on the bookmakers’ websites and you will, therefore, need to ask for it. They will generally provide you without any problem upon request.
Live In-Play Betting
The rise of eSports has pushed the majority of betting sites to offer live in play betting. As we have seen the majority of the bets types are ideally suited to in play betting and considering that this is a sport that it is streamed to the majority of the audience it is not surprising that live betting is popular especially on mobile. All the betting sites we have suggested above will offer in play markets, and Betway is particularly good at it.
News, Results And Statistics
One of the best aspects of eSports is that everything can be recorded so you have available a vast amount of data that can help you make the right betting decision. You will find a lot of websites that will provide you free of charge a lot of information, news, results and stats on the recent tournaments. Even some bookmakers have now started to offer eSports stats, and this is likely to increase further. Again it is Betway that is leading the industry with stats, results and also a blog where you can find the latest info and tips.
Live Streaming And Commentary
Not many betting sites are yet providing eSports streaming, but we do expect this to change in the short time. The majority of eSports are watched online through streaming so even if bookmakers do not yet offer decent coverage; you can still watch the event live while betting in play.
Major eSports Tournaments
eSports tournaments are physical events where teams or individuals are playing in front of a live audience. The majority of those tournaments are structured in the same way as football competitions: there are group stages, and the best teams are then going through knockout rounds.
Successful players can earn millions every year as they do take part in top eSports tournaments and also bank in big sponsorship deals. Some of the biggest tournaments are:
DreamHack – this is formed by some events through the year and make up the World’s Largest Electronic Gaming Festival. The events are usually hosted in Europe and prize money is huge. The event also is a general expo with live music, entertainment and so on. There are lots of different famous tournaments at DreamHack like League of Legends, Mortal Kombat and so on.
World Cyber Games – This is what we can call the Olympics of eSports. It is operated by the South Korean World Cyber Games and competitors are fighting for gold, silver and bronze medals. This event has been played since 2000 and has now a prize fund of around $400,000. The tournament is currently being suspended due to disputes at the CEO level.
Major League Gaming – This US tournament is usually held in New York, but there are also some events throughout the USA and Canada. It was set up in 2002 and has been the first televised eSports championship in the US.
eSports World Cup – this annual event is reserved for those players and teams that have won national qualification events. The cup has been held in America, Europe and Asia.
Other Events – There are lots of eSports events being played regionally and worldwide. New championships are being created at all times, so the list is very fluid.
Top ESports Game Titles
There are lots of eSports titles and since this is a fast-paced industry more and more are being created. The eSports world is, for example, split into those main categories:
Fighting Games – Streetfighter, Super Smash Bros, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, Marvel vs Capcom.
First Person Shooters – Doom, Quake, Halo, Overwatch, CrossFire, Battlefield, Call of Duty, etc.
Real Time Strategy – Warcraft III, Starcraft II, Starcraft BroodWar
Sport – FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, NBA 2K, Rocket League, Subspace Hockey League, Madden, iRacing, Trackmania, Project CARS
Battle – Dota II, League of Legends, Smite, Heroes of the Storm, Vainglory, Heroes of Newerth
War – Worlds of Warcraft, World of Tanks, War Thunder, Heroes of Warcraft
Other – Tetris, Donkey Kong, Nintendo (in general), Pokemon, Splatoon, etc.
Odds And Payouts
Since the competition is not huge yet on eSports, if you are going for a market that is not widely covered you are likely to end up with poor odds. ESports is a different beast from traditional sports, and it does take investments from betting sites to research and set prices for all markets correctly. Betting sites that offer eSports betting need to have trained traders that can determine the value and set the odds for the customers. Many traditional bookmakers are therefore providing low-value odds so that they can cover themselves efficiently.
The betting sites we have recommended here though will have decent odds as they have taken all the necessary steps and expanded their resources to cover eSports efficiently. This means you will be not only able to get a bigger number of markers but also fair odds. If you are planning to bet on eSports regularly make sure to sign up with a few of our recommended eSports betting sites as this will allow you to compare and get the best odds depending on the event.
If you are planning to place a large bet on eSports, you need to be careful as this is a somewhat new market for bookmakers and they tend to limit payouts significantly compared with traditional sports. In some cases, maximum payouts can be as low as £1,000 and sometimes even lower. Betway tends to have considerably better payouts on eSports as you can get £25,000 on all eSports markets. Until eSports become a mainstream market, it is unlikely you will be getting anything higher.
Match And Bet Fixing In ESports
One of the biggest concerns for betting sites is that eSports are open to manipulation more than traditional sports. Match-fixing has been taking place at a low level with competitors that are cheating to win the game. Since bookmakers have been involved, there are lots more money that is circulating, and this could make corruption a problem.
The majority of bets takes place in China and South Korea where betting is illegal: this effectively makes it impossible to monitor suspicious betting behaviours. In regulated markets like the UK, it is a lot easier to trace suspicious betting activities. It is difficult to know what will happen in the future however a clear advantage is that in the electronic games everything is tracked and recorded digitally so all can be analysed retrospectively. Generally, it will be practically impossible to fix an entire match or tournament without others realising something is strange.