What is eSports Betting?
Know your ganking from your juking? Then head to our list of the best eSports leagues below.
Electronic sports, or eSports, betting is making wagers on competitive video gaming between teams. eSports can be played on a PC or a games console, but they must be multiplayer-focused titles. Players should also be able to compete against one another either online or through a LAN connection (offline).
For any betting to take place, an eSport must have a spectator mode so viewers can follow the action. A match-making system that pits players of similar abilities against each other should also be in place. Map layouts, game balance, and other competitive elements must also feature in the eSport to keep the betting exciting.
Over 450 million people watch eSports every year, and the number is growing. eSports gambling is still new, but players will find lots of regular wagers alongside special eSports prop bets on sportsbooks.
Is eSports Gambling Legal in the US?
The legality around eSports betting depends entirely on your country or state of residence. In the US, eSports is treated the same as traditional sports betting, with one exception.
Many eSports leagues draft players under 18 years of age if they have the required skills. Even if a state allows sports betting, most are against wagering on minors. As a result, some US states, like New Jersey, have introduced complicated legislation. Bettors can still wager on eSports, but only if all players are 18 years of age or older in any event.
When it comes to betting on eSports, we recommend players check their country's legislation.
Top eSports Games to Bet on
There are loads of eSports titles to bet on, but some offer more excitement than others.
We've created betting guides for the most exciting eSports leagues in the world. Fans can find betting tips, news, and huge eSports bonuses along with beginner how-tos so newbies can enjoy smarter betting straightaway.
eSports Betting Guides
Real Money eSports Gambling
eSports betting is fast-paced. When gambling online, you need payment options that can keep up. With instant payment processing and top security features, these are the top payment methods players should use for betting on eSports online:
Accepted by almost all online gambling sites, credit or debit cards offer speedy and easy deposit and withdrawal options.
Specialist eSports betting sites favor cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for their security features.
These top-up payment cards protect bettors' details but make depositing cash quick and simple.
Popular eSports Bets to Make
eSports may still be developing, but players can still find plenty of gambling action online. eSports betting sites offer similar types of wagers to sportsbooks, but they might refer to different events or actions than regular sports matches. Here are some of the common eSports wagers players can find at any sportsbooks or eSports betting sites:
the most basic bet; a wager on which eSports team will win a game.
in esports betting, point spread gives two options; "map spread" betting, which refers to the number of kills on a specific map by a team, or 'match' betting, the number of maps won.
players bet on the number of specific events that happen within a match (i.e., goals scored in Fifa or player kills in games such as Call of Duty).
wagers on a certain event or outcome to transpire within a match (e.g., in a League of Legends match, Player A will get 20 kills). Our list of common eSports prop bets covers the most popular options in more detail.
a player bets on the overall outcome of an event, i.e., that Team A will win the Dota 2 International.
several individual bets made on different events that, if you should win, will allow the odds of all the bets to be multiplied together for a larger payout.
also referred to as live-bets, in-play wagers refer to bets placed while a match is ongoing.
What are eSports Special Bets?
Like regular sporting events, eSports tournaments have special bets based on in-game occurrences. These prop bets offer huge win potential for bettors that know their eSports.
There are tons of popular eSports titles to wager on, with endless opportunities for special bets. Some are like regular sports specials and focus on totals. eSports is still evolving, so eSports betting sites will use the abundance of game and player data available to them to offer new and unusual special bets.
Some gamblers avoid eSport specials because of their complexity. Bettors that follow a set game or team will find eSports special bets are straightforward. For those new to eSports betting, we've listed the top specials to wager on in any eSport title:
Team/Player to Destroy First Structure
In LoL and Dota 2, bettors can wager on which team or player will destroy a tower or inhibitor first.
Team to Kill First Roshan/Nashor
Another LoL and Dota 2 favorite, this special bet sees bettors deciding which team will be the first to kill the most important neutral monster in these eSports titles.
This eSport special bet is the most popular wager to make early in the game. Gamblers decide which team or player will take first blood (aka make the first kill) in a match.
Total Number of Kills
Sportsbooks give an average number of kills for teams or players in a match, and bettors must decide if the outcome will be under or over the average.
Player versus Player
Gamblers must decide which eSport athlete will have the highest number of kills, assists, deaths, and other criteria out of a pool of two or three players chosen by a sportsbook.
Total Rounds/Match Duration
Some eSports are played in rounds; others continue until a specific outcome occurs. With this special bet, gamblers must decide whether a game will come over or under the average number of rounds or total match time a sportsbook gives.
In some eSports games, such as CS:GO, matches rarely reach overtime. On the rare occasion sportsbooks think a tie might occur, they will offer an overtime bet. These specials have high odds and big value, but only for bettors that have done their research.
eSports Betting Bonuses
Bonuses have the power to boost your bankroll and maximize your eSports bets. These promotions can help you get an edge over the sportsbook and win real money for free. Every gambler should look for these bonuses before making any eSports bets.
Players don't need to search far for these eSports bonuses; bookmakers normally offer the same promotions across all sports on their sites. To get started, here are the top eSports betting bonuses to find online:
The most popular sportsbook promotion, a no deposit bonus works exactly how it sounds. After registering with a gambling site, players will receive free credit to make wagers. The amounts are usually small but can result in big wins for players that make smart bets.
Deposit a specified amount of money, and you can receive a free wager on the house. This bonus is handy for testing a new eSport or prop bet, without the risk.
Sportsbooks only 'switch' this promotion on occasionally. Essentially, this promotion returns a percentage of a player's losses to their account.
This popular promotion gives players free credit depending on the amount of money they deposit in their account. Deposit bonuses are usually denoted as a percentage and can be given once or several times over.
Upon sign-up, some sportsbooks deposit a specified amount of credit into a player's account. Bettors usually have to deposit cash before the welcome bonus appears, but this perk can easily double your bankroll.
With any sportsbook promotion, check the terms and conditions for any restrictions. Wagering requirements or minimum deposit/withdrawal limits are common features attached to eSports bonuses.
How to Bet on eSports
eSports betting is almost identical to traditional sports gambling. Many popular sportsbooks now offer odds and specials on eSports matches, although bettors may need to visit eSports betting sites to find niche eSports prop bets.
If a player already has an account with a sportsbook, they can use it to make bets on eSports too. For eSports fans new to online gambling though, follow these easy steps to make bets on your favorite leagues in minutes:
Find a recommended sportsbook or eSports betting site.
Click 'Sign up' to create an account.
Enter the required information and wait for the gambling site to approve your details.
Choose a preferred payment method, then deposit cash into your account.
Scroll and find the eSports game or tournament you want to bet on.
Decide which odds offer the best value (we discuss finding the best odds in our eSports betting tips).
Enter the amount you want to wager.
Confirm the bet, and then enjoy the game!
Remember to look for bonuses and other promotions sportsbooks offer. These let you bet on tournaments without risking your cash, and you can still win real money from them.
eSports Gambling Tips
When it comes to making eSports bets, a little smarts goes a long way. There's a huge amount of data available online for specific teams or players. The sportsbooks use these statistics to form their odds, but you too can use this information for your own betting strategies.
Check out our top tips for making smarter eSports bets right here:
Specialize and bet selectively
Focus on a single league, team, or genre, and learn their gameplay in-depth. This will help you make educated betting decisions.
Learn to identify high- and low-value bets
Understanding a team or player's weaknesses and strengths are essential to finding value in a sportsbook's odds.
Study player form
Not every eSport athlete will be able to play at the same level all the time.
Look beyond major tournaments
Standalone tournaments, as well as minor tournaments that feed into majors, often offer the best opportunities to make some easy money.
Most eSports have meta (aka strategies, maps, and weapons) that change frequently. At times, the meta will be more beneficial to some teams or players than others. Learn how meta changes affect your favored team and update your bets accordingly.
Exciting eSports Events to Bet On
eSport tournaments are rapidly becoming some of the biggest sporting events in the world. With prize money records breaking and action-packed gaming guaranteed every year, the eSports tournament scene is thriving.
As a result, sportsbooks are spawning new eSports prop bets to keep up with all the tournament action. With so many betting options and eSports leagues to follow, we've drafted a list of the biggest eSports tournaments on the planet. Based on viewership and prize money, these events are guaranteed to have lots of betting action.
Fortnite World Cup
The Fortnite World Cup may have been canceled in 2020, but this is still an eSport tournament to watch. Fortnite has seen substantial growth compared to established eSports leagues, and in 2019 dished out more than $30,000,000 in prize money during its three-day world cup event. An estimated 2.3 million spectators tuned in for the Fortnite World Cup finale in 2019.
The Fortnite World Cup is split into solo and duo events. With 100 spots for solo players available and 50 entries for duos, there's a huge amount of special eSports bets to make in this Fortnite tournament.
DOTA 2 International
Every August, game developer Valve hosts the DOTA 2 International, also known as TI. This 10-day tournament is the biggest event in the eSports calendar, with 18 of the greatest DOTA 2 teams battling for first place. TI has one of the biggest prize pools out of any eSport tournament, hitting tens of millions of dollars each year.
League of Legends World Championships
The 'Worlds' is the most-watched eSport tournament, with 44 million viewers in 2019 alone. This month-long event pits the biggest League of Legends (LoL) teams against one another for the ultimate prize of several million dollars. The prize money may be smaller for League of Legends compared to DOTA 2, but there are many more betting opportunities for eSports fans. LoL has numerous special bets and opportunities for accumulators too.
CS:GO Major Championships
'Majors' is one of the most lucrative eSports tournaments to win — in 2020, prize money hit $12,000,000. Game developer Valve shook up the Majors format in 2018, to include more teams and incorporate the Offline Qualifier. The tournament now has three stages, with 24 professional teams all vying to be world champions. With so many new and established players clashing in the Majors, this tournament always holds surprises. There's never a dull moment betting on this eSport tournament.
Call of Duty (COD) World Championship
Call of Duty's championship had a big shake-up in 2020. After swapping to a franchise model, new teams, new rosters, and a huge new prize pool of $6,000,000 reinvigorated this eSport tournament. With 330,000 spectators for the COD World Championship final, viewership is still climbing for this eSport tournament. Smart bettors should keep an eye on this eSport event as it continues to grow in popularity.
How big is esports betting?
eSports betting is one of the fastest-growing industries in online gambling. On average, between $12-15 billion is spent on esports wagers. eSports tournaments also garner more spectators than some of the world's most established sporting events. In 2019 the League of Legends World Championship garnered 44 million viewers; in contrast, the men's Wimbledon final peaked at an audience of 9 million.
Are eSports tournaments gambling?
eSports teams train and compete against one another to win prizes in eSports tournaments, which have elements of skill and chance involved. According to the UK Gambling Commission, this means offering bets on eSports tournaments should be treated no differently than betting on any other live sporting event.
Are eSports rigged?
Established eSports tournaments and games are not rigged. Each eSport game, such as League of Legends or COD, has its own organization that oversees its tournaments and ensures the sporting integrity of these events.
Given eSports is still a developing industry though, some reports of match-fixing on smaller, unofficial tournaments have surfaced. In these instances, the eSports Integrity Commission body investigates all reports of eSports rigging to keep the games clean.
Which games can I place an eSports bet on?
Thanks to the growing popularity of eSports betting there are loads of games. Popular eSports to bet on include: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, FIFA, and StarCraft 2.
How does placing an eSports bet work?
Betting on eSports is identical to traditional sports betting. Simply navigate to your preferred sportsbook and choose the eSports event you want to bet on. Select your wager amount, wait for the payment to process, and then enjoy the game.
What kinds of bets can I place on eSports?
As with traditional sports betting, there are numerous different bets players can make. From outrights to accumulators, specials, in-play, and more, our eSports betting guide covers the most popular wagers.
Will online gambling sites offer bonuses for eSports bettors?
Yes — the best eSports betting sites and sportsbooks offer lucrative welcome bonuses as well as loyalty rewards and other promotions just for betting.
Which banking methods are the best for eSports gambling?
There are several good payment options available, but the best banking methods for eSports gambling are e-wallet services. Skrill and PayPal offer the most secure way to play online as your banking details remain secure with these service providers.