One of the biggest growth industries in the world of sports betting today is that of esports betting. If you’ve never heard of esports, we’re willing to bet that within a few years, you will.
In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the esports industry. We’ll include how you can bet on it with an ever-increasing number of the highest profile and reputable bookmakers in the industry, as well as a number of specialist esports betting sites that are being formed.
Let’s begin however by examining the most obvious question which is: what exactly is an esport?
What are esports?
The phrase esports stands for ‘electronic sports.’ It basically refers to a type of computer or console game that is played by an individual, or team of players, against other individuals or teams either over the Internet (an online game). It can also take place over a local area network (LAN). This is termed an offline game.
Of course, there are many games nowadays on PC and consoles that facilitate multiple players playing online from around the world, or LAN play. But what marks esports out as different from these games (such as the recently released Star Wars Battlefront) is that these events attract major sponsorship from companies. They also have a clear tournament structure and organisation.
As a result, esports events also tend to attract the best gamers in the world. Many of these are amateur players. However, an increasing number—especially in the Far East in South Korea and China—are professional gamers who earn a living playing in esports tournaments.
There are a number of games that are viewed as esports games. Some of the most commonly played include:
- StarCraft 2
- League of Legends
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Heroes of the Storm
- Defense of the Ancients 2 (commonly shortened to Dota 2)
This list is not exhaustive. There are other esports available, though finding betting on esports not on this list is far more difficult.
As an online medium, esports has grown massively in popularity in recent years, not just with players but with viewers also. Many follow the events in a major tournament via the Twitch live streaming service. It didn’t take bookmakers long to realise that there was a potential for betting markets on this new and evolving phenomenon.
Do people really bet on esports?
At first, to a punter not familiar with esports, the idea of betting on a player or a team in a game on a computer or console sounds somewhat preposterous. However, esports gaming is now a fully regulated and worldwide industry. So really, it’s not as strange as it sounds.
With the growing popularity of esports, it’s a natural progression to go from playing to watching to facilitating bets. It is, after all, what happens with sports all over the world.
In the past two years, the esports betting industry has grown. There is an increasing number of companies offering esports betting. When you consider that 205 million people played esports in the past 12 months, it’s easy to see why people are eager to bet on their favourite games and gamers.
Many of the top online bookmakers are now offering regular esports betting alongside traditional sports offerings.
Can you bet on esports at the major online sportsbooks?
Yes you can. An increasing number of the major sports betting sites offer esports alongside traditional sports betting.
The list of major sportsbook sites that offer esports betting includes:
In addition, the newly formed, eSport-specific site Unikrn offers an extensive range of esports betting. At the moment in the UK, Coral, Betfred and Stan James do not offer esports betting.
How similar is esports betting to regular online sports betting?
Apart from the differences we’ve already outlined, betting on esports is exactly the same as making a bet on any other sporting event.
On any of the sites listed that offer traditional sports alongside esports betting, you make your selections in esports. Then you’ll select your stake and make your bet in exactly the same way as you would for a traditional sporting market.
Furthermore, once the outcome of your esport bet is decided, winnings are paid with the same level of expediency as a sports bet.
In terms of the mechanics of placing a bet on esports compared to traditional sports, there is no difference.
How is esports betting different to regular sports betting?
In truth, the only difference between esports and traditional sports betting is that in one you are betting on individuals competing in a computer game, whereas in traditional sports it is a physical or mental contest between two teams or individuals.
Of course, there are differences in how the odds for the markets in each are drawn up. Online betting sites will have their own experts within the esports industry. They advise them on which events to offer bets on and what odds to have the selections at.
Other than that though, there is very little difference between the two forms of betting.
How do I know that esports matches are not rigged?
Of course, one of the key considerations for any punter when dealing with a relatively new industry to bet on is how to ensure that competitions between two players are not rigged. You also don’t want collusion between the players to ensure that one wins and the other loses.
The reason why this is not an issue at the highest level of esports (where all the betting markets are focused) is that this is essentially now a professional industry. It has its own code of conduct, rules and regulations. The professional players get paid for results.
What this means is, just like a football match where one team is heavily favoured over the other, there is no incentive for the losing or underdog player not to try and win. Pride, their place in their chosen esports team, and the riches that comes from being the top esports gamers will ensure that at the highest level, every match is fought to the maximum of each player’s ability.
In addition, with so many gaming experts watching events on screen—plus a host of fans watching via live streaming services such as Twitch—if any player did ‘give up’ or collude to lose, this would be easily discovered. The player would be sanctioned. (And likely all bets on the outcome declared void and your stakes returned.)
Essentially, esports betting is as safe in terms of matches being rigged as any other sport you could consider. Indeed, given the issues some sports have faced of late, it may even be less of an issue in esports.
How do I bet on esports using my mobile?
Betting on esports via your mobile is simply a case of loading up any of the sites listed above that offer esports betting and logging in to your account.
Find the esports betting section on that site. Then click on it to bring up a list of current esports betting events and markets available.
Simply click on an event, make your selections and place your bet. It’s that simple. You can then even log in to Twitch and watch the match unfold on your mobile if you so desire.