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What is Esports Betting?
Esports is a term used to describe competitive video gaming played at a professional level. To bet on an Esport is to wager on the outcome of a certain game. You could bet on who the most valuable player will be, or the final score. Just like traditional sports betting, Esports gamblers use real money in order to place a bet.
Games may be played individually or in teams with tournaments. These are often streamed worldwide and offer players gigantic cash prizes. Esports isn’t a new concept, but the betting industry has recently seen a huge surge in its popularity.
How does Esports Betting Work?
Betting on Esports is no different to betting on a physical sport. To place a bet, simply select a sportsbook, find the Esports category, and make your wager. Most major sportsbooks will offer markets for popular Esports games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, Call of Duty or Overwatch. The types of markets on offer are fairly similar to traditional sports and have been known to include popular wagers like series winner and match winner.
Can You Bet For Free On Esports?
You can get free esports bets by claiming bonuses from your bookmaker. A sportsbook may offer free esports bets as a welcome bonus, a deposit bonus or a matched bonus. You can then use these free bets to win real money. You can find out more in our guide to free bets.
Popular Esports to Bet On
League of Legends Betting
League of Legends (usually referred to as LoL) is one of the biggest Esports out there. The aim of the game is simple: two teams of five players compete to be the first to destroy each other’s base (known as a Nexus). In addition to this, players will need to battle enemy minions, destroy turrets, and keep monsters at bay to get there. The game was released in 2009 by Riot Games, and today sees a passionate fanbase with millions of active players. LoL is an ideal option for bettors looking to wager on Esports as its huge popularity means there are plenty of bet types, markets, and matches to choose from.
Top Leagues and Tournaments
The League of Legends World Championship is a huge, annual event in Esports. Millions around the world watch as the best LoL teams battle it out to bag a prize pool that can reach well into the millions. The tournament usually lasts around six weeks, spanning from the play-ins to the finals – all matches can be streamed on the official Riot Games Twitch channel.
Aside from the World Championship, the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) is the second most important League of Legends tournament. The tournament features a play-in group stage, play-in knockout stage, group stage, and final knockout stage with the chance to wager on each match.13 regions are usually represented including teams from North America, Europe, China, and Korea.
Riot, the developer of League of Legends, pay salaries to each professional player individually if they participate in local leagues or huge tournaments.
What is the Most Viewed Esport?
Thanks to streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube, Esports has become a huge spectator sport. Below we’ve listed the most viewed Esports for 2019 based on the number of hours that they were streamed for. All data mentioned has been pulled from escharts.com’s yearly report, you can check out the full findings here.
League of Legends
Arena of Valor
How Much Money is in Esports?
There’s big money to be made in Esports. In the past few years, there have been some life-changing, million-dollar payouts for tournament winners. The prize pools have gotten larger and larger year-on-year, and it’s expected that they’ll continue to grow at the same speed. For a glimpse at how much money is in Esports, take a look at the table below for the top 10 largest prize pools so far.
The International 2019
The International 2018
The International 2017
The International 2016
The International 2015
Fortnite World Cup 2019 (Solo)
Fortnite World Cup 2019 (Duo)
The International 2014
LoL 2018 World Championship
League of Legends
LoL 2016 World Championship
League of Legends
Esports Betting Tips
Before you start with Esports gambling, it’s always good to have a solid betting strategy prepared. To help put you in a better position, we’ve put together four of our essential Esports betting tips below. Read on and get your strategy sorted:
Play the Game for Yourself
No matter your experience level with online gaming, it’s always beneficial to play the game for yourself. Games can often have complex rules to get to grips with, and the fastest way to learn the ins and outs is to experience them first-hand. Luckily most Esports games are available to download for free, so it should be fairly easy to jump into the action.
Know the Team & Players
It sounds simple, but the key to success is knowing who you’re betting on and why. Try to research the recent form of players as well as any past statistics you can find on the team. The more you know about the teams, the more information you have when it comes to placing an Esports bet.
Watch Live Matches
Just like any traditional sport, watching live matches is the best way to understand the game. Some bookmakers will offer live streaming directly on their sites, but if not, services like Twitch or YouTube will be your best bet. Following your favorite game will also help you to analyze gameplay strategies and be familiar with common match outcomes.
Stick Within Your Budget
When it comes to video game gambling, or any type of betting, it’s good to set a budget and then stick to you. Betting more than you can afford to lose is always a huge risk that could hurt your bank balance. Ultimately, the key to long-term success is to be calculated in your betting and to never let your passion cloud your judgment.
How We Rate the Best Esports Betting Sites
When it comes to Esports gambling, we want every bettor to feel confident in the sportsbook they’ve chosen. That’s why each site that we recommended undergoes a comprehensive review process. Before a site makes our shortlist, it will need to live up to all of our key criteria:
Reputation & Security
Esports may have gained enormous popularity over the last few years, but it’s still important to find a reputable betting site. We perform a full background check on each sportsbook to make sure that you’re investing in a legitimate and trustworthy operator. This includes checking the site’s licensing and certification, as well as how well they protect a user’s personal information.
Esports tournaments can sell out stadiums around the globe, but not all sportsbooks have caught up with the trend. Some sites will list the major tournaments under their ‘specials’ category or have temporary landing pages. We only recommended sportsbooks that have a dedicated and permanent Esports section that’s kept up to date with regular competitions.
Ranges of Games & Tournaments
A variety of games is key to any great Esports betting site. We want to see all the big names like Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Call of Duty, and more, as well as the odds on the rising stars of the Esports scene. Beyond that we also check to see if all the major tournaments and qualifying events are listed too.
Banking & Payouts
When it comes to Esports gambling, having a variety of deposit and withdrawal options is essential. We’ll be looking out for traditional payment methods such as VISA and Mastercard, as well as more niche methods like e-wallets and cryptocurrencies. Finally, we’ll look into payout speeds to assess how quickly a bettor receives their winnings.
Bonuses & Promotions
The cherry on top of a great sportsbook is the range of promotions it offers. A generous welcome package will help new bettors to make the most of their bankroll through deposit bonuses, cashback offers, and free bets. Beyond that, we like to see regular promotions that suit all styles of betting.
App & Mobile
Esports betting apps are a huge convenience. We look for sportsbooks with dedicated apps or that have a mobile site compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows devices. On top of that, we look for extra features such as live streaming on mobile, push notifications with odds updates, plus the overall speed of the mobile site.
If an Esports betting site scores highly in all of the criteria above, then it will make it to our shortlist. Our team of reviewers make sure they check and update our rankings on a regular basis so that you can make the best betting decision possible.
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Esports Betting FAQs
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