In the world of gaming, esports betting is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting markets out there, with its popularity down to multiple factors that we explore fully on this page.
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Esports Betting: What You Need to Know
When the esports industry first began to bloom as an industry, esports betting was not too far behind. As esports has grown and diversified, with 2024 projections that the industry will generate over $4.3 billion in revenue according to statistics data and market forecasting firm Statista, the success of that industry has also led to the rapid attractiveness of esports betting too.
On this page, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the established esports betting industry, with recommendations for legit betting providers.
Over the last few years, with traditional sporting competitions hit hard, the esports industry has undergone a huge swell in popularity and esports betting has equally benefited from a new influx of customers, of all age ranges and with varying experiences in the esports betting industry.
With the esports betting industry estimated to generate at least $2.5 billion in 2024 revenue according to Statista many more people will likely be interested in betting on esports. This will undoubtedly lead to a journey of exploration to start learning more about the esports industry in general, the types of esports bets available, which esports titles have active betting markets and which are the best esports betting sites to sign up for.
EsportsBets is devoted to answering the key questions about esports or esports betting that you may have.
Feel free to contact us with any queries you may have about esports and esports betting, and if you have any suggestions for other FAQs that people may want us to answer, just let us know.
Let’s begin with a simple question, what should you look for when it comes to betting on esports with a bookmaker?
What to Look For in an Esportsbook
We think there are a few fundamental questions you should be asking before choosing an online esportsbook to place esports bets at:
- Can I trust the site?
- How good are their prices for esports bets?
- What promotional value do they offer?
- What kind of bets can I place on esports matches?
Knowing When to Trust a Book
Figuring out if you can trust a sportsbook online comes down to a few simple tests.
- The first is the test of regulation. Which jurisdiction issued the license for the online sports book? You can usually find this information on the website footer of the sportsbook. If you’re not familiar with the jurisdiction, do a bit of research. If there have been player issues with sites regulated under a jurisdiction, you won’t have to do much more than a cursory Google search to uncover them. What are some of the other sites that the jurisdiction licenses? If you’re familiar with some online betting brands already, where are they licensed? We advise that you never play at an unlicensed esports gambling site as this could pose a risk to your funds.
- The second is the test of social proof. What are real people saying about the site on social media and on review sites? What kind of availability and accessibility does the site offer in terms of social media accounts and customer support? You can generally tell the difference between a credible, active site just by examining these simple characteristics.
- The third is the test of experience. Start small at a sportsbook that has passed the first two tests. Make the minimum deposit and place the minimum bet. If you have any questions or problems, pose them to support and gauge the quality and sincerity of their response. If you don’t like anything about your experience, move on. There are dozens of other operators that would be happy to have your business.
Good Esports Betting Prices
The odds on a given match won’t be the same at every online esportsbook. You’ll want to do a bit of shopping around at first to determine which sportsbook tends to offer the odds that you believe are most favorable.
This is a question you should be asking regularly, as markets are dynamic and books regularly get better (and worse) at predicting specific markets. Our esports odds tracker helps you to find the best value for a specific event so that you can decide which esportsbook is best to bet at and claim a fantastic bonus at the same time.
Promotional Value Offered by a Book
Price is only one part of the equation when it comes to getting the best value for an esports bet. Sites offer players – especially new players – a variety of promotions and bonuses.
Some of the most important promotional components to be aware of include:
- Welcome bonuses
- Cashback programs
- Match deposit bonuses
- VIP clubs and loyalty programs
- Free bets
- Bet insurance
Types of Esports Bets
At this stage of the game, the quality and quantity of available bets on esports vary significantly from sportsbook to sportsbook.
The traditional form of betting is match betting – betting on the outcome of a match. As a binary choice, this remains one of the more popular options for punters and will be available at all esport betting sites, usually on the homepage.
According to reports by esports data providers and sportsbooks themselves, the most dominant type of betting in the space is live esports betting. Many of the leading sportsbooks in the space – including GG.Bet, Rivalry, and Pinnacle sites – provide “live” betting or “in-play” betting, which are bets offered and made on events while the match is underway. This is widely seen as one of the most exciting ways to enjoy an event as things can change so quickly.
In-play markets are among the most complex to develop and maintain in traditional sports, and it will likely take some time before robust live betting options are available for a wide array of esports events at a wide array of books.
Users should also consider quantity, as not all esportsbooks offer odds on all events. Some traditional sports bookmakers – such as Bet365 and Betway – are rapidly increasing their cover of esports, though.
Here’s our regularly updated table of esports betting site reviews and esports betting guides, updated to 2024 – each is a crucial companion as you navigate your way through the world of esports gambling.
Is Esports Betting Legal?
This is a complex question that is impossible to answer for all users in all situations. The important thing to keep in mind is that you, as a bettor, are subject to the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction. If a particular type of betting on sports is not legal where you are located, then the same probably goes for betting on esports games.
Who Regulates Esports Betting?
There is currently no central regulatory body for esports, although there are several leagues and entities – such as ESL FACEIT – that cooperate to varying degrees.
In 2016, the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), formerly the Esports Integrity Coalition, was formed in association with some key esports organizations such as the ESL, DreamHack, BLAST, The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) as well as the UK Gambling Commission and other similar organizations across the world.
Esportsbooks like GG.Bet, Pinnacle, Betway, Loot.Bet, Rivalry and Midnite are all listed as Anti-Corruption Supporters of the organization. Data and content providers like Oddin and SIS are also on the list of supporters.
ESIC is fast taking on the mantle as the regulatory body in esports and esports betting and its influence in these spheres will likely continue to grow over the next few years.
When it comes to the regulation of the betting operators, the answer varies by operator. Each is regulated by the jurisdiction within which they are located (and may be subject to additional regulation based on the markets that they serve). There are many popular licensing hubs for online gambling, including the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao Gaming Control Board and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. Each of the bodies has its standards, with some – such as the UKGC – seen as stricter.
Ensuring that your esportsbook is fully licensed will mean that you should have a body to complain to if anything goes wrong.
How Old Do I Have to Be to Bet on Esports?
There is no universal answer, as the minimum gambling age varies by jurisdiction. Sometimes sites will set their own minimum age above the local minimum age. So, always check the legal age for the country that you reside in – this will keep you on the right side of the law and ensure that you don’t have any issues withdrawing your winnings.
How Do I Know Matches are Fair and on the Level?
The question of fairness in esports play is a legitimate and growing one. There have already been several high-profile accusations of match-fixing with esports, including some that approach the highest levels of the sport.
Without some assurance that the game being played is fair, bettors have little reason to risk money on the outcome – even small amounts.
There are a few factors that are helping to ensure and affirm the fairness of esports matches:
- Growth of esports prize pools: As more money is on the line for winning competitions, the appeal of a financial incentive to throw matches diminishes.
- The entrance of traditional sportsbooks: Fighting fraud is one of the primary occupations of major online sportsbooks. As they enter the market for esports wagering, they bring their substantial resources and expertise to bear on the problem of esports match-fixing.
- Increased regulation: With increased prize pools and betting comes increased attention and regulation. Both increase the risk associated with match-fixing and decrease the ability of match-fixers to hide in plain sight.
Similar to traditional sports leagues, esports also have independent commissions verifying fair play.
The Esports Integrity Commission investigates all cases of cheating, doping, and match-fixing. The best betting sites look to the ESIC for unclear cases at all esports competition levels, including Loot.Bet, GG.Bet and Pinnacle.
The ESIC’s partnerships include many esports tournament hosts themselves, like BLAST and the ESL FACEIT. Governmental gaming commissions in the Isle of Man, Nevada, and the United Kingdom also work with ESIC to verify the integrity of pro esports matches.
The ESIC has doled out bans at the highest level of esports, and developers trust their investigations. The CS:GO Coach Bug scandal of 2020 was first revealed by the ESIC and resulted in almost 40 Counter-Strike coaches being banned from the sport. These names included the coaches of big teams like FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. After these coaches were banned from any partner events, betting sites and tournament hosts worldwide copied the ESIC’s rulings.
Traditional sports bettors are especially concerned with the fairness of esports. It’s a relatively new form of entertainment, and the lack of physicality can make unfair play less clear. However, esports matches are on the same level as the NFL or NBA when it comes to match integrity. With larger prize pools and more viewers than ever, there’s plenty of incentive for esports teams to stay on the straight-and-narrow. Thanks to the growth of the esports industry and the presence of integrity commissions, you can make esports bets with the same confidence as traditional sports bets.
Depositing Funds to Bet on Esports
As in many ways, esports betting is practically identical to traditional sports betting online. You can fund your account and cash out from your account using just about any betting payment method. This is where becoming a bettor has never been better as you have so much variety when it comes to esports payments.
Using Mastercard or VISA to deposit for esports betting
MasterCard and VISA esports betting are easily the two most popular ways to deposit for esports betting. Players like this method because of its ease of use and built-in security. The downside comes for American Express customers, who often find themselves shut out of being able to deposit by credit cards. There may also be relatively low deposit limits or restrictions on how many deposits you can make within a certain time frame.
Can you use Bitcoin (BTC) to Wager on Esports?
The use of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, to bet on esports has become increasingly popular. From being a somewhat fringe market just a few years back, crypto betting on esports is now a lucrative part of the industry.
As such, many bookmakers have integrated crypto-payments alongside more standard payment methods on their sites and there are now specialist sites that offer crypto-only payments on their platforms.
Not only that, but the best sites now offer several different cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin betting as a means of depositing with other cryptos such as Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin amongst the most commonly available.
Betting sites that include cryptocurrency payments include the likes of BC.Game and Thunderpick but there is an increasing trend towards more companies offering this type of payment.
Additionally, you can also now use cryptocurrency with many popular eWallet services, such as PayPal, which can be converted into standard cash to use with sites that do not yet offer crypto payment options.
Other Methods for Esport Bet Deposits
Additional methods for moving money to and from online esportsbooks include:
- Virtual wallets such as Neteller and Skrill
- Wire transfers from a checking account.
- ACH transfers
- Cash deposits at a land-based satellite location
- Money transfer services
The Size of the Esports Betting Market
The growing popularity of competitive gaming makes it difficult to assess precisely how popular esports betting is. Any numbers that are researched are likely to be superseded almost immediately. However, there are a handful of significant figures we can look at to judge the size of esports betting.
How Much Does The Esports Betting Industry Generate?
It is difficult to accurately assess how much the esports betting industry generates in a typical year. However, around 2.5 billion people were said to be gamers in 2022, so it is abundantly clear that the esports betting industry will see significant benefits from those numbers.
Some sites estimate that the global esports betting industry is valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while others, such as Asia Gaming Brief, estimate that it is much larger, at $10-15 billion a year.
Some projections have the esports betting market set to generate revenue of $205 billion by 2027.
In truth, the figures do not matter so much as the fact that over the last five years in particular, the esports betting industry has, due to a number of factors, increased many times in size and is now comparable to many sports betting markets, such as golf or tennis in terms of the amount that is being bet on it nowadays. Esports’ exposure on social media and through popular streamers has also brought the industry to an entirely new demographic.
How Quickly is the Esports Market Growing?
Newzoo’s projections were that by the end of 2021, the global revenue generated by the esports industry would eclipse $1 billion and the expectations were that by the end of 2022, it would surpass, or come close to $2 billion.
Statista’s predictions for 2023 were that the esports market size, in terms of revenue, would be $1.62 billion, with an expected CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) over 2023-2027 of 8.31%. This means that by 2027 the market size would be $2.24 billion. In short, esports is booming and the betting aspect of that is growing at a similar rate.
There are a number of reasons for this including better sponsorship and advertising revenue.
A larger number of tournaments being able to be held as the effects of the pandemic are mitigated, plus key markets opening across the world with a particular focus on North America, where recent legislation allowing states to offer sports and esports betting, means that many experts feel we are about to see a boom in sports and esports betting in the U.S.A. Latin America is also expected to contribute its share to this growth.
With the number of esports fans also growing from 443 million in 2019 to an estimated 646 million by 2023, according to Statista, and year-on-year growth of about 10% looking sustainable for the next few years at least, those numbers seem to indicate a very strong likelihood of continued future growth for both esports and esports betting.
Which Regions Bet the Most on Esports?
Esports betting has proven to be more popular in some regions of the world than others, partly due to sociological factors, but also due to the fact that in large parts of some regions of the world, all forms of betting are either not legal, or in a ‘grey’ area in terms of legality.
In some other parts of the world, esports is not yet as popular as other forms of betting.
It is a sensible correlation that the higher the viewership in a region, then the more likely that this region will bet more on esports. That has been the case in the past where regions like South East Asia and Europe have been key players in both industries.
However, there is a significant move from many within both industries to expand into certain parts of the world such as the Middle East, South America, Oceania and also across North America, with a particular focus on the United States.
In the next few years, as more of these regions start to come online with esports and esports betting, you can expect to see a greater proportion of bets being made from these regions too.
Which Esports Have The Biggest Betting Markets?
One of the most exciting things about the esports industry is that it is organic and new titles will become popular over time, attracting more players, viewers and eventually bettors to engage with it. However, at the present time, the esports betting industry is still dominated by a relatively small number of titles.
Counter-Strike, a first-person shooter, is the largest esports betting title by turnover. CS is followed by League of Legends and Dota 2. Together these titles are referred to as the big three of esports. These is also growing interest in Valorant and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang which means that these titles are seeing an increase in bets placed on them.
Another popular esports betting sector is the sports simulation sector which includes games like EA Sports FC, NBA2K and Madden.
How can you place esports bets?
There are a variety of different ways that you can wager on the outcome of esports competitions (or even on specific outcomes within an esports competition). We’ve grouped them into four basic categories:
- Traditional sportsbook betting
- Fantasy sports betting
- Item betting
- Social betting
Here we’re talking about betting on esports within a traditional sportsbook context – the same way that you would place an online bet on a football game or golf match. The majority of major online bookmakers now offer at least some amount of esports betting, although the quality and quantity of the offering can vary greatly by each individual sportsbook.
- ✅ The primary advantage of betting esports at a traditional sportsbook is that you can place your bet with confidence, knowing that there’s a credible operator behind the online site taking your wager.
- ❌ The downside of betting at sportsbooks when it comes to esports is that most sportsbooks are still getting to know the esports industry, meaning that you might find an inferior selection of stakes and wagers, at least for the time being.
Two traditional sportsbooks that have embraced esports betting are Betway and bet365.
This type of betting is especially popular in the United States, where access to quality online sportsbooks is subject to laws and regulations on a state-by-state basis. But, thanks primarily to a federal law known as UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), fantasy-based wagering enjoys at least a partial exemption from gambling law in America.
Where traditional betting generally has to do with the outcome of a match or a specific event within the match, fantasy esports generally sees opposing players build lineups (their fantasy team) for major events – just as one would do with fantasy football or baseball. The lineup that performs the best of the course of the predetermined event or series of events is the winning lineup.
That’s the other core difference between fantasy sports and traditional sportsbook betting: instead of betting against the house as you do with sports wagering, with fantasy, you’re competing against other players directly.
- ✅ The primary advantage of fantasy esports is that it’s readily available and generally considered legal in the majority of US states. Case in point, DraftKings offers extensive coverage on League of Legends fantasy, including minor and major tournaments such as Fantasy LCS and LoL Worlds. As well as League of Legends, DraftKings Fantasy now offers fantasy esports on a number of other titles including Counter-Strike 2, Dota 2, Rocket League, Call of Duty, Valorant and Call of Duty.
- ❌The downside: it’s not quite the same as placing a bet on the outcome of an esports match, and there aren’t many options for playing fantasy esports.
Item & Skin Esports Bets
Item betting is a general term for betting – sometimes formal, sometimes informal – that takes place within or alongside marketplaces for in-game items. It’s difficult to appreciate the full size of this particular aspect of esports betting as there’s very little visibility into the volume. But anecdotally, there is enough to suggest tens of thousands of players are participating in such wagering – often at surprisingly high stakes.
Generally, item betting doesn’t involve any cash, at least not directly. Instead, wagers and prizes are conducted entirely using transferrable in-game properties such as weapons or abilities. In many cases, these items are exchangeable for cash at a third-party destination, blurring the lines when it comes to the legality of these types of bets in certain jurisdictions.
- ✅ The primary advantage of marketplace betting is that it’s relatively simple and can help you get some value out of items you don’t have a use for,
- ❌ The downside of marketplace betting is that there is almost no regulation and little way to know that the games you’re playing are fair or that your winnings will be honored.
Despite the risks associated with marketplace betting, it’s easy to believe that it outstrips traditional sportsbook betting on esports and fantasy esports combined. Many players will not even consider this activity “gambling”; there is little restriction on who can participate and – in some jurisdictions – such gambling represents a reasonable economic opportunity for creative (or dishonest) participants.
A crackdown by Valve on skin betting sites doesn’t seem to have caused the sector to shutdown. Read about some alternatives to CS2 skin gambling sites.
Social Esports Betting
Social esports betting refers to the type of casual bet placed between friends on the outcome of a match or event. This type of betting may also include challenge betting, where individuals compete directly for a wager.
- ✅ The primary advantage of social esports betting is that it’s a low-friction way to add a bit of fun and engagement to an already social experience.
- ❌ The downside of social betting is that it’s a limited market. You have no guarantee that you’ll be able to find a friend who is willing to take the action you’re seeking. And, to be honest, if you’re always beating your friends with these bets, you’ll either run out of betting partners or friends before too long.
Attempting to estimate the size of this market is impossible, as there is little in the way of reliable or confirmable data, but given how organically betting and sport combine as a social activity, there is every reason to believe that it is substantial in size.
Betting on Streamers
Most gamers will enjoy watching streamers on channels like Twitch, but did you know that you can also bet on streamers? Recently we have seen a growing number of esports betting sites feature some streamer betting options, and it looks like this could become a big new trend in esports betting.
But how does betting on streamers actually work? Simply put, an esports betting site would have live streams embedded on their websites, and they would serve up a constantly changing selection of odds for you to wager on. If you go to an esports betting site like GG.Bet, you will get a good idea of how streamer betting works.
The great thing about betting on streamers is the fact that it isn’t limited to being focused on the big esports tournaments. This means that you should always be able to find some decent streamer betting odds to wager on. Sites like GG.Bet state that their streamer betting service serves up fresh odds every 90 seconds.
Betting on streamers also has the potential of allowing you to wager on a greater amount of esports. Rather than only being able to bet on the big team-based esports such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike 2, you should have the freedom to bet on streamers playing popular new titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
This doesn’t mean that we will see the end of traditional esports betting on massive tournaments. There will always be gaming fans who want to bet on the most famous esports teams, but betting on streamers adds an extra dimension to how you can bet on esports. So if you are ever waiting for a big esports tournament to kick off, be sure to try some streamer betting.
Esports Betting in 2024
With 2023 another bumper year for the esports betting, we expect 2024 to set new records in terms of betting revenue and see no signs of its popularity slowing down. This is due to a number of factors that we have already covered, including the inexorable growth of streamers online, as well as the competition between betting operators and the bigger picture of more regions around the globe opening up for esports gambling with regulation.
Once again, in 2024, we expect Counter-Strike to be the dominant esports betting title. League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are expected to solidify their share of esports betting volume. Classic esports titles, like StarCraft II and Quake will see renewed interest. We can also expect to see the range of esports titles, and therefore betting, expand. New video gaming and esports titles are being developed currently:
- Bet on The Finals – A competitive team-based shooter game show title from Embark Studios.
- Bet on Stormgate – A new RTS title from Frost Giant, former StarCraft II & Warcraft III developers, built with esports in mind.
- Bet on Tarkov Arena – A competitive tactical PvPvE tactical shooter game.
All of this will will result in event greater variety, value and safety for players, and we see this growth as a good thing. The end result is likely to be bigger or more personalized bonuses when you sign up at an esportsbook and more choice than ever when it comes to ways to bet. When you add in the rapid transformation of crypto options with regards to betting, then it is certainly an exciting time for the industry.