Pinnacle Sports is allowing bets up to $100,000 on The International Dota 2 Championships — believed to be the biggest eSports wagers ever accepted.
Six figures for esports
The esports betting market — alongside the nascent daily fantasy eSports industry — has been growing quickly. But the willingness to book bets of this size is new even for the fast-growing sector.
For example, the max wager accepted at a dedicated eSports book like Unikrn is a few hundred dollars, while DFeS sites usually max out entry fees at a few thousand dollars.
Pinnacle is continuing its effort to take the market by its horns, allowing possibly huge wagers to be taken on the outcome of the final match at The International, taking place Aug. 3-8 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. (Bets cannot be accepted from the United States, however.)
The prize pool for the competition itself is more than $18 million, with more than $6 million going to the first-place team. With millions on the line for the winners, it seems unlikely that there would be much likelihood of match-fixing.
Esports more popular than…
Pinnacle is one the leaders in the eSports betting space, offering wagering since 2010 and surpassing a million bets on eSports competitions late last year, according to its website.
Pinnacle also offers wagering on traditional sports, but eSports are “more popular with our bettors than mainstream sports such as golf and rugby,” Pinnacle offers. Amazingly, the $100,000 max bet is also larger than bets allowed on English Premier League soccer.
Pinnacle’s sportsbook chief, Marco Blume, had this to say in a story at SBC News:
“We don’t see eSports as niche or novelty, we consider it alongside our mainstream sports like soccer or basketball. So given that status that The International, and eSports in general now holds, we wanted to apply appropriate betting limits.
Pinnacle – arguably the top esports betting site among mainstream books – is heavily promoting its action for The International on Twitter, and is providing exclusive content about betting the championships via its website.
The eSports betting standard is apparently being set by Pinnacle right now — in terms of dedicated resources and monetary commitment to the space. It might be up to the rest of the industry, including eSports-first sportsbooks like Unikrn, to see if it can keep up.