An Introduction to Esports Betting
Some of us here at GamblingSites.com have been betting on sports for many, many years. The sports betting industry was VERY different back when we got started. There was no Internet for one thing, which meant no online betting sites to use. We had to place our wagers the old-fashioned way, using traditional bookmakers.
These traditional bookmakers ultimately served the same purpose as betting sites do today. They took our wagers (and our money), and paid us out when we won. The betting options were extremely limited compared to now, though. We could only really bet on the mainstream sports back then, and there weren’t many different types of wager.
Nowadays we have a TON of betting options. There are all kinds of different wagers available and various different forms of betting. We can also bet on pretty much any sport in the world, including professional video gaming.
Yes, video gaming IS a sport. That’s why it’s known as esports (short for electronic sports). It’s obviously different to the more “conventional” sports in many ways, but they also have a lot in common with each other too, one being that it generates a lot of betting activity. Hundreds of millions of dollars are staked on professional esports contests each year, and those numbers are only going to get bigger. The interest in esports betting is growing at a rapid rate.
A lot of this interest comes from people who are completely new to esports and/or betting in general. Does that sound like you? Then you need to continue reading. This is a complete introduction to esports betting that covers everything you should know before getting started. There’s also a section on HOW to get started. We begin with a quick look at how competitive video gaming has developed over the years.
The Rise of Competitive Video Gaming
Video gaming has been around for a lot longer than many people think. The earliest games were created back in the 1950s, primarily to demonstrate the power of emerging technology at the time. They were very basic, and not released commercially, but they were video games nonetheless. You can read more about them in our complete history of video gaming.
It wasn’t until the early 1970s that the video gaming industry really took off. That was when the first coin-operated arcade machines were released, and they were an instant success. Despite their simplistic nature, games such as Computer Space and Pong proved to be incredibly popular.
Pong was an influential game for a number of reasons. Particularly notable was the fact that it was a TWO PLAYER game. People could play directly against their friends (or enemies!) to determine who was the best player. When the game was later released for the first home video console, it was a massive hit. It was immediately obvious that the real fun of video gaming lies in competing against others.
Video gaming was competitive right from the start. Even though most of the early arcade games were single player, a lot of them had leaderboards that recorded high scores. Players would feed coin after coin into these games, trying to get their name to the top of the leaderboard. Achieving the highest score for a popular game was considered a real accolade back then.
It was only a matter of time before competitive video gaming became more organized. In fact, the first “official” competition actually took place in 1972. This was before Pong had even been released. It was organized by Rolling Stone writer Stewart Brand, who was writing a feature story about the potential of computers at the time. He felt that video games were a big part of that potential, and demonstrated this by arranging a Spacewar tournament at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab in Los Angeles.
When Brand wrote his feature, he made a clear reference to the skill of the players. He described them in the same way a sports reporter might describe a football player or a tennis player. It’s unlikely that he had any idea that video gaming would eventually become a legitimate sport, but he obviously recognized that video gaming involved a great deal of skill.
The first video gaming competition on a large scale was held in 1980. Atari organized the National Space Invaders Championship in the United States, and it attracted over 10,000 participants. There’s a great thread on Reddit about this tournament. Someone started a discussion on it (in 2015), and the actual winner started posting in there!
Other big tournaments soon followed, and the competitive video gaming scene was gaining real traction. It was still relatively niche though, without widespread interest—until then the online era began.
The Internet had a huge impact on video gaming. The simple fact that it allowed people to play games against others from all over the world was significant enough, but it also led to a change in the TYPES of games that were developed. It helped the competitive scene enormously too, making it much easier to organize both formal and informal contests.
Gaming in general became much more popular during this period. This was a big factor in the continued rise of organized competitions and, from the start of this century, they finally started to attract widespread interest.
Many competitions were streamed live online with large audiences watching. Some of the biggest were even televised by major broadcasters. They began attracting official sponsorship, leading to significantly increased prize pools. The top players became genuine celebrities, and competitive video gaming was well on its way toward entering the mainstream.
At some point, the term “electronic sports” was introduced. This was eventually shortened to esports. Professional leagues and tournaments were being launched on a regular basis, and the whole scene had a lot more credibility. Esports were soon accepted as a legitimate professional sport. Once this happened, the esports BETTING industry began to thrive.
The Birth of Esports Betting
Betting on esports has become very popular in the last couple of years. It actually started some time ago though, well before professional video gaming began to enter the mainstream. The difference back then, however, was that most betting was done on an informal basis.
Early esports betting activity was done primarily within the video gaming community. There was no choice really; the bookmakers and betting sites had not yet paid any attention to competitive video gaming, so anyone wanting to bet on events had to make private wagers with other individuals.
The video gaming community was very active by then, and there were plenty of people willing to bet. This made it relatively easy for bettors to make their wagers. It wasn’t an ideal way to bet though. People had to rely on the honesty and integrity of the people they were betting with, and they were never guaranteed to get the action they wanted.
The first major betting site to get involved with esports was Pinnacle. They started offering esports betting markets back in 2010, and other sites subsequently followed their lead. It wasn’t long before most of the leading betting sites were covering esports to some extent. A number of new sites were launched too, focusing exclusively on esports betting.
In early 2017, Pinnacle announced that they had taken their 5 millionth esports wager. It was clear by this stage that there was a widespread interest in betting on esports, and that this wasn’t some short-lived craze that was going to fade into obscurity. Esports betting was here to stay.
Getting Started With Esports Betting
So, you now know a little bit about how competitive video gaming has developed over the years. You also know a little bit about how esports betting got started. Are you ready to get started yourself? Great! The next step is to learn about all the different types of esports betting, which are as follows:
- Social betting
- Challenge betting
- Real money betting
- Skin & item betting
- Fantasy esports
The first option is not something we recommend getting too heavily involved with. Social betting is basically just making private wagers with other individuals, and it’s generally a bad idea. If you don’t really know the people you’re betting with, there’s a risk you’re going to get ripped off in some way.
You can stick to betting with friends of course, but this has its problems too. Betting can easily lead to silly arguments, even when there’s not much money at stake. Do you really want to risk a falling out with people you care about over a bet? We doubt it.
Challenge betting is not our area of expertise. It’s not something we’ve ever been involved with, so we don’t really know a huge amount about it. This form of betting is more for skilled gamers than it is for skilled bettors. The basic idea is that you compete directly against other gamers for an agreed stake. The stakes can be arranged informally, or via a challenge site such as WorldGaming.
Also known as fixed odds esports betting, it’s this type of betting that we mostly focus on in our esports betting guide. It’s the one we recommend you concentrate on too. Why? Well, in our opinion, it’s the easiest way to make money from esports betting. It’s also a lot of fun, and it’s not especially complicated. There’s not a great deal you need to learn to get started.
In fact, if you already know how to bet on traditional sports then you can pretty much get started right away. Fixed odds esports betting is essentially the same as fixed odds sports betting. You’re just placing wagers on the outcome of esports events rather than on the outcome of other sports. That’s literally the only difference.
For a complete guide to this form of betting, please take a look at the following page. We’ve explained everything you need to know in detail, and included some useful tips and advice.
Although we prefer fixed odds esports betting, skin/item betting and fantasy esports are also worth considering. They may not be right for you, but we suggest at least learning how they work. You can then decide if you want to get involved or not. They can definitely be a lot of fun, and they both offer the potential for making money, too. We explain all about them on the following pages.
Please note that there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy ALL of these different types of esports betting. As a beginner, however, it’s probably best to stay focused on just one. You can always move on to the others once you know what you’re doing.
The pages linked above will help you to get started with whichever type of betting you decide to go with. They’re all very different, but they’re all based on esports in one way or another. Therefore, it’s important to have a solid knowledge of esports, regardless of which one you get involved with. So, if you’re only just learning what esports are all about, make sure you visit the following page, too.
Esports Betting FAQ
For the final section of this article, we’re going to answer a few of the esports questions that we get asked on a regular basis. Please take the time to read through this section, as there’s some information here that you really should know.
Is esports betting legal?
There isn’t really a simple answer to this question. Esports betting is still a relatively new form of gambling, and very few regions around the world have passed any relevant legislation.
For the most part, it’s probably safe to work on the assumption than any existing sports betting laws also apply to esports betting. If it’s legal to bet on traditional sports where you live, it’s almost certainly legal to bet on esports.
To expand a little further on this, we should point out that we’re not aware of anywhere where it’s actually against the law to bet on esports. So, even if it’s not explicitly legal in your country, it’s very unlikely that you could get in any trouble for placing an esports wager.
Where can I bet on esports?
This depends on the type of esports betting you’re doing. The options are a little limited for fantasy esports, as this is ONLY available online, and there aren’t that many sites that offer it yet. Out of the major daily fantasy sites, it’s only really DraftKings that has embraced esports.
There are a few other smaller sites that offer fantasy esports, and there’s bound to be more soon. At the moment, however, DraftKings is the only one we officially recommend.
Skin and item betting is only available online, too. There are more options here, but we don’t recommend ANY sites currently. This is simply because there are none that are properly licensed and regulated. There are a few that APPEAR to be legitimate, but we’re not convinced enough to recommend them.
The good news is that there are plenty of options for real money esports betting. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, you can place your wagers legally in bookmaking shops. The casino sportsbooks in Las Vegas accept esports wagers, too ever since esports betting was officially legalized in the state of Nevada.
The more convenient option for most people is to use online betting sites. And there are A LOT of sites that cover esports these days.
For more information on these sites, and some additional recommendations, please see the following page.
Which esports games should I bet on?
The answer to this question depends on how much you know about esports. If you’re already a fan, then you’re surely familiar with at least one of the popular esports games. So, the best approach is to always bet on whichever game(s) you know the most about. This will give you a better chance of making good betting decisions, and therefore, improve your chances of making money.
If you’re new to esports, however, then you may not know much about ANY of the games. In that case, we recommend focusing on the most popular games to start with. You should probably pick just one or two to start with, and the following are the best options:
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
- Counter Strike:
- Starcraft II
Please note that it’s VERY important to properly familiarize yourself with a game before betting on it. You can find details of all the above games, and many more too, on the page listed below.
Will I win money from esports betting?
We’d love to answer this with a resounding “yes.” We can’t, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean the answer is no. The correct answer is that it’s entirely up to you. It’s definitely POSSIBLE to win money, but you’re going to have to put in some serious effort. You can’t expect to simply start betting and watch the profits roll in. There’s a lot you need to learn first, and you have to do a lot of research and analysis as you go along.
We can help you with all this. We’ve provided a ton of useful information and advice throughout our esports betting guide, and this will teach you what you need to know. We’ve also suggested plenty of valuable resources to help with the research and analysis you need to do. If you invest enough time going through this guide, and take our advice, there’s every chance you’ll end up winning money.
Just remember to be patient, as there are no shortcuts to success. Knowledge and experience are what you need to be profitable, and both these things take time.