Sports betting has changed dramatically in the last few years. Ever since bookmakers made the move online there has been a shift in the demographics targeted and the make-up of customer account holders. New laws in a number of countries and regions around the world have expanded the reach yet further.
Technology has played its part too. From online, sportsbooks then moved to mobile apps and have been able to attract even more people with the convenience that affords. There have also been new markets developed. One of those has been the increase in betting on esports. Looking at sites like mytopsportsbooks.com, there are more and more online sports betting sites now offering markets for esports events. Could this be the future of betting?
A Short History
As long as there have been video games, there have been competitions to determine the best players. This may have started informally in the arcades but by the end of the 1970s, their popularity had grown and games companies were putting on extravagant events to advertise their creations.
As connectivity became more of a thing in the 1990s, there was more scope to host online events. This only increased the uptake and the term ‘esports’ was beginning to be used around the turn of the millennium. Although esports events were now a big thing, it wasn’t until 2010 that the first betting markets were offered.
The interest grew steadily until the COVID pandemic, when international sportsbooks, desperate for business with live sports canceled around the world, realized that esports had carried on regardless. Huge marketing campaigns boosted involvement in the events – and in turn the betting on esports. Now it is one of the major growth areas in worldwide gambling.
Where to Bet on Esports
It may be easier to list the places you are unable to bet on esports. The growth in the last few years has been incredible and now it is very rare that an online sportsbook doesn’t offer esports markets alongside the more traditional sports. This whole new market for bookmakers has revolutionized the gambling industry.
Popular esports for bettors include Dota 2, CS:GO, and League of Legends – but there are many more for fans to choose from. Even titles like the FIFA series get a lot of interest from betting companies as it is an ideal game for the crossover between the sports world and the gaming world. In fact, huge amounts of money have been plowed into tournaments and events, where players representing actual football clubs compete. Naturally, you can also bet on the outcomes.
Esports Betting Options
Just like the more traditional sports, bookmakers allow their customers to bet on every aspect of esports. There may be the more popular markets, such as outright winners and individual game winners at events, but there are detailed markets covering every game too.
Traditional sports fans are able to bet in the basic markets and get involved, while gamers who know more about the ins and outs of the games can explore the more complex markets. It is this group that has boosted the popularity of esports betting and prompted the sportsbooks to make them so high profile.
League of Legends is probably the biggest esports title at the moment. With millions of players worldwide, this Riot Games title has seamlessly moved into the betting world and the global events generate millions. The multiplayer gameplay lends itself perfectly to existing betting markets as well as offering more game-specific opportunities.
There are match winner and outright winner markets but bettors can also place wagers on kills of barons, dragons, or towers. With so much interest in the game, League of Legends betting markets can be found just about everywhere. It is recommended that you understand the game before making your selections though – it can be a complex game to play.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is one of the most popular first-person shooter games and is another esport that is almost perfect for betting on. There are huge events that offer millions in prizes and plenty of gamers who are more than happy to bet on their favorite players and teams.
Alongside the big majors, there are also pro leagues that are regularly live streamed, giving even more opportunity for betting to be involved. With CS:GO, there are markets for map betting, knife rounds, and first blood. As with any kind of betting, doing some research before betting real money is always advised.
Figure 2 Gamers now regularly bet on esports as well as play them
Esports Betting Tips
As we have already mentioned, betting on any sport or esport should come after knowing the subject. The markets may seem straightforward enough but there should be some research carried out before parting with real money. Esports is no different and it has to be beneficial if you have a background in playing, or at least watching, the games you are planning to bet on.
Customer account holders may also find that the bigger events offer bigger odds. This is because the sportsbooks are keen to attract as many people as possible placing their bets. You can always practice on the smaller events throughout the year, but you will have more chance of finding out about the big events – and getting tips for specific games.
The Future of Esports Betting
Esports is already a billion dollar industry and it is still growing year by year. The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 saw esports betting become far more popular than before – and there is no way that the sportsbooks will allow that trend to reverse. In fact, there is every sign that the interest will only grow.
With some traditional betting, like horse racing, becoming less profitable, the sportsbooks have identified esports as the next big thing. That means more money invested in events – and, in turn, more money bet on the events.
New technology including VR will provide more options for players and fans and growth in emerging betting markets, such as the US, should make esports – and esports betting – even more popular and profitable in the years ahead.