What Is Esports Betting?

David Bagshaw

28 May 2018

Updated: 24 Apr 2023

Even though it is still relatively new, esports gambling has gained immense popularity over the last few years. In terms of numbers, the esports betting industry is expected to hit $1.5 billion by 2020. Bearing in mind that the esports gambling industry still has a limited fanbase compared to that of physical sports, this is a big number indeed. In fact, it is common for people outside of the esports betting circles not to have any idea what esports gambling is.

What Is Esports Betting?

The abbreviated term esports is used instead of electronic sports and denotes competitive video gaming. Surely, people playing video games and competing with each other is not news for you, as it has been happening ever since the first gaming consoles were released. Nevertheless, it has only recently attracted the attention of gamblers.

Esports gambling is a huge business. As you may know, video gaming is competitive in itself, but when there are professionals (and money) involved, things can get pretty serious. Nowadays people can choose from hundreds of esports and casino betting apps and gamble on the go.

Interestingly, esports attract huge masses of live audiences. For example, the finale of 2017 World Championship (Intel Extreme Masters), which took place in Katowice, Poland attracted 173,000 live audience – that is about 100,000 more than the number attendees of last year’s Superbowl. But that is not all: millions of fans all around the globe watch esports tournaments via live streaming platforms such as Fans like to bet on CSGO, Dota 2, League of Legends and a range of other professional events.

Esports Genres

There are five key areas that compose the bulk of video games we call esports.

  • First-person shooters (FPS): Named after the first-person view players get while they play, these are combat games which can be contested by teams or individuals. Some of the most popular FPS games are: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, HALO, and Call of Duty.
  • Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA): These are team-based battle games which put two teams in opposition. Some of the most popular MOBA games in terms of event attendance and prizes are League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2.
  • Sports simulation / recreation: in this genre games vary: there are games which recreate physical sports (such as FIFA and NBA2K), as well as games which incorporate elements of physical sports, a popular example of which is Rocket League.
  • Fighting games: a classic genre in video games, fighting games include all games centered around virtual combat. Among the most popular examples of such games are Street Fighter, Smash Brothers, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken.
  • Casual games: this is a so-called catchall genre. Casual gaming covers games in which matches usually end quickly. Another feature of casual games is that they are easier to play. Unlike the games described above, players do not need as much experience to engage in casual games. Popular casual games are Clash Royale and Hearthstone.

How Esports Gambling Works

Not unlike physical sports gambling, esports betting allows gamblers to bet on a team of players or on individual players who they think will with a particular tournament or match. However, as there is a wide variety of esports games, there are also various betting options as well. Nevertheless, betting opportunities for players who are not as familiar with esports games are available as well. Currently, the simplest wagering option in esports gambling is betting on an overall winner, which raises a question over the addictive qualities of esports gambling.

Types of esports bets

1. Betting Outrights
As you can guess by the name, these are bets gamblers place before a competition or an event has started. The most popular bet in this category is one for outright winner of the competition or event, but there are also bets determining which players will continue to the next stage of an event. Lastly, some people place bets on which teams will be eliminated before a certain stage starts.

2. Match Winner
A pretty clear bet, this is the type of bet gamblers place when they want to pick the winner of a given match. The odds here may be fixes, which means that they are determined by an odds complier a few days before the match starts, or they could depend on how many bets are placed on the participants. For example, if most bets are placed on one of the teams, then odds might be equal to one.

3. Totals
Here, gamblers bet on how many of a given thing will be played out in the course of a game. In other words, this type of bet concerns a specific stat. Most commonly, people bet on total maps played, total kills, total rounds, or total points. Betting on totals has nothing to do with the outcome of a match or event, it is simply concerned with the total stats played in a game.

Esports And Matched Betting

So you're probably thinking, how does this affect matched betting? Can I use matched betting with esports offers? In short...probably not. There aren't many exchanges that support esports, so there aren't many opportunities to lay off the bets. Betfair do have limited markets, so its not completely out of the questions, but the markets (and liquidity) and very limited so its tricky.

Hopefully as esports gets bigger, more bookmakers will feature offers on esports and exchanges will follow by offering the appropriate lay markets.

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