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Everything you need to know about eSports betting. Laws, odds, risks, reviews and pitfalls.
eSports Betting has grown at a rapid pace during the last ten years, just as eSports itself has. Thanks to innovative streaming products, better internet access and internet speed all over the globe the interest in eSports has grown to be one of the most frequently viewed sports. Sports betting companies saw this development and understood that fans and eSports gamers would like the opportunity to place bets on eSports tournaments and matches played, for a lot of different games.
First out, before 2010 where a couple of small startups that didn't really stick. But in 2010 something unique happened. Pinnacle Sports, one of the world's largest bookmakers, started to cover the Starcraft II series GSL. They offered betting markets on the individual matches and on the groups and tournaments itself. After that the interest grew exponentially, and after a couple of years all the large betting sites were offering eSports odds, together with a bunch of eSports focused betting sites.
The eSports betting market came up so fast and for eSports fans who haven't bet much on regular sports before it can be a lot of information to take in. eSportbetting.eu will help and educate you to understand the fundamentals of eSports betting and betting in general. We also provide several tools that are useful when you are looking to bet on eSports.
Simply put, the legality of eSports betting depends on the country you live in. Generally speaking, eSports betting is legal for those who live in a country where betting is legal, and are above the legal age, usually 18+. We recommend that you research the legal situation in your country before proceeding.
It is also important to know whether you live in a country where online gambling is regulated. For example, if you live in the United Kingdom the betting site that you choose to play with should be carry a UK license and be regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Gambling Commission. This way you know that your funds are secure and that the betting sites follow the laws and regulations set up by the gambling authority.
To discover which markets are strictly regulated, be sure to check out our table of gambling authorities in our FAQ section.
There are some things that you should consider before choosing an eSports betting site. First off is if you're looking for a large reputable bookmaker that offers eSports betting or if you would like to go with a smaller betting site that is fully focused on eSports. We will help you see the pros and cons with both options to help you make a better decision based on your preferences.
The different eSports betting sites also differ in terms of their eSports product. This means that they have a different amount of games and markets. Their odds pricing and bonus offers also differ.
We've summarized the most important aspects that you should consider and fit to your preferences before you choose an eSports betting site. We also rank the eSports sites available based on our own review system, which is based on these crucial fundamentals.
It's crucial that you trust the betting site you go with and that you feel that your funds are safe in your account. Our reviews are partly based on a metric we called security which is based on the companies' reputations, the amount of years they have been in business and the amount of complaints at various complaint services around the internet.
To get the best eSports betting experience it is important that you find a bookmaker that covers your needs. You should be able to find the specific games and markets that you would like to place your bets on. The betting sites differ a lot in this aspect. Some bookmakers have a lot of markets, including special bets like who wins the first round or who draws the first blood etc or outright winner markets which means that you can place bets on which player or team wins a whole tournament, before it has even started.
The bonus offers do not only differ between the different betting sites but also for players from different regions. This is why our reviews and bonus listings are optimized to only show valid sites and bonus offers for players in your country.
It's also crucial to read up on the terms and conditions of the bonus offer, to make sure your expectations are in line with what they offer. Usually, bonus offers come with both wagering requirements and time restrictions. This means that you would have to wager your bonus amount a set amount of times before being able to withdraw them. You would also have to do this within a set time frame.
When we mention how good a betting sites odds are we are talking about the margin that they charge you for using their service. Normally, betting sites take about 8-3% of the bets in commission. This is a hidden fee for the inexperienced bettor but is very important to be aware of. If you place a lot of bets it's more important that the betting site has good odds with low margins instead of a juicy welcome bonus when you sign up.
We have our own review system rate the different eSports betting sites in your country based on these different metrics, updated monthly. To be fully transparent it's important that you are aware that we earn money by referring players to these partners.
The reviews show you a rating based on eSports coverage, site security (in terms of size, age and reputation of the company), bonus-offers and odds (based on the payback offered / margin charged per bet. Read the odds section in our FAQ for further details).
We only show the bookmakers that accept bets from players in the region/country that you're visiting from. That means that if you are playing from a country which requires a licence from a specific governing body like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, UKGC. You will only be shown UK eSports betting sites with a license for the United Kingdom.
The eSports boom opened the doors for new entrepreneurs, creating their own betting companies with a strong focus on eSport. There are many of them and more are popping up every day. It is worth mentioning that they might be a little less secure than the already well-known bookmakers, but they are usually well funded by VC firms which gives you safety as a customer.
Their product offers are usually stronger since they accept bets on most eSports games and have great event and tournament coverage. One of the better eSports focused betting sites is GG bet.
The well-known sportsbooks also noticed the strong interest for eSports-betting and the high audience numbers on twitch and other streaming sites. Some of them have put a lot of effort into building a great service for eSports enthusiasts and accepts bets on a lot of eSports. There are three of the established, well-known and experienced betting companies that stand out when it comes to accepting bets on eSports.
There are two reputable, larger betting sites that really stand out when it comes to eSports betting and have a really good product. These are:
The first one to notice is Betway. They provide an excellent service and accepts bets on a lot of different games and cover most tournaments and events. Everything from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG). In addition to covering a lot of matches, they also provide a live betting product.
They are also committed to giving back to the community which they showed recently by sponsoring the Swedish multi-branch eSport organization Ninjas in Pyjamas (most known for their legacy CS 1.6 team with famous players like Heaton, Potti etc.)
Another giant within the industry that have adapted the eSports scene is Bet365. They are competitive in terms of Odds (they charge margins around 2-3% which is really good and high above the industry standard).
The games played as eSports are growing each day. As long as there are gamers and enthusiasts playing and watching a game it has a potential for betting. The small titles don't get the same event coverage but there are still betting on titles like Rocket League (RL), Street Fighter and Fifa.
When it comes to size three games stand out the most, though, and these are:
CS 1.6 as an eSport have evolved during the years and the latest version that have a large player base and community is CS-GO. With a lot of tournaments like the Majors, DreamHack and MLG Circuit events betting on CS-GO is more fun than ever. Read more at our CS:GO.
Dota 2 is Valves golden goose and an excellent game. The new major structure which removes some of the huge focus on The International and tries to distribute it more even over a serious of Major tournaments as well as a lot of Minor tournaments with the new point system is excellent for the viewers and professional bettors. Read more at our Dota 2.
Riot Games have taken a different path from Valve when it comes to controlling its franchise. Instead of letting entrepreneurs start their own ventures and events, RG wants to control most of the scene and teams themselves.
It's hard to say if it effects the betting popularity for LoL, but it probably does in some way. Anyway, almost all the betting sites accepts LoL bets. Read more at our LoL.
It didn't take long before PUBG got competition in the Battle Royale genre. Fortnite's design might be more cartoon-like but the in-game building mechanics makes a great eSport environment and there will be opportunities to place Fortnite for sure.
PUBG was a great addition to the First Person Shooter eSport scene which have been static for years with Counter-Strike as the sole serious eSport in the genre since Quake went out of favor years ago. The player base exploded quickly and there are now several big tournaments to bet on. Read more at our PUBG.
Blizzard managed to secure their position as one of the strong eSports publishers with a FPS-title that's great. We were worried that their days in the eSports scene was limited when SC II lost its audience base. Overwatch is now one of the most growing games to bet on and it got even more potential now with the new Overwatch League (OWL) franchise system.
Betting on eSports can be done in multiple ways. Both in terms of what you bet with, currency, skins or fantasy coins but also in terms of what kind of market you bet on. The different types of eSports wagers are explained further below:
This is the traditional way of betting. Deposit real money and cash out real money. Usually by placing bets on either 12 / 1x2 or Outright bets (to-win a tournament etc), or special bets like who wins the first round or who draws the first blood. When we speak about real money betting, we also count cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum or lite coin. If you want to bet with coins you should check out our Nitrogen eSports review, they are the best in the business.
Skin betting grew very popular with the skin betting companies like CSGO Lounge, CS-GO Jackpot and other Skin betting sites. A cool thing about skin gambling is that there are slot games for CS:GO. However, there have been a lot of controversy and scandals regarding some of these sites though, since they weren't well regulated. So if you want to play slots online you are better off sticking to the real stuff.
Recently a new form of skin betting option has made its entrance into the betting community. It's called SkinPay and allows you as a customer to deposit skins into your player account instead of real money. Actually, the skins are converted to real money by a bot (if you accept the trade it proposes).
Live betting on eSports has been a dream for many enthusiasts for years. About three years ago the dream became reality. Many of the eSports focused bookmakers and some of the large betting sites now offer live-betting on games like CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends. This allows you to place your bets while watching the game live at the arena (with your mobile phone) or at home from your gaming stations while following the game at twitch!
Fantasy contests have similarities to a poker tournament. You pay an entry fee to join a contest with a specific payout scheme for the total prize pool. This type of betting made its entrance in the US market to bypass the very restricting gambling rules that applied to the United States and its Territories. It started with companies like Alphadraft (a part of FanDuel), Vulcun and DraftKings but most of the services were shut down in an early stage. DraftKings still exists and are up and running though, but they only have fantasy betting for LoL.
Promotions and bonuses can take several different forms. The most usual ones are welcome or deposit bonuses, which you can claim when you sign up a betting site and make your first deposit.
The betting companies usually have deposit bonuses if you are a new customer. By signing up for an account with the betting site through eSportbetting.eu and depositing money you will get the best available deposit bonus from that company for your region. Make sure to read the terms and conditions and put extra focus on what it takes for you to be able to cash out the bonus amount, usually stated in Turnover requirements and how much time you will have to meet these conditions.
No-deposit bonuses are not very common in the eSport market but are a huge thing in the casino market. The fundamentals behind these kinds of promotions is that you share your contact information with the betting site when you sign up and in return you get a small amount of bonus cash that you can play for, without making any deposit.
Some betting sites also offer loyalty programs or “regular bonuses” that you can claim as an already active customer. These bonuses are often limited by some kind of requirement on you as a customer. The loyalty programmes are often divided into different levels which means that the more you play the more and better rewards you will get.
Almost all promotions or bonuses come with conditions that you have to meet to be able to fully access your bonus. One of the most common requirements is the turnover requirement or wager requirement. It basically means that you have to wager the bonus amount a set amount of times (by placing bets on eSport matches or other games like regular sports games, casino or poker). When you've wager this sum enough times the bonus money amount turns into real money and is now available to cash-out to your bank account by your preferred withdrawal option.
Odds are the prices that you get by placing money or skins on a match or event. Remember, they are the price, not the actual probability. Often, the odds are well priced and reflect the probability in an accurate way. When they aren't, there's an opportunity to find value and place winning bets.
The odds-format differs a bit from region to region. You can read more about the different formats below:
European odds are called decimal odds which tells you what you will get back placing a bet (including your own money).
United Kingdom use fractional odds, which looks a bit different and only show you what profit you will make with your bet.
United States odds are called lines and are either positive or negative. Positive lines / numbers indicate how much profit you make if you bet $100. Negative Numbers indicates how much you must bet to make a $100 profit.
The legal situations in the different countries are not always crystal clear. Sometimes the situations are complex and there are a lot of different governing bodies, covering different regions and countries. In countries where gambling is legal but not strictly regulated by the countries own gambling authority licences from one of the following gambling authorities is usually enough.
In other countries, where gambling is legal, but strictly regulated by the country's own gambling authority the betting sites need to have a licence from that specific governing body. Below are some of the strictly regulated markets and their regulators:
This depends on what country you live in. Generally speaking, with the regulation trend seen in many countries today, the world is moving towards taxing the operators, or gambling companies instead of the players themselves. This means that the winnings of a player is tax free in a lot of countries. However, this might not be the case for you. Instead of stating inaccurate information we'd recommend you to research the situation in your country. There are a lot of good resources online and if you're still not sure after a couple of google searches we recommend you to contact your tax authority to find out what's applicable in your situation.
If you feel that the betting has a negative impact on your life situation, affecting your relationships or economy you should seek help with the appropriate organisation. There are several good organisations for this depending on what country you live in. For example , the United Kingdom have these two good organisations:
If you live in another country, we recommend you to search for the appropriate help organisation.
It's also worth mentioning that you can request to self-exclude yourself for a period of time or permanently from different betting sites and casinos. In some countries this works better than in others. In some regulated markets you can request to self-exclude yourself from all brands at once which is really good if you've discovered that you have a gambling problem.
We provide a guide which basic concepts of sports betting terms, strategies and concepts that you need to be aware of if you want to try to become a professional eSport-bettor.
In addition to this we have specific betting guides for each sport (we don't cover all games yet as we simply don't know each game professionally). But those that exist are a great read if you want to improve your gambling results.
It's important to check what margins a bookmaker charge on a match or sport event. The margin is the cost that the bookmaker charges you for their service. Say they offer odds on a heads-up match (2 players or teams facing each other with no draw outcome) at 1.95 and 1.95. If they where paying back all money they would pay 2.0 and 2.0, but they never do that since they are a company that have costs and expects to make a profit).
At 1.95 vs 1.95 the bookmaker margin is 2.56% (which is low) and the payout of each $100 is $97,44. The industry standard for eSports odds are lower however, which means the companies usually more than ~3%.
To calculate what margins or payouts a betting site charges or offers, please use our odds calculators. It also works good for 1X2-matches and outright-events (a team to win a tournament of 8 teams etc.).
Different betting sites uses different odds-formats. They usually offer a functionality for you to choose which format you want as your standard but sometimes they do not have this service. In those cases, you can use our odds tools. which can translate odds from and to the following three formats: European Decimal Odds, American Odds Lines and United Kingdom's Fractional Odds.
When betting professionally it's important to bet with different betting sites so you always get the best odds available for the match that you've researched. You can do this by using an odds comparison service. Ours is in development and will have a lot of nice features, be sure to sign up to get noticed by mail when it's done.