Gaming has come a long way since 4-way Goldeneye multiplayer and a few pizzas at your friend’s house; it’s business now. Big business. In the last few years esports betting has taken off. With bigger contests, more professional teams and massive prize money at stake, online casinos have taken notice of this worldwide sensation and have started offering gambling on esports at their casinos.
If you’re a gaming whizz, but have no idea how to bet on esports, or a gambling pro wanting to get into the esports market, it probably seems a little daunting. Fear not; this in-depth guide is designed to give you everything you need to make a start in the world of esports gambling today – which games are offered, how to read odds, how to place bets and how to deal with the banking side of things. So have a browse and unleash your inner Samurai today!
ESports Betting How To Guide 2017
This guide will give you everything you need to know about betting on esports online.
- What Are Esports?
- How To Bet On Esports
- Most Popular Esports Games
- CoD, Halo, Battlefield
- Best Esports Teams 2017
- Biggest Esports Tournaments
- Esports Betting Types
- How To Choose An Esports Casino
- Best Esports Casinos 2017
- Promotions And Bonuses
- How To Read Esports Betting Odds
- How To Deposit At Esports Casinos
- Esports Regulation
- What’s The Future Of Esports?
What Are Esports?
To put it as simply as possible, esports are competitive video games. People have been gaming against their friends at home or online for years, but in the last ten years or so, gaming has become more professional, more competitive and more serious. There are now professional teams playing in global tournaments, in huge stadiums to millions of spectators, both in person and online. There are also multi-million dollar prize funds for the biggest tournaments. Esports are becoming more popular by the day and with major corporations and sports teams sponsoring the best players, it’s only going to get bigger!
How To Place A Bet On Esports
Betting on esports has emerged in the last few years as one of the hottest new trends in online gambling. It works in exactly the same way as ordinary sports betting – football betting is the best example.
When you access your online casino’s esports section, you’ll see a list of upcoming matches called the coupon. Each game will give two prices – the player one price and the player two price. For more on understanding odds, see our guide to understanding odds below. Simply choose which player or team you think will win and the bet slip will appear.
- Here, I have chosen two teams that I think will win in a couple of upcoming matches. I have two choices, I can either bet on a single or a double.
- A single is just one match. If I bet £10 on Ryung, I’d only receive the 7/2 odds offered for that game. If I won, I’d win £35 and get my £45 stake back. Simple.
- Doubles, Triples and other accumulators are a bit more complex. Basically, if you choose a double, you need both of your predictions to be correct or you won’t win. It’s a greater risk, so the odds are multiplied, meaning that you can win more with lower stakes.
- You can keep adding games to the betslip and a list of possible combinations will appear under ‘betting options.’ Choose the one you’d like and your potential returns will be calculated at the bottom. It really is as easy as that!
What Are The Most Popular Esports Games?
There are dozens of games which are played at professional and semi pro tournaments around the world. As a rule, though, esports casinos offer odds on the following games, which we call The Big Four. The Big Four without doubt have the biggest tournaments and the tastiest prize pots:
Defense of the Ancients 2 or Dota 2 is the biggest name in esports right now, with tournament prize funds coming in at over $20 million. Valve’s 2013 monster is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, and requires players to work together to move through the three-lane map, destroying creatures and towers and levelling up on the way. The overall aim is to destroy their enemy’s ancient or base. The game has endless depth and players are constantly learning new strategies and tips to improve their gameplay. Dota’s tournaments are crowdfunded by its passionate fanbase. This has allowed it to amass the amazing prize funds and take it to a whole new level of esports professionalism.
League of Legends
League of Legends is another major Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game, released in 2009 by Riot Games. As a free to play game, it quickly amassed a ridiculous following, with an estimated 27 million daily players by 2014. Players begin by choosing one of a list of champions and need to work with their team mates to destroy their enemy’s base or nexus. They then choose one of three lanes and advance towards the enemy nexus, accumulating experience points for killing creatures on the way. The climax is a battle between the champions themselves. LoL can look like a mess of colours and noise when you first look at it, but trust us – it gets easier with time.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike Global Offensive or CS:GO is a 2012 first person shooter from the beloved Valve company. By far the easiest of the big four to wrap your head around, CS:GO revolves around battles between terrorists and counter-terrorists. In defuse modes, terrorists start with a bomb and try to detonate it in set areas while the CTs defend. In hostage rescue modes, CTs try to rescue and return hostages while the terrorists defend. It’s that simple. Most competitive games are played in defuse modes and teams win by achieving their objective or by killing all the players on an opposing team. Each player only has one life per round, encouraging teamwork and strategic play rather than an all out melee.
Starcraft was one of the first franchises to really push what multiplayer gaming could achieve. In South Korea particularly, Starcraft and its Brood War expansion pack became a religion, with people playing them so much that they actually dropped dead. The games also began to be viewed as spectator sports, so it was no surprise that the release of Starcraft II in 2010 took the game to the next level. In Blizzard’s Real Time Strategy masterpiece, players choose one of three races (Terran, Protoss or Zerg) and aim to destroy all of their opponent’s structures. The game combines incredible levels of resource management, unit control and rapid-decision making to create a true thinking man’s esport.
The Halo, Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises are some of the biggest names in world gaming and have millions of people playing them every day. It’s strange then, that they don’t feature in the world of competitive esports in the same way that the big four do. Sure, they have annual world championships with decent prizes, but they lack the regular paying tournaments of other esports. Why? Here are our views:
- There are too many games – As we know, major studios these days churn out AAA titles on an annual basis. This is not conducive to good esports titles, however. Major esports require a level of skill which requires years of dedicated play – most Halo, CoD and other major FPS players tend to discard the old game as soon as the new one comes out. As a result you just don’t get the same level of expertise that you do in a game like CS:GO.
- Focus on the casual market – Casual players make up a much bigger share of the market than competitive gamers, so it’s understandable that the games are made to reflect that. This causes problems for serious play. Halo, for example, used to boast an even playing field with a universal starting weapon set and new weapons in set positions on the map. That’s now changed; players can customize their weapon selection before play and weapon drops occur on random. Moves like this distract from core play and prevent it being taken seriously as an esport.
- Segregated Audiences – The major esports have one thing in common – they’re PC games. One of the major problems that big titles like these face is that their fans are split between the consoles – Playstation and Xbox. As a result, the communities don’t build up enough of a unified scene to lead into a viable competitive esport community.
So basically, they’re too easy and too lightweight. Esports tend to work best with a high level of complexity, a dedicated and skilled player base and a unified audience. Sadly big franchises like CoD, Halo and Battlefield just can’t cut it.
What Are The Best Esports Teams in 2017?
If you’re planning to bet on esports, you’ll need to learn about the biggest names in the game, as they’ll pop up again and again. As in most sports betting, understanding the teams, their form and their style will help you gain an advantage when betting on esports. We’ve compiled a list of the top teams in each of the big four games. As the rankings change all the time, we’re not going on recent form, but rather by reputation. We’ve dropped in links to official websites where possible, but when the primary site is in another language, we’ve used the best English language page.
Best CSGO Teams
Best Dota2 Teams
Best LoL Teams
Best Starcraft 2 Players
What Are The Biggest Esports Tournaments?
There are literally tens of thousands of esports tournaments spanning almost every major competitive game you can imagine. Here are some of the major tournaments that you should be looking at if you’re considering betting on esports tournaments:
Biggest Dota 2 Tournaments
- The International – The biggest prize in esports, organised by Valve annually.
- Asian Championship – As it says on the tin. Huge jackpots and the best teams.
- Hamburg 2017 – The biggest tournament in Europe, organised by ESL.
- WESG – Major cross-game tournament held annually.
Biggest League of Legends Tournaments
- League of Legends World Championships – The big one.
- League Of Legends Championship Series – 10 team league. EU and N. America.
- Intel Extreme Masters – ESL organised. International league.
Biggest CS:GO Tournaments
- ESL One Cologne – The biggest CSGO tournament in the world.
- WESG – Major cross-game tournament.
- Eleague Major – $1 million prize fund major.
- MLG Major Championships – Not yet confirmed for 2017.
Biggest Starcraft II Tournaments
- World Championship Series (WCS) Global League ending with the global finals.
- Global Starcraft League (GSL) Korea based major Starcraft league.
- Starcraft 2 StarLeague (SSL) The other big Korean Starcraft league.
What Ways Can You Bet On Esports?
- Match Winner – This is the most popular kind of bet offered. You bet on the outcome of a single match. Research the two teams, click the odds to add it to your betslip and make your wager.
- Tournament Winner – This is obviously offered for major tournaments, like The International and ESL One. You’re given a list of competing teams before the competition starts. Read up on them, check their form, then back the winner.
- In-Play – This is the least offered form of betting, but a few companies such as Pinnacle have started to offer it. In-play is offered on Starcraft, LoL and Dota2, and allows you to bet on incidents happening within the game while it occurs. This can range from first turret and first blood lines to simply betting on individual maps during a whole game.
How Do I Choose An Esports Casino?
Casinos generally offer the same tournaments and similar odds. The only important factor in choosing a casino is the safety of your money and personal information. Don’t use small unknown websites to bet on anything. When looking for any online casino, you should be looking for:
- Reputation – Most of our recommended sites have a national reputation from years of reliable service in the more traditional bookmaking fields. It’s always a good idea for new players to begin with a company they know before they move onto specialised sites later.
- Customer Reviews – Looking at other players’ experiences before you choose a casino is a great way to get a feel for the user experience. A simple google search will set you on the right lines and help you to choose the best fit for you.
- UKGC or other nationally recognized gambling license – in most countries, companies need to be licensed by an official regulatory body to offer gaming services. In the UK, that’s the Gambling Commission or UKGC. When entering a new site, check their credentials in the small print sections of their website.
What Are The Best Esports Casinos?
You can always check our casino reviews page for in-depth information about leading esports esportsbooks, but here are our five top esports casinos.
- Pinnacle – Pinnacle were the first major company to offer odds on esports and as such offer the best package on the market. Live betting, great odds and a great selection of backable matches A great company to start your book with.
- Unikrn – By gamers, for gamers. Unikrn is a really interesting site and the only company to focus solely on esport betting. While they lack deposit bonuses, they create their own expert odds and offer a wider range of betting options. Definitely one for more informed players.
- Betway Esports – Betway are a major player in the online casino market, but they add a little more value than their big names rivals. Along with a good selection of matches and tournaments, Betway set themselves apart with their use of live in-play esports betting. Keep up the good work, guys!
- PaddyPower – A major name in gambling both online and in the real world. Paddypower offer a decent selection of esports and cover all the major tournament. They also have a £30 free bets deal when you deposit a tenner.
- Bet365 – One of the most respected bookmakers in the UK. Bet365 have recently started offering odds on esports. They’re not especially imaginative, but a £50 free bet and an excellent reputation make them a solid option for new esports gamblers.
What Are Casino Promotions And Casino Bonuses?
Casino promotions are gifts that betting sites give to new players to encourage new business. It’s never a bad idea to ‘play the bonuses’ – use up a bonus with one site and jump over to a different one for a new promotion. Esports bonuses usually come in the following forms:
- Deposit Match – By far the most popular type of bonus offered by casinos. When you deposit £10, casinos will often match this initial price, giving you £20 to bet with.
- Free Bet – Similar to a deposit match, but the fee has to be spent on just one bet, so choose wisely!
- VIP Clubs – Regular players will often receive small regular bonuses from casinos, such as free bets or opportunities to try other products at the casinos.
How To Read Esports Betting Odds
Esports betting odds in the UK work in the same way as they do for football, horse racing or any other major sportsbook offering – they’re presented as fractional odds. Esports are really simple, because there are only ever two teams and there are no draws to worry about. Fractional odds work like this:
- Here we have the odds offered on two matches. Let’s just look at the first match to begin with.
- MVP are at 11/8. That means that for every £8 you bet, you’ll receive £11 back.
- LongZhu are at 8/15. That means that for every £15 you bet, you’ll only get £8 back.
- This means that LongZhu are more likely to win the game. They’re the favourites, so you get less money for betting on them.
- There’s a simple calculation we can use with fractional odds to understand the probability behind the bets we make. If we change our fractional odd from 4/1 to A/B, we can make the equation Probability = B/(A+B).
- Let’s try it with these games. MVP = 11/8. Our calculation would be 8 ÷ (8+11) = 0.42. There’s a 42% chance that MVP will win. LongZhu = 8/15. 15÷(8+15) = 0.65. There’s a 65% chance that LongZhu will win. They are the favourite.
How To Deposit At Esports Casinos
Esports casinos allow you to deposit in a number of ways, but check our individual casino guides to find out which casinos accept which depositing method.
- Debit/Credit card – Universally accepted. This is the depositing method that 99% of you will use. Simply input your bank card details when asked to deposit and get playing.
- PayPal – PayPal was in the wilderness with the casinos for a few years, but it’s come back with a bang. Accepted quite widely at major casinos, very easy to use and protects your precious card details from other websites.
- Ewallets – Ewallets serve the same function as PayPal. The main players are Skrill and Neteller. Both reliable companies; they protect your details, allow quick money transfers and have a long history with the gaming industry.For more info on the best ewallet for you, check out a handy guide to the best ewallets for online betting from our friends at Big Win Slots.
- Paysafecard – Paysafecard works a little bit like an ewallet, but you can buy it with cash, usually at your local corner shop. You scratch the card to reveal the number and input it to get your credit. The advantage is that you can pay for it wish good ol’ fashioned cash, meaning no detail sharing at all.
- Bank Transfer – You are more than welcome to deposit via a direct bank transfer, but it’s a time consuming process and we wouldn’t really advise it.
- Bitcoin – A few slots casinos will take Bitcoin, but esports bitcoin depositing isn’t a thing yet, possibly due to the instability of the currency. Watch this space, anything could happen.
Obviously esports takes place globally, and the gambling markets reflect that. As a result, you can only legally bet on esports using an esportsbook if your country allows it. The biggest question is whether the tournaments and matches you bet on are fair and legal. The good news is that our top casinos only offer odds on tournaments hosted by legitimate organisations, such as ESL, Intel and Valve. These groups enforce strict rules on their players, allowing peace of mind for betters and casinos alike.
What’s The Future Of Betting On Esports?
The good news is that esports and esports betting is here to stay. As the quality of competition is increasing every year and regulations in the games are getting stricter and more professional, increasing numbers of casinos are offering odds on the big pro gaming events. GamesIndustry estimate the size of the market currently at over $890 million and that number is only looking to rise with major increases in spectator numbers forecast over the next few years.
There are also hot new games to keep an eye on. Overwatch and Rocket League have been building dedicated fanbases over the last couple of years, and the smart money says that they have the highest chance of joining the big four in terms of tournament size and prize money offered. It’s an exciting time to be involved in esports!