The eSports betting industry is witnessing a remarkable growth. Research firms indicate that in 2015, bettors bet $350 million on the eSports market and they predict that eSports market is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
There are projections that the eSports betting market will exceed $20 billion by 2020 with more than 19.4 million individuals betting.
This includes betting through sportsbooks, fantasy sports and wagering of game related content. Data also indicates that Asia accounts for 61% of all wages placed, followed by the United States at 23%, Europe at 12% and the Rest of the World at 4%.
The exponential growth and popularity of the eSports industry has brought in a new market segment of young gamers who have a lot of questions and uncertainty about the global eSports industry. Some of the most common questions and answers are listed below.
What are the different ways to bet on eSports?
There are multiple ways through which you can bet on eSports games. The main categories are:
- Traditional sportsbook betting: These sportsbooks have been around for a long time and have a strong market reputation. Bettors prefer traditional sportsbooks as they feel secure that their money will be safe with the bookmaker and the bookmaker will honour their commitments. The flip side is that the number of eSport titles covered by traditional sportsbooks is mostly limited to the popular eSports games and the variety in bets offered is limited.
- eSportsbooks: eSportbooks are specific betting sites that cater primarily to the eSports industry and as a result the variety of games covered and bets offered for these eSports games is much more than what traditional sportsbooks offer. The flip side is that these companies are new and do not have the market reputation that traditional sportsbooks have.
- Fantasy Sports: Is extremely popular in the United States where access to traditional sportsbooks is limited due to strict gambling laws. These daily fantasy sports (DFS) websites have started offering eSports betting but have a limited number of options. However the DFS industry in the U.S is now a dark place as a number of states have gone after DFS operators on the basis that they offer DFS games which are similar to casino games and hence must have a gambling license to function. Hence the clarity on eSports games offered by these DFS operators is shrouded in confusion and until more clarity is provided, it might be better for bettors to stay away from DFS providers.
- Lounge Betting: There are now a number of sites that allow bets on in-game content. There is little jurisdiction pertaining to such betting. Items that bettors win can be redeemed in certain marketplaces for actual money.
- Social Betting: This occurs between friends or a group largely through word of mouth, and can also involve competition amongst the friends.
What should I look for in eSports betting bookmakers?
If you are interested in betting on eSports, then the first step is to find the correct sportsbook whose features and facilities appeal to you. Some of the aspects you can look for when selecting a sportsbook is:
- Whether the sportsbook is trustworthy and will your money be safe?
- Does the sportsbook cover the eSports games you are interested in betting on?
- Does the sportsbook offer variety in bets offered?
- Are the odds satisfactory?
- What promotional offers can I avail?
- What are the fees involved in using the betting site?
Is it Legal to Bet on eSports?
Legality on betting in eSports varies from country to country. In some countries the gaming commission regulates the betting industry strictly. In others, there is ambiguity in the countries laws towards betting. Then there are countries where gambling is prohibited and bettors are advised to refrain from gambling on underground websites as it can expose them to numerous risks.
Who regulates eSports betting?
There is no single global body involved in regulating eSports betting as of now. It is likely that in the future there might be one. It will be in the best interest of the eSports industry since match fixing is turning out to be a growing concern for all forms of eSports as matches are usually fixed to aid bettors in winning.
How old do I have to be to bet on eSports?
There is no age limit defined as of now for eSports betting. Gambling age limit varies from country to country. Bettors should determine their respective country’s law on the minimum age required to gamble. Sportsbook also set a minimum age policy which might in some cases be above the local minimum age. They also ensure strict verification of age limits to prevent underage betting.
How do I know matches are fair and on the level?
This is a very tough question to answer and there is no right answer. The eSport industry is already facing challenges and issues like players losing matches to aid team mates to advance and reports of match fixing has also been on the rise. The industry is taking steps to ensure that matches are played fairly and concerns over match fixing get addressed. Governing councils and organizations whose mission is to maintain integrity and honesty in the sport are being established. Traditional sportsbooks have the experience to determine whether matches have been fixed, by analysing betting trends, and are actively involved in preventing such activities.
How do you deposit bets on eSports?
Online payment solutions like PayPal, Neteller and Skrill are the fastest way to deposit money into your sportsbook account. Another way to deposit money is through credit and debit cards. Traditional bank transfer and cheques are also accepted, though these take time to clear. Lastly, for those companies that have brick and mortar outlets, depositing cash through these outlets is also an option.
Is my personal and financial information safe on eSports betting websites?
Sportsbooks make data safety a priority and have invested heavily into security and privacy features to ensure that all information shared with the company is encrypted before being transferred to the company servers. Bettors should take the time to read the company’s policy on protecting player information.
Can I bet on eSports games via my smartphone?
Most sportsbooks have developed mobile betting apps and made their websites mobile friendly. These mobile betting apps have options for eSports betting and have a number of great features that give bettors the options to place live bets, stream live matches, access live chat features for customer support, access their user account information and make easy deposit and withdrawal options via the mobile betting app. The sports betting website will usually provide information on the name of their mobile app and confirm on whether it is available on android and iOS platforms.
Top Websites Offering eSports Games
Some of the companies offering eSports betting are:
Bet365: Offers betting on League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm.
Betway: Offers betting on Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm
William Hill: Offers betting on Call of Duty, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends and StarCraft 2
Ladbrokes: Offers betting on Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft 2 and Vainglory.
Pinnacle Sports: Offers betting on StarCraft 2, Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
How to find the best bonuses and promotions for eSports betting?
Sportsbook continue to offer a number of promotional deals and bonuses from time to time. These generally target small and medium stake bettors. Most of these sportsbook offer a sign-up bonus to new customers which are generally equal to the amount of their first deposit, subject to a maximum. Other deals are offered from time to time but they come with strict terms and conditions. It is advised that users read the terms and conditions related to these offers carefully.
How Do I Become a professional eSports Gamer?
There has been an increase in professional eSports gamers as more gamers begin to realize that can make a living by being a professional eSports gamer. Turning pro requires a commitment to put in long hours, study hard and be willing to take defeat in your stride.
What is the difference between eSports and Daily Fantasy Sports?
The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry has also witnessed an explosion of growth especially in the United States but has run into trouble as a number of state regulators have termed DFS games as gambling and have pushed for the industry to be regulated as they believe DFS games are based on chance. eSports games however have not faced any such issues as of now as the games are based on skill and practice. However eSports companies will do well to invest in highlighting the difference between eSports games and put in regulations to ensure that they do not face a similar fate as DFS providers.
Social Media Fuelling Growth of eSports
Social media platforms such as Twitch.tv, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have played a major role in promoting eSports games and expanding both player and viewership across the globe. These social media platforms have had a direct role in influencing the growth of the industry, bringing in more sponsors, adding more prize money and giving eSports players more global recognition and fame.
Rise of Women Gamers in eSports
The eSports industry has been mostly dominated by male gamers but during the past few years has seen a rise of women gamers as eSports companies have taken upon themselves the initiative of sponsoring and promoting more eSports women gamers. Female eSports gamers have also decided to form groups amongst themselves to strategize promote and advance women gamers in the eSports industry.