The competitive eSports industry has been booming, quickly gaining traction over the last 10 years. In addition to eSports tournaments, a new gaming event occurred — eSport betting.
In this article, we’ll discuss some interesting eSport facts, history and understand how the eSports gambling scene has evolved. Most importantly, we’ll introduce our pick of top video games you can bet on, highlighting their eSport tournaments and gambling markets.
This info will help you get a better idea about the betting markets in this fairly new area of gambling so you, too, can bet on video games and enjoy the excitement of eSport tournaments like a true punter.
Quick eSports Facts
Here are some interesting eSports events that have led to the emergence of eSports online gambling and eSports gambling apps we see today. Without these milestones in eSport history, there would be no eSports, hence no eSports gambling of any kind.
The first-ever video game competition happened at Stanford University on October 19, 1972.
Students played a space combat game called ‘Spacewar!’ The winner, Bruce Baumgart, received a one-year subscription to The Rolling Stone magazine.
The first major eSports tournament, Space Invaders Championships, was held by Atari in 1980.
Over 10,000 players competed against each other in Space Invaders to win a version of Asteroids.
The Red Annihilation in May 1997 is considered the first true eSports competition.
Over 2,000 participants entered the one-on-one Quake competition online. The top 16 players competed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which was covered by television and newspapers. Most spectators watched the final tournament online via in-game cameras.
Dennis “Thresh” Fong won the competition and received the grand prize, a Ferrari 328 GTS, previously owned by John D. Carmack, an id software programmer.
In the early days of eSports, skins betting was the only form of eSports gambling.
In the 2000s, there were fewer tournaments and nominal prizes. The only form of eSports online betting was skin betting, which was accessible only for a limited number of games. Digital in-game items had some real-world demand and subsequent monetary value.
There were no eSports gambling apps or trusted gambling websites — only unregulated third-party skins betting platforms, which eventually got banned.
However, today, there are plenty of legal methods of eSports gambling in the UK and worldwide. Punters are only an app download or a website sign-up away from gaining access and betting on eSports.
With so many video games you can bet on, it can become challenging to choose one, which is why we’ve come up with a list of top video games for you.
Our Pick for Top Video Games You Can Bet On
Here is our pick for top video games to bet on. We will discuss their eSport tournaments and betting markets, adding some relevant gambling websites for you.
DOTA 2 is a famous multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game by Valve released in July 2013. The game is a stand-alone sequel to the Defence of The Ancients (DOTA), which was a community-created map on Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. It involves two teams of five players strategically battling to destroy each other’s Ancient Structures in their respective strongholds.
DOTA 2 is the biggest game in eSports tournaments. In recent years, its prize pool for The International (TI) tournament went over $30 million. The prize pool for the TI 2021 is estimated to be over $40 million, especially due to a one-year gap caused by the pandemic. Generally speaking, there are other million-dollar DOTA 2 eSports events taking place all the time, even if they are not as big as TI.
The DOTA 2 video game gambling market is one of the biggest in eSports, with punters from around the world. Being one of the most popular eSport games, many bookies offer a range of pre-match and in-play betting options. Some of the best DOTA 2 eSport betting takes place on websites like arcanebet, bet365, and dota2lounge, which offer good odds.
The competitive gameplay and large volume of bettors make the DOTA 2 betting markets an exciting and moving space with loads of winning potential.
StarCraft 2 is one of the best real-time strategy games, with an exciting and moving story released by Blizzard Entertainment in July 2010. It is a highly competitive game and quite unforgiving for casual gamers. StarCraft 2 features a one-on-one affair, which means punters can bet on their favourite players.
It was initially popular in Korea. But over the years, the player base for StarCraft 2 has expanded, with tournaments taking place all over the world. The first StarCraft 2 World Championship Series was held in 2012, including national and continental championships. The finals were played alongside the World of Warcraft finals in Shanghai.
StarCraft 2 World Championship Series, the Global StarCraft 2 League, and other major events are wildly popular among punters and gamers alike. Most StarCraft 2 eSport tournaments take place in Korea because of their larger following.
You can find StarCraft 2 betting markets with good odds on online video game betting sites like gg.bet, eSportbet.com, and sickodds.com. The StarCraft 2 betting market is an excellent choice for punters who are aware of the Korean StarCraft 2 space and know their players well.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO, is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series from Valve. It is a multiplayer first-person shooter released in August 2012 after over two years of development. Counter-Strike had a long-standing history in eSports since its first version came out in 1999.
It is one of the biggest names in eSports history and one of the most popular first-person shooter games. Hence, CS-GO is no stranger to eSports, especially since it was developed by Valve specifically for eSports purposes.
The first prominent CS-GO eSport event, CS-GO Major, took place at DreamHack in Sweden in 2013, shortly after the game’s release. The main CS-GO eSport tournament is the CS-GO Major Championships, where the top teams compete for millions of dollars. In 2020 alone, the estimated prize for CS-GO tournaments stood at over $15 million, becoming the highest cumulative prize pool for an online game that year.
CS-GO has always been a top game for eSport tournaments and video game gambling. All major eSport betting websites and video game betting apps regularly offer CS-GO markets with competitive odds because they know how large the CS-GO betting market is. You can find good odds on several websites, including csgolounge.com, unibet.co.uk, and many more. You can bet on match winners, tournament winners, finalists, and even round winners.
League of Legends
League of Legends is another multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game released in 2009 by Riot Games. It is commonly referred to as LoL or, simply, the League, and it’s second only to DOTA 2 in the MOBA genre. It was released as a stand-alone game inspired by DOTA, a custom map for Warcraft III.
League of Legends quickly gathered a large player base, and tournaments started taking place only a few months after its release. However, the first World Championship was held at DreamHack in Sweden only in June 2011 with $100,000 in prizes. The first place was secured by a European team Fnatic who beat American and Asian teams to win $50,000. Today, LoL eSports events offer prize pools of millions of dollars, attracting players from all parts of the world.
Due to a large fan following of LoL tournaments, the betting market is extensive. Most eSports events are covered by all major eSport betting websites and apps. Websites like betway.com, gg.bet, and rivalry.com are known to provide the best odds. Markets include match winners, teams to get first blood, most kills, tournament winners, and much more.
The LoL gambling scene is so active that you will even find many League of Legends betting predictions online to make the betting experience easier for new punters. One of the highly trusted sources is protipster.com.
Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter game from Blizzard Entertainment. It was released in May 2016 and is popularly known and described as a ‘hero shooter.’ This is because players are assigned into teams of six, and each player gets to choose a ‘hero’ with unique abilities from an extensive list of characters.
The first Overwatch eSports tournament did not take long and was organized by ESL in August 2016, a few months after its release.
eSport betting for Overwatch is fairly straightforward; punters place their bets on teams they think will win. Being Blizzard’s most successful game to date, Overwatch has a large eSports betting market. Thousands of punters actively bet on its eSport tournaments. The most popular of which include the Overwatch World Cup and The Overwatch League.
You can find great odds on any of the big video game betting sites. However, we recommend sickodds.com, eSportbet.com, and betway.com for the best odds.
Fortnite is a free-to-play cross-platform battle royal game released in 2017 by Epic Games. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular games of its genre, attracting over 350 million users. Solo players or teams are dropped onto an island where they combat till only one player or team remains.
The most famous Fortnite tournaments are the Fortnite World Cup and the DreamHack Open. The winners of these and other events usually get over a hundred million dollars in prize money. Therefore, it’s only natural that the eSports betting scene for Fortnite is quite active.
The nature of battle royale games makes for great gambling odds, and if you win on a punt in Fortnite betting, you will surely win big. You can bet on Fortnite eSports tournaments and other events (especially the Fortnite World Cup) on websites like vulkanbet.com, oddsshark.com, and many more. Even though the Fortnite betting markets are not the most exciting, you do get to bet on first kills, most kills, and the winner of the match or tournament.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is one more multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game from Blizzard Entertainment released in June 2015. The game is quite similar to League of Legends and DOTA; however, it is not as popular on the eSports scene.
Its lower coverage is what actually attracts bettors to Heroes of the Storm video game gambling. Fewer tournaments and lower popularity make it a niche on the eSports betting scene, which can play to your advantage. You can research and study the few top players and teams to place bets accurately.
In 2018, Blizzard announced that it had cancelled all future eSports events for the game. However, the game still got new heroes and some patch updates since then.
Luckily, HeroesHearth and their parent company Wisdom Gaming Group revealed in 2020 that they would start an independent eSports league for Heroes of the Storm. Since then, the game has seen a significant boost in its popularity, and it seems like it is here to stay after all. Moreover, there’s been a surge in gambling on eSports of the Heroes of the Storm.
You can bet on websites like esportsbets.com and sickodds.com. The betting markets are pretty straightforward with odds for match-winner, map winner, first blood, and tournament winner.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty is a video game of the first-person shooter genre from Activision. It is the world’s best-selling video game franchise with the likes of Modern Warfare 2 and Black OPs 2, highly acclaimed games globally. It sells over 20 million copies annually. Moreover, Call of Duty is one of the first eSports introducing video game gambling. Its latest version is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
Call of Duty has been a regular video game in eSports since the launch of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. However, only in 2013, Activision held the first official Call of Duty Championship. Today, you can find dozens of Call of Duty eSports leagues and tournaments organized globally, with most eSports betting sites offering gambling on them. Call of Duty League is one of the world’s biggest eSports tournaments. In 2021, it is going to be streamed exclusively on YouTube.
The popular sites for placing bets on Call of Duty include betway.com, bovada.lv, and gg.bet. Betting markets include match-winner, map winner, and even correct map score, which entails predicting the exact number of maps your team will need to win. Apart from that, there are many other markets that make Call of Duty betting quite exciting for punters.
RuneScape is a multiplayer online role-playing game released by Jagex on January 4, 2001. It takes place in the medieval fantasy world of Gielinor. Players can move through cities, kingdoms, and regions of Gielinor by ships, magic spells, or on foot. The various worlds offer different monsters and quests to challenge other players in the realm.
RuneScape has survived without changing much of the original game and combat system for 20 years, which is oddly considered to be a good thing by many. Since its release, it has had over 200 million accounts created, becoming the world’s largest and most updated free MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). As of now, there are over 14.7 million total subscribers and around 1.4 million daily players.
There are plenty of RuneScape tournaments, for example, The PVP Championship by Jagex. Also, RuneScape eSport betting is available on such websites as runebet.com, runechat.com, and runescape-gambling.com. Hundreds of punters from across different time zones visit these websites to participate in RuneScape video game gambling. Note that player-run gambling is against the rules of RuneScape and not trustworthy.
Video Games Gambling Industry Outlook
The eSports betting industry is growing and is full of potential for the coming year. In 2020, eSports betting websites raked in an estimated $1.8 billion. In comparison, the global gambling market for the same year earned around $443 billion. These numbers indicate that there is plenty of room for growth.
For now, the most significant achievements of the eSport betting industry are the regulation, transparency, and legitimization of video game gambling. Today, many companies, including Valve, have banned skin gambling on their platforms. Even the Danish government has cracked down on illegal skin gambling and unregulated eSport betting websites.
In the early days, unregulated sites were the only option for bettors. In-game virtual items like loot boxes were extremely problematic.
A loot box is a consumable virtual surprise box of sorts, which players can buy or receive during play. Once acquired, loot boxes are redeemed to reveal the virtual items inside.
Loot boxes were linked to causing gambling addiction. Young children were especially affected because they would actively buy them until they got the desired item. That’s the reason why loot boxes were banned in most countries. While many developers refrained from using them, others opted for transparent ones. The transparent loot boxes show the items inside beforehand.
Even though this problem still exists, the standards of video game gambling have been raised in the last few years. It is an excellent start towards improving gambling in eSports as we will only see the industry grow larger and larger every year.
Video game betting is a great way to win some money while supporting your favourite video game, team, or player. The eSport landscape has largely evolved since the days of the Spacewar tournament at Stanford University.
Today, fans, spectators, and punters from across the world come together, physically and online, to watch the best gamers battle it out in epic matches and tournaments. Similar to eSport tournaments, eSport gambling has also come a long way.
Skin gambling, loot boxes, and unregulated eSport betting are either gone or on their way out, so punters can now access clean and legal eSport gambling websites and apps. Most importantly, they can trust these websites and not have to go through illegal vendors.
Regarding the industry as a whole, this is certainly a step forward, and the betting for games like DOTA 2, CS-GO, and Call of Duty will only rise in the coming years. Even abandoned games, like Heroes of the Storm, are making a comeback with a surge in players and punters alike.
With how the video game betting industry is progressing, we are sure there will be plenty more eSports and video games you can bet on soon. If you want to learn more about the top video games to bet on, visit our website today.
How do you watch eSports online?
There are plenty of platforms that stream eSports, including Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Dailymotion Games, and even some eSports betting websites. Alternatively, you can visit the websites of the tournament or event’s organizer to watch eSports online.
Can you bet on eSports with Bitcoin?
Yes, you can. You will have to opt for a Bitcoin betting exchange, i.e., a betting exchange that deals in Bitcoin. However, most major eSport gambling websites offer Bitcoin as a viable betting currency, so you don’t have to worry about not finding one.
When did eSports or competitive video gaming begin?
The first recorded video game tournament or eSport event took place on October 19, 1972, at Stanford University. Students participated in a space combat game, Spacewar! to compete for a one-year subscription to The Rolling Stone magazine.
Is eSports betting legal in the USA?
Yes and no. The federal government handed down the legality matter of eSports betting to the state level. Therefore, it is up to the states to decide whether to make eSport betting legal or not.
Currently, it is legal in Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia. While many other states have regulated eSports betting, they still haven’t made it 100% legal. However, this is changing, and many states are gradually moving towards making sports and eSports betting legal.
Is eSports betting legal in the UK?
Yes, it is. eSports betting is legal in the UK and many major European countries like Sweden, Germany, Spain, etc.