Those who have an interest in the rapidly growing market of Esports should be sure to check out our list of the best Esports betting sites below. You can also find a number of offshore sportsbooks included in our list.
Online betting has boomed in the last few years, whether betting on sports or casino games. With punters worldwide gaining easy access to several betting sites, the betting market grew exponentially. This means more betting markets came into being, one of them being Esports. Esports has a long history in the world of gaming and has seen a rise in its following in the last two decades. This opened the floor for punters to start betting on various esports as well.
To bet on esports, it’s vital that you bet at a trustworthy site with a good reputation. But with thousands of esports betting sites out there, it can become overwhelming to choose the right one. Additionally, there are several informal esports betting sites available, which can be shady. It’s confusing to differentiate between the best esports betting sites and the ones to avoid, so we decided to do it for you.
We looked at various aspects of different esports betting sites to compile a list of the best esports betting sites. That includes not only looking at their esports coverage but also whether they’re regulated, their compatibility, banking, customer service, and bonuses. However, to understand why punters love to bet on esports, we should first explain how esports got to where it is today.
History of Esports
When looking at esports, it’s essential to look at how it came to be and how that influenced what is offered today. The history of esports shows us why punters love betting on this and why the market keeps growing by the year.
How It Started
Esports date back all the way to 1972, when it became a common occurrence to have home consoles. This started the rise of gaming and eventually evolved into competitive gaming. In 1980, the first nationwide gaming competition was held with over 10 000 participants. The game Space Invasion was the start of these competitions, followed by Donkey Kong a year later. From there, gaming competitions just kept growing, adding Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to the list in the early 1990s.
Towards the end of the 1990s, first-person shooter games saw a rise, with names like GoldenEye seen in competitions. With games starting to branch out massively, big names still played today entered the scene. Games like Warcraft, Starcraft, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Halo became popular, gaining players and followers worldwide.
With the development of streaming technology like Twitch, it became even easier to follow esports. Due to this rise in popularity and betterment of technology, history was made in 1998 with the Starcraft 2 tournament on PC, as it has over 50 million online viewers worldwide. Around 17 million of those viewers used Twitch, which resulted in esports gaining significant momentum in the early 2000s.
The early 2000s opened the doors to global viewership of esports tournaments, with tournaments like Electronic Sports World Cup and World Cyber Games being founded. In 2002, it also led to the launch of one of the most well-known tournaments today still, the Major League Gaming tournament. With the viewership rising, it’s not surprising that televisions started broadcasting the tournaments in 2006, beginning with Halo 2 on the US television network.
Present Day Esports
Although the first esports event was broadcasted in 2006, it wasn’t until 2011, with the help of Twitch, that the venture was really proved fruitful. Twitch provided viewers with a platform on which they could not only view the tournaments but gamers could also use it to interact with their audience. This led to the League of Legends World Championships in 2011 and 2013, with tickets for the 2013 Championships sold out in minutes.
When Amazon bought Twitch in 2014, it saw the booming popularity of League of Legends skyrocketing, remaining one of the most popular esports today still. Since then, many other games have joined the stage as the most popular games worldwide, including Dota 2, Apex Legends, Super Smash Bros, Fortnite, NBA2K, and many more.
Of course, these tournaments and Championships presented the perfect opportunity for punters who are gaming fans to make their bets. With many different tournaments available today, there are many more betting opportunities. There are first-person shooter events, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena events, Fighter Game events, and Sports games events. You can even find card games and real-time strategy game events.
In the US, esports betting is not viewed entirely the same as sports betting. While many states allow sports betting, esports betting doesn’t enjoy the exact legality as sports. This means many states still ban esports betting. However, New Jersey passed a bill in January 2022 that legalized esports betting, although several restrictions exist. With New Jersey taking the first step, we hope to soon see other states following in their footsteps. In the meantime, many offshore licensed betting sites offer esports betting as well.
Modern Day Esports Defined
Esports has evolved from a favorite pastime to become a professional occupation, with fierce competition and a large following. Esports stands for Electronic Sports and refers to a person-to-person competition using multiplayer gaming platforms like PUBG, FIFA, League of Legends, etc. It has become the staple of the eGaming industry and is an umbrella term for all forms of competitive human-to-human electronic gaming. This includes online video gaming using consoles, PC, or mobile.
It has evolved to become a professional sport and is ranked at the top along with many other sports. Like any professional sports, esports gamers have managers, coaches, analysts, and any other position to help them become the best at their craft. Countries are represented by their esports teams in global tournaments, with national and international competitions becoming more prevalent.
Today’s most popular games range from first-person shooter games to multiplayer arena games. Below, we’ve listed the top 5 esports in the world, with the rankings between these five changing from year to year but always coming out on top of the list.
- League of Legends
- Dota 2
Esportsbooks vs. Traditional Sportsbook
With the popularity of Esports skyrocketing, it’s not shocking to see the rise of Esportsbooks among the traditional sportsbooks. Esports-first sportsbooks refer to sportsbooks that will primarily, or sometimes exclusively, focus on covering esports. There are several pros and cons to using Esports-first sportsbooks.
Some of the pros are that Esports-first sportsbooks tend to cover a more extensive variety of esports, offering not just the popular games but also the less well-known ones. There also tends to be better coverage, content, and streaming software for the games than a traditional sportsbook. With Esportsbooks focusing more on the video gaming community, the layout of the betting site can also be more comfortable to navigate for gamers and punters who are fans of electronic sports.
However, that is not to say there aren’t pros to using a traditional sportsbook. Traditional sportsbooks are often more established, offering a more reliable and reputable betting experience. They have more significant markets that they cater to, and their betting and banking limits tend to be higher.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to using a traditional real money sportsbook or an Esportsbook. It depends on which site feels more comfortable for you and provides you with what you need and want.
Sportsbook Betting vs. Lounge
Lounge, also known as skin betting, refers to informal betting sites like CSGOLounge, although this particular site has closed down. Many punters tend to bet on these informal lounge betting sites, where you can trade or bet gaming skins, make bets on tournaments, etc.
However, we do not recommend using those sites, as informal betting sites often have lax regulations. This means it’s difficult or impossible to find out who operates the site, as it’s not regulated for fair trade by any authority. This means if you’ve been scammed or experienced any problems, there’s usually not someone you can contact to resolve the issue.
Further, the problem comes in when turning in-game items, like skins, special weapons, etc., into cash. While betting in-game items as a way to generate money isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, punters who do it have to undergo a long, complicated, and often risky procedure.
Betting with real money over skin betting is also the safer option. With skin betting, it’s often complicated to determine how much a skin is worth, and converting the skin to cash is even more difficult and time-consuming. That’s why it’s better to bet with real money, where you know the exact worth and don’t need to convert anything.
Using an official sportsbook, whether it’s a traditional sportsbook or an Esportsbook, removes these concerns. There is a level of transparency that a regulated sportsbook has that can’t be matched by the informal markets. There are dedicated customer service channels, and you know you’ll get fair bets and payouts.
How We Evaluate Esports Betting Sites
When looking at the various esports betting sites available, we evaluate them according to specific standards. The below categories are all essential in ensuring the betting site is trustworthy and reliable to offer you a safe betting experience. If the site doesn’t comply with these standards, it won’t even make it within ten feet of our list of the best esports betting sites.
Licensing, Security, and Reputation
When looking at various betting sites, we first check to see if they’re licensed and regulated. Being licensed offers another level of protection, as punters have access to an independent licensing authority if they have any complaints about the website. Holding a license to operate also means it’s easier to ascertain their reputation. Luckily, it’s much easier to separate trustworthy sites from untrustworthy ones in today’s internet age.
Not only do we test the site ourselves to ascertain its reliability, but we also see what the players have to say about the site online. We will never recommend a site with a dodgy reputation or multiple bad customer reviews. Further, the betting site should not only use data encryption and protection software but should also have a KYC (Know Your Client) policy. This shows that the site cares about who’s betting on it and prevents underage gambling.
These days, there’s no excuse for online betting sites not being compatible. As the betting sites are web-based, we look for websites that use not only HTML5 software but also offer equal betting experiences across all platforms. Whether mobile or desktop, iOS and Android, or Mac and Windows, the website should be adjusted to provide similar experiences. Some of the best betting websites also offer an app you can download from the App Store or the Google Play Store. Others offer quick-access software you can download to your desktop or tablet.
The betting site should not only be easily accessible but should also provide a user-friendly interface. To ensure the betting platform is easily navigable, we look for navigation tabs, filters, a search bar, and any other features that make it easier to navigate.
We recommend playing with real money over skin betting, and thus it’s important to have various payment methods available. We look for betting sites that offer cards, e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, and online banking. With multiple deposit and withdrawal methods, you can be sure to find at least one way that works for you, with others available if that method stops working.
Credit and debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Maestro should be offered. We also look for various e-wallets, the best one being PayPal, but Neteller, Skrill, MuchBetter, etc., falling not far behind. Cryptocurrencies have expanded a lot in the last decade, with Bitcoin standing at the top, but options like Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Doge are also available.
Online banking refers to bank or wire transfers and is often the go-to withdrawal method if you can’t use your original deposit method. Should it be available, Play+ cards are one of the most popular payment methods, as the card is linked to the gambling service provider and can be used to deposit and withdraw cash.
A variety of banking methods is not all we look at, however. We also consider the betting site’s fees and payout speeds. There should be low to no fees levied on transactions, and the payout speeds should comply with the expected speed in the industry. This means three to five days for cards and up to 24 hours for cryptocurrencies. E-wallets generally take between one and three days, with bank transfers taking between three and seven days.
We expect the best betting sites also to have the best customer service. Having a good customer service team shows the site cares about its punters and provides you with more security. We look for 24/7 customer service through live chat, support email, and phone lines. The customer service team should be friendly, fast, and efficient in resolving any queries or disputes.
Not only do we believe a good customer service team is essential, but we also believe it’s better to offer multilingual support and various tools for punters to use when betting. This includes responsible gaming tools, where you can set personal limits on depositing, betting, etc. It also means being able to request a cool-off period or to self-exclude.
Whether you’re playing at a traditional sportsbook or an Esportsbook, having a broad coverage of esports at your fingertips is essential. There are so many different electronic sports, and you want the betting sites that allow you to bet on most of them. This means also adjusting the site to best cater to betting on esports.
What this entails is ensuring punters have proper access to HD streaming software and have different content available to them regarding the game. It includes information on the latest betting market for electronic sports and access to different types of bets and odds.
While esports-specific bonuses aren’t found on most betting sites yet, there are other bonuses we look for. The welcome bonus is always a significant deciding factor, as it is what attracts new players to the betting site. It can range from matched deposits, free bets, or no deposit bonuses.
Matched deposit bonuses refer to when a player makes a deposit and receives between 100% and 500% of their deposit as bonus funds to bet with. The bonus often has a bonus rate, meaning the maximum amount of deposit funds that can be received by using the bonus. This is usually a first deposit bonus for new players, although it can also be a daily, weekly, or monthly bonus.
On the other hand, free bets refer to when punters receive bet credits or tokens. Free bets often have a specific value assigned to them and can be obtained as either a match deposit or as a no deposit bonus. No deposit bonuses are given, as the name states, without you having to make a deposit. Most of the time, it’ll be a smaller bonus, ranging between $5 and $30 in bonus funds or free bets.
Another important aspect of bonuses we consider is the bonus terms. This refers to the conditions upon which a bonus can be claimed and the requirements for punters to fulfill before withdrawing any winnings. Matched deposit bonuses will have a minimum deposit amount, while all bonuses will generally have wagering requirements and an expiry period.
Wagering requirements fall between 1x and 50x, but at times when there are no wagering requirements, it’s often because the bonus credits are not part of the winnings. In this case, if you make an initial bet with bonus funds or credit and win the bet, you’ll receive the winnings but not the initial bet amount. There can also be capped winnings or payment restrictions.
Esports Available on Betting Sites
There are too many esports to list, but many betting sites offer the most popular esports. While we look for sites that provide a more comprehensive coverage of sports, we expect the below electronic sports to be covered:
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
- Call of Duty
- StarCraft 2
- Counter-Strike: Go
- Wild Rift
- Rainbow 6
- King of Glory
- WarCraft III
- Street Fighter
- World of Warcraft
How To Sign Up and Bet on an Esports Betting Site
Signing up at an esports betting site is pretty straightforward, as long as it’s legal in your state of residence.
- Select one of the esports betting sites on our list of the best esports betting sites
- On the home page, there will be a “Register”, “Join Us” or “Sign Up” button
- Fill in your personal details to create your account
- Confirm your identity and verify your information
- Check out what bonuses are available and any bonus requirements
- Make a deposit and claim your matched deposit bonus if available
- Start betting on your favorite esport
With the rising popularity of competitive human-to-human video gaming tournaments, esports is seeing a rise in interest. Global tournaments and national competitions are available in most countries, offering many betting opportunities. Some countries view esports in the same line as sports, while others differentiate between them when it comes to betting. Various markets are available to punters, which means multiple betting sites are starting to offer esports betting options. We understand that choosing the best betting site can be overwhelming, so we decided to make the process easier.
Our list of the best esports betting sites is carefully selected based on criteria like the game coverage, reputation, bonuses, banking, and other factors. This means you can enjoy playing at any site on our best Esports Betting Sites list without worry. So have a look at the sites on our list and choose the best betting site for you.