It’s difficult to think of a more rapidly growing entertainment industry than e-sports gambling. This comparatively new form of wagering has rocketed into a multibillion-dollar industry within the last decade. This became possible because of the blend it is, attracting several groups of bettors.
First of all, this includes those who closely follow video games and virtual tournaments, using the chance to earn some money while they’re at it. It’s one thing to make a bet with your close friends over the game to make it more interesting to follow, cheering for your pick. And now imagine the stakes when the whole world is taking a guess and willing to risk money in hopes of getting back even more. Obviously, the sites that started offering such a chance couldn’t go unnoticed.
And that’s where a large group of other punters comes from. Seeing the rise of e-sports, well established online casinos decided to capitalize on it, usually adding a game or two to their sportsbooks. Others understood that this form of betting deserved a separate section that would later expand with the addition of new titles. Either way, people with experience in sports betting were eager to apply their knowledge to this fresh trend.
Not all successful esports sites we have nowadays can boast a long history, a great deal of them are startups that were created in recent years with video games betting in mind. Some of them even manage to be superior to their well-established counterparts. Others are no match to the industry’s giants or simply not worth your time, and that is exactly what this guide and our reviews are meant to help you figure out.
The good news is you’re definitely not late to the table. On the contrary, 2020 has turned out to be a great year for esports, and the COVID-19 lockdown has been a major boost for the industry. Don’t get us wrong, the coronavirus pandemic is nothing to be happy about. However, esports were much better prepared for the changes than regular sports. Even before, these competitions could be held with no live audience, and most fans would enjoy them as a live stream. So, they were able to avoid match cancellations, and consistently more people start looking for esports betting sites while staying at home. Whatever your story is, strap in, you’re about to get a crash course in finding the best sites for wagering on your game of choice.
Best Esports Betting Sites
We have prepared a list of our top choices to save you some time. These sites have every chance to become your everyday companion, so we strongly advise you to check them first and see if they suit you. We based our list on the ratings we gave these esports platforms in their respective reviews, but this turned out to be quite a diverse selection, encompassing all-around casinos and strictly esports-oriented sites, well-established companies and recent startups, unique platforms with advanced gaming modes and the embodiment of a video game betting portal.
Best Esports Titles Available
Just like with regular sports, it’s highly preferable to be a fan of the game you’re planning to place bets on. That will make following teams and events much more fun for you. Now, if you’re already a video games fan, it may not be enough unless it’s the right game. What we mean is that there are obviously way more titles than in the virtual world than sports in the real world. It would be physically impossible to have high-level or at least decent tournaments for each and every one of them.
Moreover, not all games are suitable for this kind of competition since esports wagering requires the game to be available in multiplayer. Luckily, there is some genre variety, and although there are new entries and potential hits joining the fun every year, it’s easy to see what type of games dominate the scene.
CS:GO needs no introduction if you have been even remotely interested in what has been going on in the gaming world. However, it’s actually possible to be completely unaware of this first-person shooter if you are young and not really into that sort of thing. The original game, previously a mod for Half-Life, came out back in 2004, and its sequel we’re discussing here saw the light of day in 2012. This actually makes it one of the oldest titles you will see available for placing bets, but it has a massive base of followers and some of the grandest tournaments.
The game is pretty straightforward, making it a good choice for a newcomer. It’s why it got so popular and universally played in the first place and also why many gamblers choose it over some multiplayer online battle arenas that take some more time to get a grasp of things. Besides, it takes some effort to find esports gambling sites that do not have this FPS title in their catalog, and it may even be impossible.
So, in CS:GO, there are two teams, terrorists and counter-terrorists. The former have to plant the bomb, the latter have to defuse it, and whichever team succeeds by the end of the timed match wins. Unless, of course, the whole team is killed off before the time is up. The point is, the matches are very dynamic, all the players are highly skilled, guaranteeing there are always tension and intrigue. Check our article with the best sites suggestions for betting on this famous title.
CSGO Free Bets and Betting Bonuses
Just like with regular online casinos, most esports sites offer free bets and welcome bonuses to attract new customers. The most common offer is a match bonus that will depend on how big your first deposit is. So, LuckBox offers up to $100, which is generous enough. Unikrn beats that offer by promising a 300% match bonus up to $300, but all pale before EGB’s welcome bonus that can reach as much as $600. Other bonuses may come in the shape of a risk-free welcome bet, meaning you get your money back to your balance should your wager lose (CyberBet), or freerolls as offered by DraftKings. CSGOEmpire gives each new member a free gift case that may contain skins, money, free bets, and more.
You may not be familiar with the game Defense of the Ancients 2, but you have more than likely encountered mentions of DOTA 2, which are, obviously, the same thing. Launched in 2013 and being an official sequel to a popular fan-made mod of WarCraft III, it was equipped with everything to become a global phenomenon, which it did. This fantasy battle arena is another frequent position you will encounter on sites for esports betting.
Before you can make conscious predictions based on the game and experience, it will take some hours either playing it or learning through letslpays, streams, and tournaments recordings. We’re not trying to discourage you, just giving a fair warning. If you find this game and the whole genre your cup of tea, getting familiar with the gameplay will be most enjoyable.
The basics are like this: we have a square map with two teams starting in their home corners, where their “Ancients” are located. The goal is to reach the opposite corner and destroy the core structure of your opponent (while not letting the rival team do the same, obviously). There are several paths on the map with other things going on, so don’t expect the match to be over in a couple of minutes. Simply rushing to the enemy’s base at the very beginning won’t work, but it never gets boring, watching how the teams are working towards completing various objectives.
If you are ready to go place some Dota 2 bets, we’ve got it covered with our overview of potential bookies.
This is another title no esports gambling companies would ignore. It’s also another MOBA-game, and its premise and gameplay are very similar to those of DOTA 2. Two teams are starting at their bases in corners of the map and seeking to destroy each other’s Nexuses. There are over a hundred hero characters with their specific abilities and roles, allowing for all kinds of team combinations and spectacle on the battleground.
LoL was released in 2009, and it’s not to say this was a rip-off of the original DOTA. It’s safe to assume that it must have been inspired by Blizzard’s competitive multiplayer game, but it was also of the same genre, which is bound to have lots of similarities, but there are even more game-specific elements you can enjoy exploring. So, having experience with one of the titles will definitely make it easier to get into the mindset for making successful predictions.
There is also an important thing to keep in mind when transitioning to esports from regular sports betting. Popular and more recent games constantly get various updates and tweaks, meant to improve the gameplay and balance everything out even better. This is sure to influence how professional players approach the game, so it helps to keep a finger on these updates and play the game at least from time to time.
And don’t forget to use our guide to discover the most promising LoL platforms.
Considering the game’s rapid growth in popularity and the players’ steady interest in it, you can expect to find Overwatch on the top esports betting sites. Compared to the previous honorable mentions, this is a much younger game, released by Blizzard in 2016. And the very next year, the company launched the Overwatch League, proving its intention to create another popular esports title. The game is a mix of an FPS and MOBA, which is enough to spark an interest in any fan of competitive video games featuring two rival teams.
With an array of gaming modes and the ability to change characters during the game, Overwatch is a feast for both bookmakers and punters. And Blizzard makes sure they bring the best players to the forefront of the OWL, as well as provide fans with matches taking place throughout the year. We didn’t want to miss the action and investigated some of the best options for this game.
Despite being at the cradle of esports and having greatly influenced the online gaming arena, StarCraft II is considerably less popular nowadays than the above-mentioned games. However, if you are a fan of this classic real-time strategy, we are happy to tell you that there are enough decent and even spectacular sites taking egaming bets on this old-school title. Make sure to check our article listing those platforms. If you played it back in 2010, when it came out or shortly after that, you can let the nostalgia wash over you while making some good money.
If you wish to proceed to betting on the tiles we have mentioned so far, you can read our reviews dedicated to the specific games. We have analyzed the best legit sites that feature the most lucrative offers, competitive odds, and an abundance of supported leagues and betting markets depending on the game.
So, what else can you bet on? To put it simply, if there are tournaments for the game, you should be able to find a place that offers odds for those. It’ just that some games are much less covered than the others, and you want to make sure the site can be trusted. A healthy approach is to check our reviews of the best esports betting sites and see if any of them feature the game you are searching. There is a good chance they do, since Unikrn, Loot.bet, and BuffBet each offer over 20 titles. Those include some other popular egaming representatives, some of them being:
- Rainbow 6
- Call of Duty
- Rocket League
- King of Glory
Simple math tells us that there are other up-and-rising games we haven’t mentioned, and seeing how esports evolves, there’ll be even more in the coming years.
Esports Markets Variety
To be listed among the most successful esports betting sites, it’s vital to offer as many wagering opportunities as possible. First of all, this can be done by having a lot of titles and supporting leagues of various sizes, not only the major ones. And then, depending on the game, bookmakers can offer numerous betting markets. That means that instead of guessing the team that will end up victorious, you will be offered odds for smaller outcomes. These are called betting markets, and the more of them you get, the richer your experience for the match can be. And the richer you can be after the match is over.
The more popular the game is, the more markets it will have seems to be the general rule. In CS:GO, you get to guess the team to make the first kill or win the map, the winner of a pistol or a knife round, the advantage one team will have over the other, maps and kills handicaps, the final score, and lots more.
You will also get a lot of suggestions to bet on with MOBA games. Some of these are guessing the team to draw the first blood, win the map, slay the baron or a dragon, destroy the first tower or inhibitor, accumulate a certain amount of resources, be the first to reach a certain number of kills, and so on. Sites like Unikrn or Loot.bet offer a couple of dozens of such markets, while some sites like LuckBox, Betway, and ArcaneBet will go way over that. For certain matches, this number even goes beyond a hundred.
So, if you see that the site only offers a couple of games, don’t cross it out just yet. Maybe the company decided to focus on those titles and is offering a long list of betting markets with good odds.
Esports Markets Variety
Most sites offer welcome bonuses to make you choose a certain provider of online video game betting services. Those usually come in the form of matching your first deposit at a specified percentage. It’s a good idea to look for a site where you can start with some bonus money or free bets in your pocket.
The things to consider are the offered percentage, the maximum bonus amount, the minimum deposit amount to qualify for it, and the bonus requirements. The latter should be studied carefully because they are often very difficult to complete, and you may have a very short time to do so. Otherwise, you risk losing the bonus, which is not nice once you have it.
The most common offer is a 100% match up to $100, and that’s what you can get at LuckBox and Loot.bet. The most impressive incentive is currently offered by Unikrn, promising up to $300 for depositing a hundred. And you may still join in time for the LootBet Ladder, a weekly event with rewards up to $300, and the ultimate prize being $3000.
Esports Gambling (Skin Gambling & Betting)
The US citizens must be eager to learn that there are other ways to gamble, not necessarily involving esports sports real money betting. That can make the site legal and accessible in most of the states. One of such forms is skin betting, which lets you deposit, wager, and win in-game cosmetic items. However, keep in mind that most operators hosting such betting events are shady at best, and so it’s strongly advisable to only use licensed companies. For example, if you have some CS:GO skins you would like to invest, you can head to GG.bet, CSGOEmpire, BUFF.bet.
Another form of gambling that is much safer and legally offered by some US esports betting sites is so-called fantasy betting. You may be familiar with the term from regular sports, and the idea is the same. You make a line-up of players from various teams to create your own fantasy team. Depending on how those esports players perform during real events, you will score points and compete against other fantasy teams drawn up by your competitors. If that sounds interesting to you and you want to get some new experience, consider visiting DraftKings or ESP for that.
Are Esports rigged?
Like with anything that involves money, there are people who will try to trick you, deceive you, or simply refuse to let you withdraw your funds. The first thing to do is to make sure you are dealing with a licensed betting service provider. Simply doing a quick Google search would be the next step, and if there are accounts of the site involved in fishy operations or outright scam, you will easily find them.
Is Esports betting legal?
The answer depends on your place of residence. Some countries allow gambling in esports, provided it is done according to the regulations and a gambling license is in place. Other states may limit certain forms or ban esports wagers completely.
What is the best bookmaker to bet with?
We can only make some suggestions, but only you can answer that question for yourself. Based on our reviews, Unikrn and Loot.bet scored the most points across various categories. So, you can start with those sites and see if everything about them suits you.
Where can I bet on esports?
There’s really no lack of websites offering you such an opportunity. The good ones will have an optimized mobile version or even a dedicated app. The key is in making sure you are dealing with a legit bookmaker offering a great experience.
Can you bet on Esports in America?
It’s still complicated, sports betting has been legalized only within the last couple of years, and only in a handful of states. Esports, however, is considered a different thing altogether, and most sites won’t even let the US citizens access them. The safest options that are considered legal are fantasy betting and some of the unique modes Unikrn offers.
Can you bet on Esports in Vegas?
Yes, video game bets are legally accepted in the state of Nevada. This is your safe haven if you wish to indulge in this method of gambling. Other states are constantly reviewing their stance on esports, so you may want to check the current laws and look forward to a positive change in the closest future.