eSports Betting Sites & Offers
How the world has changed, before the 1960’s you couldn’t even place a bet away from a racing track and now over half a century later you can bet on absolutely anything, including people playing computer games. E-sports markets allows punters to bet on national and international computer game competitions.
Most bookies now cover eSports but then most of them don’t really understand it and so markets and certainly offers are limited. To make sure you get the most form your betting on electronic sports we have complied a list of some of the best eSports betting offers below. Further down we also look at the best bookmakers and sites for eSports, and why, along with explaining the basics of and how to bet on E-Sports.
eSports Free Bets, Betting Offers & Promotions
Unibet do not have a specific long term offer for eSports markets but they are one of the most reliable for eSports offers.
For major tournaments you will often find bet boosts available, usually 25% or more with cash winnings. At other times they have been known to run acca insurance, in-play free bets, tournaments, betting championships, predictions games and more.
If you are a fan of eSports then having an account with Unibet will certainly provide more value over time compared to other bookies due to their good odds, wide ranging markets and consistent promotions.
The 10Bet Acca bonus can be used on any sports or markets including all eSports. If you get all your selections correct you will get 2% on a winning treble tiered up to 50% on winning 16-fold+ multiples.
All extra winnings are paid in cash up to a huge £5,000. Minimum odds of each pick just 1/2+ (1.5) to qualify. With the number of games, maps and individual battles that go on in eSports it is made for multiple betting.
Betfred are another reliable online bookmaker for eSports coverage and offers. They will regularly offer free bets linked to major tournaments for events such as Counter Strike, Dota 2 and League of Legends to name a few examples.
Not often seen as a modern bookie but Betfred have certainly bucked that trend when it comes to eSports out-competing other sites in terms of market depth and promotion availability.
If you place eSports bets regularly it will be beneficial over time to get a Betfred account to take advantage of their deals.
Place any treble or higher with William Hill and they will let you boost your bet on stakes up to £20 (or £20 EW - boost only applies to win part). The bet boost can be applied up to once a day from your bet slip and will enhance the odds immediately. All winnings and extra winnings are paid in cash.
You can even mix and match selections from different sports, except for horse and greyhound racing. You can select any markets you like and there are no minimum or maximum odds limits. The offer cannot be used with flash odds, enhanced odds or other free bet promotions however.
Best eSports Betting Sites
STSThere really is only one top site for eSports betting and that is STS. Best for coverage, range, offers, features, news and results. One stop eSports shop.
Bet365Only other site that can compete for market depth, range of coverage and good value odds prices. Worth having an account to compare markets.
888 SportYou won’t find many offers here but what you will get is a very large market depth and good honest odds prices that are hard to beat elsewhere.
William HillSolid range of markets, as you would expect from this massive bookie, with some very good all-sports offers that can easily be applied to eSports betting.
ParimatchParimatch are more focused on games than sports so it is no surprise they have embraced eSports more than most other betting sites.
UnibetUnibet are a massive online bookmaker and just like 888 Sport cannot be ignored due to their wide ranging coverage of eSports and good odds.
Although eSports sounds like a variation on virtual sport these are actually completely different entities. The ‘e’ stands for electronic and the use of the word sport is highly debated. This is effectively betting on very popular multi-player video game championships and matches from famous titles such a League of Legends, Dota2, StarCraft, Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Call of Duty and more.
Very popular in Asia and founded in South Korea, teams of contestants compete in leagues and knock out competitions to win huge prizes and local celebrity status. Some tournaments have international status, such as the League of Legends World Championship, the International Dota2 Championship and the Battle.net World Championship series to name a few.
Massive crowds in the tens of thousands attend these live competitions and matches are broadcast and streamed worldwide. The classification as a sport is controversial, then again bookies are giving betting lines for eSports to be included in the 2030 Olympics!
How to Bet on eSports
Betting on eSports is also very similar to normal sport betting. Conventional singles and multiples are available on win/draw/win and match result markets. You can also bet on who will reach the finals or who the finalists will be, the region the winner will come from, and many many more lines.
Some specialist lines are available too dependent on the game, wagers on teams or individuals to win certain sections, maps, prizes or components of the game for example.
Although named eSports you are betting on real people playing in the real world. This means bookies can only predict odds based on the information they have (exactly as they would for any other real event). Therefore outsiders can surprise the field just as in any other sport and strong favourites can fail to win equally so.
If you are bored with all of the conventional sports and betting and want to get involved in a sport and gambling sector that is growing exponentially then try out an eSport. While you’re at it you may as well claim one of the eSport offers listed on this page or take a betting site sign up offer as listed on our home page.
About eSports – History, Rules and How To Play
If you’ve looked over the other pages on this site then you’ll have read detailed explorations of much-loved sports such as football, golf and cricket. Even less well-known options such as ice hockey and baseball have had their day in the sun, so it’s only right that a seemingly quite recent alternative also gets spoken about in equal measure. eSports are not to be confused with virtual sports, which we also cover on another page. No, eSports are the sort of thing that older generations would say isn’t a sport and is certainly not something to bet on. It is very much likely to be the future, however, so you’d do well to scrub up on the topic whilst you can.
eSports are essentially computer games played out in a competitive manner, meaning that anything played on a computer system can qualify as an eSport on the proviso that it can be monitored and played fairly. If you don’t know much about it, and we wouldn’t blame you given that eSports have only really begun to be taken seriously in the last few years, then read on to find out a bit about the history of the topic, as well as how they work. We’ll also have a look as some of the industry’s biggest competitions and the winners of them since they were founded.
History Of eSports
Though it’s easy to think of eSports as a modern phenomena thanks to their proliferation over recent years, the truth is that they have technically been taking place for decades. As soon as computer games were invented there were people being competitive over them. The first known organised competition occurred at Stanford University in the 1970s when students took part in an ‘intergalactic spacewar olympics’, playing the game Spacewar. The prize back then wasn’t quite as financially rewarding as it is nowadays, even if it was a little more interesting: the best player won a year’s subscription to the magazine Rolling Stone.
That tournament only had a few competitors, so it was up to the video game creator Atari to come up with something more wide-scale. They did just that with the invention of the Space Invaders Championship, which they launched in 1980. Around ten thousand people from across the United States took part in the competition, meaning that gaming had to be taken seriously as a mainstream hobby. In turn, it led to the foundation of the US National Video Game Team in 1983, which was behind such tournaments as the Video Game Masters and the North American Video Game Challenge.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s magazines like Time and Life announced numerous tournaments and had feature articles with the top players. From 1982 and 1984 a TV show called Starcade ran for just shy of one hundred and fifty episodes, becoming the first example of televised eSports. In the UK there was a show called First Class that had a round of contemporary video games such as Paperboy and Hyper Sports. Yet it was the explosion of the internet that truly took video games into the spotlight, especially from the point of view of team games. The 1988 game Netrek allowed up to sixteen players to get involved over the internet, for example.
Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, the major game makers took over where Atari had begun and launched big competitions of their own in the 1990s. The Nintendo World Championships got underway in 1990 and toured around the US before a grand final took place in Universal Studios Hollywood. Four years later they launched PowerFest ’94, a tournament for players of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. One hundred and thirty-two players made to the San Diego finals. Similar competitions were launched by the likes of Blockbuster Video, in association with the magazine GamePro and welcoming players from as far afield as Australia, Chile and North America.
The notion of eSports in a modern sense really began to take off in South Korea before spreading further afield. A high unemployment rate there in the late 1990s is believed to have contributed to the popularity of eSports, as was the proliferation of broadband internet around the country. The Korean e-Sports Association was founded in 2000 and since then the world of eSports has grown and grown. By the start of the 2010s both the number of people that wanted to watch eSport competitions and the increased size of the prize meant that it began to be taken far more seriously on a global scale. As online streaming services have grown, so too have eSports, generating nearly 400 million views in 2018 and projected to rise to nearly 600 million by 2021.
How eSports Are Played And Rules
Unlike traditional sports, it’s difficult to give a clear layout of how eSports are played. There are numerous different reasons why that’s the case, though the most obvious one is the sheer number of games that can be played under the banner of ‘eSports’. They tend to be broken down into different categories, which we’ll outline now with some example games:
- Fighting Games – Street Fighter, Tekken, Killer Instinct
- First-Person Shooters – Counter-Strike, Halo, Battlefield
- Real-Time Strategies – Warcraft, StarCraft
- Sports Games – FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Rocket League
- Multiplayer Online Battles – Dota 2, League of Legends, Vainglory
Obviously each of those different games has its own rules, to say nothing of the different type of game favouring one type of player over another. Someone that is excellent at a first-person shooter might not be great at a sports game, say. If you’re a football fan then something like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer would be a decent place to start, given that it will be just like watching a football game but with computerised players. Many of them will be based on the players and teams that exist in the real world.
One of the most interesting things to bear in mind with eSports is that some of them require players to work together in teams. These are often referred to as MOBAs, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas. These involve two teams playing against each other and can be worth a huge amount of money, not only for the winning team but also in terms of sponsorships and so on. The two best-known and most played MOBAs are League of Legends and Dota 2, requiring the teams to wipe out their opponents in order to win.
Whether it be first-person shooter games, which require players to achieve a specific aim such as be the last man standing, or strategy games like StarCraft 2 that ask players to build armies and defeat their opponents using tactics, the way that eSports are played is different from game-to-game. You can also find that each game has its own differences depending on the mode being played. Sometimes games that are traditionally first-person shooters can be played as team games. The best thing to do is to identity the game type or specific title that you wish to watch and then find out the rules that are being used in any given tournament.
Major eSports Events and Competitions
One place to start in terms of the way eSports are played is to look at the most popular tournaments that are currently in play. Because of the nature of what we’re talking about, new tournaments spring up all the time. Here are the most popular ones, as well as those that a huge backing behind them:
- Intel Extreme Masters – The Intel Extreme Masters isn’t actually one tournament but rather a series of tournaments held throughout the world. Sanctioned by the Electronic Sports League, which is about as close as eSports are likely to have to a governing body, the tournaments are sponsored by Intel and involve competitions of the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Quake Live. They were founded in 2007.
- Major League Gaming Corp. – Founded in 2002, Major League Gaming Corp. is based in New York and is one of eSports’ professional organisations. It hosts both team and individual competitions of the industry’s major titles. That includes the likes of Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters III and Soul Calibur.
- The Overwatch League – This league is organised by Blizzard Entertainment and is specifically for the game Overwatch. It’s a professional league and launched in 2017, featuring twelve teams from the US, South Korea, the UK and China. The prize pool for the first season was $3.5 million, giving you some indication of the level of prestige eSports can be held in.
- NBA 2K League – Founded in 2017, the NBA 2K League is the first match up between a professional real world sports league in the National Basketball Association and an eSports organiser known as Take-Two Interactive. At the time of writing it’s an incredibly young competition but the link up between the two means that it’s likely to be considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments moving forward.
- Apex – Founded in 2009, Apex might not be considered to be a major tournament anymore but at one time it was considered to be the Super Bowl for Super Smash Bros. It’s a tournament for players of fighting games, with the Nintendo offering being one of the most favoured.
- The Call of Duty World League – Started in 2016, The Call of Duty World League is the foremost league tournament for the Call of Duty series. It’s a qualifier for the Call of Duty Championship.
- Call of Duty Championship – This is, as the name suggests, a championship for players of the game Call of Duty. As suggested when talking about The Call Of Duty World League, teams need to qualify to play in this. Thirty-two teams compete every year and players must be at least sixteen years old to compete.
- Capcom Cup – This annual fighting game is based around the Street Fighter series and welcomes thirty-two players to take part in it. There are numerous qualifying tournaments that include the Capcom Pro Tour.
- The Electronic Sports World Convention – This tournament was formerly known as the Electronic Sports World Cup. It’s an international championship for professional players of games such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s based in France and was originally the brain-child of a company called Ligarena.
- Evolution Championship Series – Yet another tournament that concentrates on fighting games, the Evolution Championship Series was formed in 1996. Since 2005 it’s been held in the Las Vegas Valley area, shifting venues with each passing year.
eSports Key Facts & Figures
|Competition||Most Successful Team||Most Successful Individual|
|Intel Extreme Masters||N/A||N/A|
|Major League Gaming Corp||Final Boss||Tom Ryan|
|The Overwatch League||N/A||N/A|
|NBA 2K League||N/A||N/A|
|Apex||N/A||Adam “Armada” Lindgren|
|The Call of Duty World League||OpTic Gaming||Matthew “Formal” Piper|
|Call of Duty Championship||Team EnVyUs||N/A|
|Capcom Cup||N/A||Saul “MenaRD” Mena|
|The Electronic Sports World Convention||N/A||N/A|
|Women’s Ice hockey at the Olympic Games||N/A||Justin Wong|