What Are Esports?
The term ‘Esports’ is used to describe the industry and built around playing video games competitively. It is an umbrella term that groups many different titles and communities, but is fast becoming one of the most popular and lucrative arms of the world of entertainment. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, first-person shooter, side-scroller fighting, battle arena, card and real-time strategy titles have all built their own competitive communities from the ground up on the back of the rise of live streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
Thanks to investment and sponsorship from companies ranging from the likes of Monster to MasterCard, these competitive scenes have been able to evolve from small-scale events played by amateurs, to hugely enthralling contests played by top-level professionals with gruelling routines and bumper salaries. As the lines between Esports and popular culture have continued to blur, the industries worth has continued to soar as organisations such as Fnatic and Endpoint have branched out into things like merchandising.
In 2019, the Esports global market was worth approximately $957.5 million, however, that is set to rise by over 10% to $1.08 billion in 2022, with that figure projected to rise up to $1.62 billion by 2024. Sponsorships attribute 60% of the industry’s total revenue and is worth approximately $641 million. The industry’s global audience has also increased by 70% since 2019, closing out 2021 with a whopping 474 million viewers across the world.
Top Esports Games
Just like how you will never find a real-world fan who is passionate and has an in-depth knowledge of every sport under the sun, the same is very much the case for the wonderful world of Esports. Each title has its nuances and differences in gameplay, as well their communities of fans that follow their favourite teams and players, just like a football or rugby fan would.
Every game requires their own set of skills and talents required of their athletes, which can dramatically impact the types of betting and wagering scenes they possess. The one thing to remember is that whenever someone proclaims themselves to be an ‘Esports betting expert’, maybe take it with a grain of scrutiny.
In terms of the largest cumulative prize pools, Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was the top dog across the Esports industry, totalling over $15.58 million, ahead of the likes of PUBG, Call of Duty and Fortnite. Over one million people streamed CS:GO and Dota 2, boasting viewership numbers of around 224,000 and 58,000 respectively. Dota 2 also housed the tournament with the largest prize pool of any Esport, with The International 2021 breaking its then-world record 2019 edition with a prize pool worth $40.2 million.
The League of Legends World Championships remains the most concurrently viewed Esports events, however, with the 2019 and 2020 editions breaking 3.99 and 3.88 peak viewer counts. Fortnite is currently ranked the fifth most popular channel on Twitch, averaging 95,000 concurrent viewers, and seeing its collective competitive prize pools edge past the $60 million mark across 2021.
What Is Esports Betting?
With numbers that dwarf over even the biggest of real-world sporting competitions, it’s no surprise that gambling on Esports has become a popular activity with fans right across the industry. Wagers and moneymatches between players have always gone hand-in-hand with the world of gaming, however, it has mainly been through some of the best betting sites for Esports betting sites getting behind teams and organisers with hefty sponsorships that gambling has found a foothold in the scene.
💡 Put simply, Esports betting is a term that can be used to describe anything that involves gambling on the players, teams, tournaments and events that exist within any part of the competitive gaming community.
Esports Betting For Beginners
Just like with real-world sports betting, Esports gambling sites tend to come with different types of wagers that are available to users. The most common of these are:
One of the most popular and accessible types of wager, match winners (as the name would suggest) is just a simple prediction on the outcome of a specific match. The odds on match-winner bets are usually fixes, meaning they have been determined a couple of days before the match, and can therefore be influenced by the amount of backing one team or player has had over their opponents.
Another extremely common type of wager and probably the one you think about when Esports betting sites are mentioned, betting outrights are placed before a tournament or event kicks off. A prediction on an overall outcome, the most common type of outright is usually around which player or team will win an entire competition, however, there are usually different markets at the best betting sites for Esports betting that allow users to choose which players/teams will make it to the next stage of a tournament, or alternatively which ones will be eliminated before they reach a certain stage.
Totals are where the experts of a certain game can really begin to flex their knowledge. Totals involve users placing wagers around how much of something is going to play out over the course of a matchup. This can range from something as simple as how many points or kills a player or team will register, to something a bit harder to determine such as the total amount of rounds or maps played. Betting on totals can either be done via outright wagering (“Over xxx kills - ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”) or via spread betting (“Total Kills - 15-25”), however, unlike the previous two types, it is not affected the overall outcome of the game.
Esports Betting Odds
Much like with wagering on anything, everything users do when on the best Esports gambling sites revolves around the odds the house is providing. Esports betting odds are used to explain how much a stake will return for users, as well as showcasing the predictability of an outcome - the shorter the odds, the more likely a result is to happen. Knowing how to read these odds is therefore an absolute must for any would-be wagerer hoping to make money from these Esports betting sites.
The most popular and accessible form of betting odds, decimal odds are what most users will find when they land on most Esports gambling sites. The basic premise here is that the lower the decimal, the higher the probability that a team or player is going to win their head-to-head. An example of the types of decimal odds a user might find at an Esports betting site could look like this:
- FaZe Clan - Astralis (1.45 - 2.70)
- G2 - Fnatic (2.45 - 1.37)
- NIP - Cloud9 (2.10 - 2.58)
Let’s say a savvy bettor, knowing that G2 had a good record against Fnatic and were in good form before their match, chose to back the underdog’s 2.45 odds with a £5 stake. 5x2.45 would return £12.25, with the bettor making a £7.25 profit.
A staple of the UK betting markets, fractional odds are the most common types of odds found on British-based providers. Here’s how these Esports betting odds might look using fractional odds:
- FaZe Clan - Astralis (17/10 - 4/11)
- G2 - Fnatic (5/1 - 4/11)
- NIP - Cloud9 (13/20 - 11/10)
Let’s say the same savvy bettor as before chose to back G2 as the outsider against Fnatic again. Using fractional odds, their £5 stake x 5 would return £30, with their profit being £25.
With Esports proving to be especially popular in the United States, some of the best betting sites for Esports betting will occasionally come with American-style odds, which are unique from other types we went through. Here’s how American odds might look on an Esports gambling site:
- FaZe Clan - Astralis (+175 - -275)
- G2 - Fnatic (+500 - -250)
- NIP - Cloud9 (+110 - -154)
American odds operate around every $100 a user wagers, with the example of our bettor backing G2 dishing out +$500 for every $100 they bet with. The formula to keep in mind when betting with positive American odds is always stake + (odds*(stake/100)).
For negative numbers, the ‘-’ is the amount a user would have to stake to win $100 (in this example, a user would have to bet $250). Sticking with that example, a $500 bet would net a user $200 in profit. The formula for calculating negative number payouts with American Esports betting odds is always stake + ((100/Odds) x stake).
Top UK Esports Betting Sites
For some of the best UK Esports betting sites, we’ve singled out:
- Well Known Betting Brand
- Ample Choice of Betting Markets
- Lucrative Sign-Up Offers
- Superb Betting Options
- Cashback Available
- Casino & Betting From 1 Account
How To Make An Esports Bet
With so much diversity and competition in the market, Esports betting sites have made the process of placing wagers as simple a process as possible. As we’ll continue to reference throughout this guide, before any user places a bet, they should take the time to do their research on the games, teams and tournaments they’re wagering on, and also establish how much they’re willing to deposit and stake at a time.
It’s also worth checking around our picks on the best betting sites for Esports betting to see the latest promos and offers that marry up with the style of wagering a user wants to hone in on.
When it comes to depositing a bankroll to play with, all licenced, regulated and trusted Esportsbooks should come with a variety of different secure banking methods for users. Credit and Debit cards are by far the most common ways of depositing however, with Esports right at the forefront of the latest digital trends, other methods such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum have also become accepted.
Safety and security should always be the priority when it comes to choosing an Esport gambling site, so users should always make sure a bookmaker’s licences are present on the site, and the connection is secure (which can be checked by seeing if the URL comes with an ‘https://’ domain and a padlock icon in the display bar).
Top Banking Methods at Esports Betting Sites UK
No matter which way you prefer to deposit at esportsbooks, many of the top betting sites such as the ones we recommend above, will offer a large selection of safe and secure payment methods for you to use. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to find over 15 different and varied banking methods to choose from. You will be able to find options for traditional Debit Cards, to newer e-wallet options like PayPal and Apple Pay, to new age methods such as Bitcoin and various other Alt-cryptocurrencies. See below for more details.
- Widely Accepted
- Safe & Secure
- Bonus Compatible
- Easy to Use On All Devices
- Extra Level of Security
- One Click Payments
- No Account Needed
- No Need For Bank Cards
- Highly Secure
- Safe, Secure & Trusted
- Bonus Compatible
- Widely Accepted
- Widely Accepted
- Fast Withdrawals
- Safe & Trusted
- Widely Accepted
- Fast Withdrawals
- Highly Secure
- Enhanced Security
- One-Click Payments
- Convenient for iOS Users
- Widely Accepted
- Safe & Secure
- Bonus Compatible
Esports Betting Bonuses
When looking for the best Esports betting sites, users are certainly not short of potential options. Most real-world sports betting providers will have a good range of titles and coverage of most events, however, there are a number of Esports specialist sites that are also worth checking out.
With such stiff competition around the industry, an Esport betting bonus should always be worth claiming based on the value it offers a user. Extra bets and bonus credit that is a fair equivalent to what a user’s original deposit are both good ways of measuring the value of an Esport bonus; whilst something that revolves around being paid out if a first bet loses out should generally be treated with a degree of wariness, as there’s nothing to be gained whatsoever if that second wager fails to come in as well.
⚠️ Then there are the wagering requirements to always be aware of. Whilst it is something primarily associated with online casinos, wagering requirements can creep into some sports betting providers and occasionally Esports specialists too. Essentially, wagering requirements are what an operator might put into place before a player can claim a bonus, which can sometimes be as high as x15 the original bonus amount.
These requirements can feel really irritating at times, and they’re not worth the hassle when there are so many competitors available with more generous offers out there.
How We Review Esports Betting Sites
With so much variety in just how broad an industry the Esports world is, determining which bookie is the best requires a great deal of reviewing. Fortunately, we’ve got users covered with a ranking system that takes into account the following:
- How easy the site is to navigate and use
- How secure the site is for a user
- The variety in Esports games and competitions the site has odds on
- The licences the bookmaker holds for the region the user is in
- The bonuses and promotions the bookmaker has against its competitors
Users will only find Esports betting sites that hit all five of these criteria in our reviews, helping them get straight to the best bookie for their needs.
Esports Betting Tips
Given that Esports and Esports gambling are both still reasonably new, even ardent gaming fans might be on the hunt for some tips on how to stretch their winnings and line their pockets. With that in mind, here are a few Esports betting tips to keep in mind.
|Pick Your Game And Hone Your Focus||We’ve mentioned it a few times throughout this piece, but, just like someone can’t be a ‘master of all’ sports betting expert, the same is very much the case for Esports betting. Whether it’s a title a user actually plays, or just feels comfortable following, taking the time to pick a couple of Esports titles and honing focus around them can dramatically improve the accuracy in which a user wagers at.|
|Do Your Research||Any successful bettor will talk about the importance of doing research on the games, teams and players before wagering, as not only will it improve wagering accuracy, but it will allow greater opportunities to spot odds and markets to stretch a slip even further. What’s more, with so many different games falling under the Esports umbrella, some will undoubtedly lend themselves better to wagering than others. For example League of Legends is a very technical game that is full of technical nuances and variables, whilst a FPS like CS:GO, whilst still requiring huge amounts of technical skill to play and master, is probably the easier title to grasp the basic premise.|
|Follow Your Money||One of the biggest reasons why Esports has grown at such an incredible rate has been through its availability on online streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. That means, unlike real-world sports that are so often hidden behind subscription-based channels or not available for broadcast whatsoever, every single matchup a user places a wager on can be followed as they’re happening. Not only does this present so many good opportunities of taking advantage of live odds and in-play betting, but it also gives users a decent chance of seeing how their wager performs for the future.|
|Keep It Small||Like with any type of wagering, betting at Esports gambling sites is all about stretching a deposit as long as possible. One of the most common trends bettors show is depositing, say, £20 and then placing the entire sum on one or twice bets. Immediately, that deposit is just two wrong results from being wiped away completely and leaving a bettor with nothing and back at square one. Like with anything in life, the more someone does something, the more experienced and better they become at it.|
|Adopt A Strategy||Percentage staking is a common strategy used by real-world sports bettors and casino gamblers, and works just as effectively in the wonderful world of Esports; simply choose a percentage of a deposit (for example 10% of the £20 deposit mentioned early) and cap the bets at that amount, maximising the number of odds in play, whilst minimising the potential losses incurred.|
|Stay Conservative||The best betting sites for Esports betting operate with the same formula as most bookmakers, in so far as they will try and tempt users with the eye-catching ‘high risk-high reward’ wagers that are so often so tempting, especially to newcomers to the scene.|
However, as alluded to above, it’s so much more sense to do research, narrow the focus and play the longer game that ensures a player isn’t going to be nursing any huge losses in one blowout. Focus on building a serious bankroll after utilising strategies like percentage staking and betting with a surplus before taking on any of the bigger fish. As a player’s experience grows, so too does their eye for potential and the risks factors that come with the bigger prizes in play,
Esports Betting FAQs
We know that the topic of Esports betting is a huge one and can be quite daunting if you're new to the whole arena. We've tried to keep this Esports betting guide to the point and factual for all readers, however, we've also added some frequently asked questions about esports betting below. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you'll be savvy enough on the subject to make some esports bets or, if you're already enjoying betting on esports, t we've added some insight into your esports betting diary!
Is Betting On Esports Legal In The UK?
The short answer is: yes! Provided the bookmaker has a licence to operate in the UK and offer betting odds on Esports, and that the user is of age and permitted to gamble online, betting on Esports is completely legal in the UK.