Head of Casino Operations
The world of eSports has seen a Big Bang-like explosion in popularity since the late 2000s. Yet, they’re still treated by some as a bit of an alien product when compared to more traditional examples. This may lead you to think that the betting choices are also relatively slim.
Both of these ideas are misconceptions, as eSports are hugely popular throughout the betting universe. While they haven’t quite reached the level of something like horse racing in terms of sportsbook coverage, the choice of operators is now astoundingly vast – so much so that we think your biggest problem will be sifting through a galaxy of quality options.
That said, it does take some guidance to get the most out of your eSports betting. And we won’t let you settle for anything less than the best. With that in mind, here’s our personal breakdown of the key things you’ll want to consider when blasting off on your journey to find the right eSports operator for you.
There’s a huge amount of eSports games out there. However, some are more popular than others. In addition, some are more popular to bet on than others. For instance, Super Smash Bros is very popular. However, it doesn’t command the same amount of betting markets as other examples. Starcraft 2 was once the biggest planet in a milky way of eSport titles, but no longer.
When we considered the best way to begin this journey, we felt there was no better place to begin than the games themselves. So, here we’ll be showing you some examples of what you can bet on. That way, you’ll have context for when it comes to making the most out of your gaming mission.
It was built as a sequel to a community-created mod. So, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who would believe that DOTA 2 would become one of eGaming’s most popular titles upon its release.
Its appeal lies in a mix of simplicity of concept, and depth of execution. It’s a real-time strategy game where two teams of five compete to destroy a structure known as an ancient. The first team to do so wins. Beneath this simple concept though are many variables which enhance the game’s strategy. There’s the magic system, the 119 different characters. the strengths and weaknesses of each, how they interact and complement each other, and so on.
Once again though, the concept remains simple in terms of betting markets. You can bet on which team wins, who will get the most kills or win a map. Those examples show you just how easy it is to bet on. And if you want to go further in your understanding, there’s the depth to do so. Plus there’s no shortage of events to bet on. Even since 2011, DOTA 2 has had an astronomical amount of events all throughout the year.
You may not be interested in playing eSports personally. If so, Call of Duty is one you most likely will have had experience with in the past. It’s a global first-person shooter phenomenon, and has come on leaps and bounds since its inception in 2003. At that point, the games were set in WWII and had a more single-player focused. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changed the setting, as the name would suggest. More importantly, it helped popularise the online gaming model which would turn this franchise into an intergalactic megastar.
So far, that remains the franchise’s most popular title. However, in the world of eSports, this franchise is just getting started. The Call of Duty League was announced in 2019. It aims to expand upon their decade-plus of success in the world of eSports.
Going forward, there will be regular tournaments pitting city-based teams against one another. It will use a tournaments points system and playoff format used in the likes of the Overwatch League. We think the aim here is to take Call of Duty eSports to another level. A tournament like this should do just that, providing a more organised and higher class of competition for you to enjoy and bet on.
This one is quite different to Call of Duty. This is a game that was always intended to be played online. Not just as an option either, but as the entire concept. League of Legends found success initially on Windows and macOS. That makes sense considering it’s an online battle arena game. It became the most played PC game in North America in 2012. By the time it hit mobile and console markets in 2019, it had already gone to the moon and back in terms of success.
If you fancy having a go yourself, it’s available pretty much everywhere. You pick a champion and battle against another team of champions. You usually win by destroying the Nexus, which is similar to the ancient in Dota 2. If you just want to bet on League of Legends, there are loads of opportunities to do so too. It’s one of the world’s largest eSports, with several huge tournaments every year.
We were personally blown away when we heard there were tens of millions of US prize money up for grabs every year. Make no mistake, this is a serious business, and that serious business means serious prizes, and matches as great as its markets.
This is another accessible title for you to wrap your head around if you’re new to eSports. Most video game and sports fans know FIFA. And if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you fall into both those categories. You may have played it growing up. You may still enjoy playing it now. The rules barely need to be explained. That’s because they follow the same rules as real-life football – except, much like how time can be compromised in a black hole, at a much faster rate.
It’s also the largest online eSport game in terms of players. What we really like about it is how FIFA can be used to get people into eSports. You know the rules, you likely know the game itself, and you probably know how betting works on it. That’s because, once again, it’s the same as the real thing, just virtual.
We think the title of this one is fitting, considering how it’s rocketed to success in recent years. The idea is simple: it’s soccer, but with high-powered cars. And yes, it’s every bit as silly as it sounds.
Importantly though, it’s also strategic. Many of the best eSports walk that line. They’re simple enough to play and understand in mere moments, but take lightyears to master. There’s no better example of that than Rocket League. In fact, if you want to get a good idea of how it works, you could always try it out yourself. Some others have a steep learning curve but part of the charm of Rocket League is that it’s so accessible. You can enjoy playing it and enjoy watching and betting on the best in the world at work.
Competitions are run by the likes of Twitch and Major League Gaming, to name but a few. This means there’s no shortage of betting markets available. Not only that but it appears to be on an upswing. That means it’s likely we haven’t even seen its true potential yet.
We always carefully consider how best to approach an eSports comparison. You may think this would be straightforward and it’s simply a case of telling you which one is best. But we’re afraid that it’s a fair bit more complicated than that. Of course, some betting sites are better than others. If you have one professional example and one which looks like it should be lost to cyber-space, it doesn’t take an astronaut to figure out which one is getting our recommendation. However, a lot of eSport betting sites operate at a similar level, which makes things trickier to navigate.
When we’re looking at two great eSports operators, which is better is often a bit more personal. In other words, it depends on what you’re looking for. It could be that one is better than another for some eSport titles, and vice versa. In this instance, neither would be objectively better than another. It would come down to your personal preferences.
Of course, we can’t tell you what’s best for you and your betting needs. All we can do is explain what sites we think will be best for different kinds of audience. For this reason, many reviewers give jack-of-all-trades betting sites higher marks. However, we think that can put down niche sites. And there’s nothing wrong with niche sites: they may be exactly what you’re after.
What we can do though is judge the quality of how well an operator provides for its target audience. This, we think, is the best way of providing the best platform for you to find your perfect betting home planet. So, when we compare eSports operators, we are comparing them on those criteria. This doesn’t mean we put down operators that multi-task – not at all. We just focus on how good we think they would be for a reader who wants that kind of betting experience.
Let us put it like this: if we have a site that only focuses on eSports, we wouldn’t view a lack of sports betting as a flaw. That’s because that’s not its target audience. It would be different if that site advertised itself as a general sportsbook. There, poor markets would lead to a poor comparison. This is the case even though it has more markets than the former example. That’s down to the different target markets.
We always encourage you to view things in a similar way. There’s no objectively best eSports site, even if some are better than others. Finding the best eSports site is like looking for aliens. We aren’t sure if it’s out there. We just know if it is, we haven’t found it yet. There is, however, a perfect betting eSports site for you. It all depends on what you’re after. Our job is to point you in the right direction.
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to eSports bonuses. The reason for that is simple: most people play eSports on betting sites that have a wide variety of betting products. They’ll often have a sportsbook, casino, even a poker room. This means that when it comes to promotions, eSports are not always the top priority. This may wrongly lead you to think that the eSports universe is one lacking in bonus content. We’re over the moon to tell you that’s far from the case.
Let’s start with the simplest scenario: you’re using a site that’s focused on eSports – either solely or as a majority focus. In this instance, most, if not all promotions should be available on eSports markets. Easy peasy, happy days.
However, let’s assume you’re on a site with many different betting products. There may be promotions that are specifically for eSports markets. They may even be for specific eSports games. Once again, these should be immediately obvious.
Let’s say, however, neither of these things are the case. There are promotions, but not a single eSports mention in the titles or immediately apparent information. That doesn’t mean these promotions cannot be used on eSports markets. Thankfully, very often they can. Often, sports promotions include eSports among the relevant markets. This often includes welcome bonuses, bet boosts and the like. Really, unless a promotion is sport-specific, it can usually be used to fuel your eSports journey/
The easiest way to check is through terms and conditions. If this doesn’t work, then you could always check in with the ground crew, A.K.A. customer service.
Here, we’re going to give you a breakdown of how we compare eSport bookmakers. There’s a couple of reasons for this. One is so you can know exactly what goes into any recommendation or advice we give. On top of that, this is a joint process. As we said, part of this comes down to what you’re looking for. In addition to seeing how we go about comparisons, we hope it can help you identify what areas are of most interest to you as well.
We’ll discuss how to implement that practically just after this section. So, feel free to join us on a journey across time, space, and most important in all the cosmos, the intricate details of how bookmakers operate.
The first thing we do when comparing eSports offerings is to check what’s actually available. Unfortunately, some operators are lightyears behind and still don’t offer eSports at all. It’s becoming a rarer occurrence, but it does still happen.
Obviously though, that’s not good enough on its own. We want to see what eSports are available to play and bet on. We also want to see how many markets are available for each. Say you have two operators and both offer League of Legends, but one has double the markets of the other. That’s an advantage that can leave the other operator in its space dust. In general, this gives us an idea of what kind of audience that operator will be suitable for.
Now, here’s an interesting one. We said before that some things are subjective. There’s nowhere this is more true than when it comes to the looks of a site. We can’t tell you what looks good any more than we can tell you where the universe ends. We can, however, say how well we think a betting site pulls off the design they are going for.
For example, if a betting site had a galactic style but that theme dropped into a black hole with a Las Vegas page, we’d say the design was poorly executed. That said, Vegas on the moon is a future we think we could all move towards. This is especially the case with eSport specific sites, as they have an opportunity to make themselves stand out from a design point of view. But, once again, we judge how well a look is pulled off, rather than what aesthetics we personally prefer.
If done well, the structure of a site isn’t something you should spend a lot of time thinking about. Structural integrity means how well everything is laid out. An easy way of judging this is seeing if we can immediately find what we are looking for from any page. This is especially important on sites where eSports are not the main focus. If they are there, we should be able to find them at the speed of light.
More than many other betting types, eSport relies on technology. we’re not just talking about how the actual games are played here either. We want fast updates to ongoing events with as much detail as possible. This not only makes these events more enjoyable, but it also has a strategic advantage.
Imagine you’re betting live. Now imagine something important changed mid-match. You notice an opportunity to make a bet. but the site stalls, and the opportunity is lost. That’s enough to make you hotter than the sun. In any case, we’re looking for a live response that’s as smooth as a stroll in zero gravity.
There’s one thing we would say is specific to eSports though. If you’re going for sites that focus solely on eSports, they’re likely to be smaller enterprises than the household names. Don’t allow this to make your standards of security any lower. We certainly don’t.
We would say this is largely similar to security in some ways. Quality customer service is still the same no matter what type of betting you’re after. That said, we’ve been disappointed by some otherwise good customer service teams in the past. ‘Why?’ we hear you ask across the echoes of space and time. Well, often eSports isn’t their area of expertise. They may be good at answering questions about football or the NBA, but eSports may be an unidentified betting object to them.
This is also the case when it comes to the Help section. We want as many questions answered as possible, across all sports. That means eSports too. We also view clear terms and conditions as part of customer service. This is kind of an extension of the Help section and for me, one of the most important. Whether or not a promotion can be used on eSports should be made clear. It really is as simple as that. Our standards for great customer service are the same for eSports as traditional sports. Not just in options but in execution too.
There are few more important considerations than this. If you don’t have a usable banking option, then we may as well set our lasers to crisp because you, my friend, are toast.
This is one area where more is simply better. Obviously, if you’re covered then that’s all that’s relevant to your experience. However, from a comparison point of view, more variety means more people can enjoy the site. There are other things to take into account, of course. You’ll want to know about fees, transaction times and ease of use too.
We’ve already discussed promotions at length so we won’t repeat ourselves here. What we will add though is our standards are as high as when it comes to any other kind of betting market. All of that comes down to the terms and conditions. Without good terms and conditions, no promotion is worthwhile. Especially important are wagering requirements but there’s also time limits, geographical restrictions, qualifying bets and more to take into account.
Ultimately, when we look at a promotion, the focus is always the same: whether it’s eSports or any sport, our question is what value does this have to you. Taking everything into account, how can this improve your experience? That’s the only question that really matters here.
We’re aware that eSports betting sites don’t exist in the vacuum of space. Many of you reading this will be looking for a betting site that can fulfil all your betting needs. You may like other sports or casino games may be more your thing.
Whatever you’re looking for, we focus on what audience that site is aiming for, and how well they deliver for them. The variety of their offering is very relevant to that. If it’s aimed at people who like a bit of everything, We’re expecting a lot of everything. If it’s just eSports, then we want the best selection of eSports games around.
Although we do everything we can, we are but one mere betting site reviewer. We cannot tell you about the experiences of others. For that reason, checking out what others think is very important. This lets us know whether our experiences are as typical as the setting sun, or as rare as the Big Bang.
Wherever possible, we get as much information on people’s opinion on eSports specifically for the most accurate comparison. If we and the majority opinion appears to be a good one, then we can be pretty happy with a recommendation.
As important as all these elements are to examine on their own, it’s crucial to put them together. Just like how the universe works together as a beautiful intergalactic ballet, all operator elements must be working together to provide you with the best eSports betting site.
At the end of all our investigating, we need to tally up all the positives and we also need to see how those positives work together. For instance, take a site that has great exclusive eSport promotions. Then say that promotion is backed up by great design. That way, they enhance each other. The greatest betting site knows how to do that all over.
The most important thing to remember is that betting sites are personal. Earlier, we discussed how some things are subjective and that to an extent, your choice of best eSports betting site is subjective. That’s something we want you to always keep in mind.
Our comparisons and recommendations are always meant as just a launching pad. We can say that we think a betting site will suit a lot of people. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to decide which option is right for your individual eSports betting needs. With our help and your insight, we can find a betting experience that’s out of this world.