One of the fastest growing markets in UK sports betting at the moment is one of the newest and most intriguing industries to come out of the digital age.
That is eSports but there are many punters who have never heard of this form of betting and have absolutely no idea what it entails.
So if you are still something of an eSports novice and would like to know more about this growing niche market, then read on as you’ll find almost everything you need to know about the wonderful and often weird world of eSports below.
What are eSports?
Describing eSports is very easy in broad, generic terms. eSports are specialised video games where multiple players, often from around the globe, compete against each other in order to achieve victory. Games are played either via a PC or a games console (such as Playstation 4 or Xbox One) with the competitors connected to the same game either via a local network (if the match is being held at a specific venue) or via the Internet.
Often rather than individual players competing against each other, players are organised into teams that compete against each other to win the game. Some matches may be played over a series of rounds in order to decide which team is the overall winner of the match.
There are many different games which are popular with eSports enthusiasts, although at the highest level, competition tends to be focused on just a narrow selection of certain games that have been specifically designed with multiple player team matches in mind.
So am I betting on regular people, like you and I, playing console games?
No, not really. While online console gaming and PC gaming is a massive business nowadays with millions of players playing a wide variety of online games and despite these technically being eSports, they are not the types of contests you would be able to bet upon.
At the highest level in eSports, there are a number of teams of online players who are amongst the best players of specific, eSports-based games in the world. These teams clash in big-money sponsored eSports events held across the globe (many are based in South Korea, but others are based in the United States, Germany and the UK).
These teams will often have specific teams of individuals who are effectively ‘professional’ gamers, who earn a living by playing these games and winning their team part of the sponsorship money that is up for grabs in the competition.
A good analogy is to say that while your attempt at playing Call of Duty online against other players is an eSport, it ranks probably alongside Sunday League football. Whereas at the highest level of eSports competition, these gamers are more your Premier League and Champions League level of competitors.
Due to the fact these competitions are so high profile, have the very best teams in the world and have lucrative sponsorship deals, they are also highly regulated and that means that they are an ideal option for companies to offer eSports betting on.
Which UK betting sites can I bet on eSports with?
While you can’t bet on eSports with SkyBet just yet, the good news is that both Bet365 Sport and Paddy Power both carry extensive eSports betting throughout the week. Click on the links above to join up to each site and take advantage of the fantastic new player offers available on each.
Finally, one thing to note about eSports is that most bookmakers only provide odds for games coming up in the next 24-48 hours, so it is always a good idea to check back to the site to see what new eSports markets have been added over the past 24-hours or so. The weekend is always a good time to catch the most eSports events at present, although an increasing number of matches are now also being played midweek.
If you sign up today, you can claim a welcome bonus from Bet 365 as well as a £50 free Paddy Power bonus for joining as a new UK player.
Who makes up these eSports teams?
The best eSports teams are made up of teams of gamers from all over the globe who compete together as a team to win the top prizes on offer. Essentially, these gamers are generally paid to play for their chosen teams.
While there are no massively famous eSports gamers who would be instantly recognisable in the wider world. Within the eSports gaming community, some of the top gamers already enjoy high levels of fame and recognition.
What games are the most popular eSports games to bet on?
Although any online-compatible multiple player game could be a contender for eSports, there are a small number of games that enjoy the most number of players and which are designed expressly for the highest level of eSports gaming.
These games are:
- League of Legends – The most played game in the world. It is a multiplayer online battle arena game where two teams of five players battle it out for supremacy. League of Legends is often shortened to “LoL” in eSports gaming.
- Defense of the Ancients 2 – Better known as DOTA 2, this is another multiplayer online battle arena game that pits teams of five against each other.
- StarCraft 2 – StarCraft 2 is a real time strategy game where players build armies and equipment to defeat their opponents via a number of different strategic moves. Players can choose from three separate races, each with their own strengths and weaknesses in the game.
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive – Often known as Counter Strike:GO or CS:GO, this is a first person shoot-em up game where players work in teams to achieve victory. Valve, the games developer, sponsors a number of high profile CS:GO eSports events across the globe.
Other games are also available for eSports betting on certain sites, but by no means all. These games can include: Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and World of Tanks. Occasionally, big events for the most popular console games, such as EA Sports FIFA games, or Activisions Call of Duty may also be available, but this is generally rare.
Are eSports legit?
Absolutely they are. For some of the biggest eSports events, sponsors such as Valve, Asus, Coke Zero, Nissan, Red Bull and many other top companies are spending millions on their sponsorship of key events.
Furthermore, one of the largest betting sites in the world, Pinnacle, revealed that between 2010 and 2014, its revenues generated from eSports doubled every year from 2010 to 2014.
What is absolutely undeniable is that eSports may be a niche market, but it is also one of the fastest growing gaming and betting markets in the world. Not only are the top events streamed live on the Internet via Twitch TV, but now TV companies, such as ESPN are also bringing the events direct to television.
With sponsorship of events reaching new levels, major events are now taking place in arenas and stadiums that hold tens of thousands of avid fans and viewers who can not only try the games themselves, but also watch the world’s best teams compete in an arena for eSports supremacy.