Head over to Wikipedia, type the word ‘esports’ into the search bar and you can read all about how competitive gaming can trace its roots back to a Spacewar tournament at Stanford University in October, 1972.
Whilst that might be true, eSports as we know it didn’t really begin to gain traction with the public until the 2010s after online gaming and streaming sites like YouTube had laid much of the groundwork.
Now esports is a well-established industry, bringing in 540 million global viewers last year with that figure expected to rise to 640.8 million by 2025. Twitch, purposeful video game design, and surprisingly, interest from the gambling world have all helped to establish eSports as a global powerhouse.
In this article, we will be focusing on the latter of that trio as we tell you everything you need to know about having a bet on your favorite esports tournaments.
Gambling Finds a Way
In the cult classic 1993 film, Jurassic Park Dr Ian Malcolm famously says, “Life finds a way” in relation to the park’s newly created dinosaurs. In terms of esports, it’s apt to say that gambling finds a way, as it sprung up in the world of eSports organically before any major gambling company had even considered expanding into the sector.
When the developers of Counter Strike Valve released cosmetic items such as skins and weapon blueprints that could be bought and sold with real money, savvy players saw this as an opportunity to introduce betting and wagering into the game.
In the absence of any regulation, gamers with coding knowledge created websites where players could bet on the outcome of games using cosmetic items. Whilst somewhat off the eSports live betting market that we currently enjoy, these early gambling ventures did pave the way for what was to come.
(Just like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, gambling ‘found a way’ in the world of esports.)
The Introduction of Bookmakers
These early efforts at gambling from the gaming community were swiftly shut down by regulation. In their place came traditional bookmakers who had finally woken up to the economic possibilities of eSports gambling.
At first, only a handful of gambling companies expanded into eSports, but after a few years, their early successes encouraged a whole host of companies into the market. Currently, you can find odds on a number of esports tournaments with traditional bookmakers, online casino companies and up and coming betting companies alike.
Whilst some may rue the fact that the pioneers of eSports gambling – those who monetized cosmetic items on Counter Strike – aren’t currently enjoying the benefits of eSports gambling, it’s important to note that the introduction of traditional bookmakers has brought with it a regulation that protects players.
What Can eSports Fans Bet on?
Another thing that traditional bookmakers have brought with them is a wide and varied betting market. Fans of esports can bet on their favorite gaming tournaments in the following ways:
- Outrights: For example picking an overall winner of a tournament or a straight winner in a head-to-head match
- Accumulators/Parlay: If you’re looking to increase your odds and your potential winnings, the best way to do so is by combining multiple wagers in what is known in the UK as an accumulator and in North America as a parlay bet.
- Handicap: From time to time eSports will throw up clashes that are so totally one-sided that there’s almost no point in betting on the outcome. That is, unless, you choose a handicap bet which usually sees you wagering on one player or team to win by a certain amount of points.
- Live Betting: The best and most enjoyable way to bet on eSports at the moment is through live betting, which keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat throughout the entire gaming action.
Gambling organically made its way into the world of esports through so-called ‘skins wagering’. Since then heavyweights of the gambling industry have gotten involved and taken esports wagering to the next level.
If you fancy yourself as somewhat of an esports aficionado then wagering on it provides you with an excellent opportunity to turn all of that knowledge into profit.