Whether you are an experienced bettor or consider yourself more of a beginner, the simple fact of the matter is that you can likely name up to 10, 15, or even 20 different betting markets. There’s soccer, basketball, hockey, golf, football, baseball, handball, auto racing, college basketball, college football, and so on and so forth.
A betting market that you have probably never heard of goes by the name of eSports. For many people, the term itself explains what it is. For others, we can explain to you that eSports betting involves the wagering on players and teams who play console video games at the highest competitive level – much like the sport of basketball and/or soccer. There are teams, individual players, and a whole following of its own.
Though eSports is a market that, admittedly, is still well within its infancy, the fact of the matter is that it is growing on an annual basis and is becoming increasingly popular. That popularity is perhaps no better exemplified than through the fact that online sportsbooks offer betting options on professional eSports events.
Though this may take a few seconds to process, the reality of things is that, yes, you are able to bet on the outcome of video games such as Call of Duty and Super Smash Bros. The following few sections will help you wrap your head around what exactly constitutes eSports so that you can gain a better idea of what betting on events might look like.
The History of eSports
If we are being very technical, the origins of modern eSports can be traced back as far as the late 1970’s, when primitive video game tournaments were held on college campuses and elsewhere around the world. If we are being more realistic, however, eSports did not enter what we will call the mainstream until the mid to late-1990s, when increased internet connectivity allowed players from around the world to face off against one another without having to be within close physical proximity.
We have South Korea to thank for the boom that saw eSports take off and develop a more professional feel about them. Following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, many Koreans were out of work and it is believed that, for many, video games helped fill their free time. Slowly but surely, internet café-style shops began opening up all across the country, allowing groups of players to play certain games together online or face off against other players and teams.
As time wore on, eSports became a regulated activity in South Korea and the tournaments that were hosted not only grew in quantity, but also saw their prize monies increase exponentially. Before anyone knew it, there were people who were referring to playing video games for money competitively as a sport. Though this is something that is still debated today, the fact of the matter is that there are professional leagues and tournaments as well as hundreds of thousands of players who, quite literally, make their living playing video games.
Popular eSports Organizations
Because the eSports world is still so young, it is like many other sports when they were first gaining a footing; very disjointed. As to which professional league is the best, your guess is as good as anyone else’s. By most accounts, however, there are two eSports organizations that seem to rule the pack. For United States and North American-based players, this organization is known as MLG, or Major League Gaming. In Europe, however, the Electronic Sports League reigns supreme.
Major League Gaming is, in many ways, like what FIFA is to soccer. It is the governing body that overseas the many similar, yet very different events that take place. For example, in a given year the MLG pro-circuit will play host to competitions where 5 or more different games are played through different mediums (ie. PC, Xbox1, PS3). Each game is made up of players and teams who compete against each other over the course of what can best be described as a season.
The Electronic Sports World Cup, on the other hand, is more of a tournament where qualifiers from all over the world compete to be crowned champion of whatever game they consider their specialty to be. While the MLG features more of a structured league type setting, the Electronic Sports World Cup is a huge tournament that can see massive upsets happen at any given moment.
In addition to these more prominent leagues, there are plenty of smaller ones existing throughout the world. In fact, the eSports world is growing at such a rapid pace that a number of countries are beginning to develop a governing body to help regulate competition that happens within a certain country or jurisdiction.
How to Bet on eSports Events
When it comes to betting on eSports, it really couldn’t get any simpler. Though some people might hate to hear it, eSports carry themselves in much the same way that traditional sports do. As such, the betting options you have are quite similar to what you will find for a professional soccer match or a professional football game.
Naturally, betting on eSports is something that is best done so long as you understand what it is that you are wagering on. Games are updated and changed all the time, and in the same breath, new players enter onto the scene much faster than they do in traditional sports. These two facts alone make keeping up with the ever-changing world of eSports a critical facet of things; that is, if you want to ever place a successful wager.
When it comes down to it, you will be betting on either players or teams to win certain video games. For more popular games, such as those that exist in the Call of Duty series, you might find more refined propositions such as an over/under pertaining to the number of kills accrued by a team and/or a specific individual. There will be odds listed for each team, and you simply make a selection and hope that it is the correct one.
Because there are so many different types of eSports events and games being played within those events, it is not easy to explain what a traditional betting line might look like. After all, some might feature a spread while others will only feature a betting option that forces you to pick a winner from two options. As with anything, it is imperative that you do your research with regard to eSports betting before ever placing a wager.
It does not take much time to familiarize yourself with the top players and leagues. In addition to that, some bettors are amateur players of the games that are being played professionally, so this might give you a better understanding of what it is you are wagering on. Like anything in the sports betting world, a solid amount of research will often lead you in a winning direction. This is true of any sport, but even more valid when you begin talking about eSports betting.