The rise and rise of e-Sports betting



Remember the days playing Alex the Kidd in Miracle World, NBA Jam, Super Mario Kart, Golden Eye or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and thinking how good it would be if that was your job? Well, the rise of e-Sports has made that fantasy a modern-day reality. And while the classification of video games as a sport remains controversial, e-Sports is a big deal, with pro gamers raking in huge prize money and sponsorship.

E-Sports is also one of the few sports essentially immune to the coronavirus crisis that has crippled codes worldwide. Consequently, e-Sports betting’s popularity is soaring – and Sportsbet boasts a wide range of e-Sports odds and markets for our punters.

What is e-Sports…and is it a sport?

E-Sports (or eSports), in the simplest terms, is competitive video gaming. It is split into video game genres – including multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), fighting, battle royales, card games, real-time strategy (RTS) and first-person shooter (FPS) – and is governed by international bodies.

League of Legends, Dota, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft and even old classics like Tetris are among the most prominent games and franchises in the e-Sports sphere, while professional players compete as part of teams in leagues worldwide. It is especially popular in Asia, Europe and the United States. As well as online streaming viewing, television coverage has also become widespread.

E-Sports’ status as a sport is still very much up for debate and is largely a matter of perspective. Fans and pundits of traditional sports may scoff, but the fact is elite e-Sports require skill, dedication and countless hours of intense training. Several countries recognise e-Sports as a sport and pro gamers as athletes, while the International Olympic Committee is considering its inclusion in future Games (albeit only in sports-simulating games).

The explosion in e-Sports betting is also helping legitimise it as a genuine sport.

E-Sports navigates COVID-19 crisis

E-Sports naturally has an advantage over traditional team and individual sports amid the coronavirus crisis. While several tournaments were initially cancelled, e-Sports moved from in-person LAN (local area network) events to competitions in a remote online format. No human contact necessary, therefore no risk.

Since most of the world has gone into lockdown or some sort of quasi-isolation, online gaming platforms are recording unprecedented volumes of users. Sidelined sports are also getting onboard, with Formula One streaming a virtual e-Sports version of its races with the likes of superstar driver Max Verstappen competing.

E-Sports betting has emerged as a saviour for sports-starved punters during the pandemic. No other code currently has more tournaments or matches to bet on.

The e-Sports leagues and teams to watch out for


The ESL Pro League is a professional e-Sports league based on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a first-person shooter game. CS:GO – ESL Pro League’s 11th season is currently underway, with 12 teams from Europe, five teams from the USA, three from Russia, and one each from Brazil, Ukraine, Australia and China competing.

Teams are split into four groups, with Astralis (Austria), forZe (Russia), Team Vitality (France) and Ninjas in Pyjamas (Sweden) among the outfits to impress during the early group stage matches, which are played under a best-of-three maps format. E-Sports odds are available on all CS:GO – ESL Pro League matches. 

LOL – LPL Spring Split

The League of Legends Pro League – China’s professional league based on the beloved multiplayer online battle arena video game – is in its ninth year and currently rolling out its LOL – LPL spring season. Team eStar is currently leading the 17-strong league, with Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix – the winners of the 2019 spring and summer competitions respectively – not far behind.

E-Sports odds are available on all LOL – LPL Spring Split matches with Sportsbet.

Dota 2 

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena video game, a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). Several leagues are underway concurrently, with leagues in Asia particularly prominent. In 2019, Australian teenager Anathan Pham rocketed to the highest-paid sports star list with earnings of $4.62 million, when he and his team won a Dota 2 tournament. Just goes to show that gaming can be a productive activity.

Odds and markets are available on Sportsbet for all Dota 2 match-ups, which operate under a best-of-three maps system.

How does e-Sports betting work?

E-sports betting is essentially similar to betting on traditional sports. A range of E-sports odds are available on all e-Sports matches, including Head to Head Match Betting, Correct Score (best-of-three maps), Total Maps, Map Handicap, and Head to Head betting on individual Maps.

E-Sports’ meteoric rise in popularity with both participants and viewers has seen it become entrenched on the sports betting landscape – and its imperviousness to the COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified e-Sports’ burgeoning status. With a plethora of leagues and teams vying for supremacy, there’s no shortage of e-Sports betting options for Sportsbet’s customers.

Sportsbet has betting options available on all e-Sports matches, including in the CS:GO – ESL Pro League, LOL – LPL Spring Split and Dota 2 leagues. Bet now.

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