Esports Betting in the UK: 2021 Ultimate Guide

Esports has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s most popular spectator sports. There are many sites now offering a variety of esports markets choose from, along with a thriving community of punters.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about esports betting in the UK. We will take you through esports and betting statistics for the UK market, as well as the legality surrounding esports betting in the UK. We will touch on the top esports betting sites in 2021, popular esports titles to bet on, types of betting markets, and tips on how to maximise your esports bets. Feel welcome to see other esports countries reports here. 

 

Top 21 UK Esports Betting Sites for 2021

We have compiled a list of the top 21 UK esports betting sites for 2021 to save you the hassle of doing the research yourself! The list has a variety of traditional bookmakers, as well as sites that focus specifically on esports, so you can choose for yourself which site is best for you.

While putting together this list, we factored in the following: the bookie’s reputation, how competitive their odds are, the esports titles and markets on offer, the level of customer service provided, and promotions you can use. Each bookie mentioned below is fully regulated and licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

bet365

bet365 sits at the top of our list due to its commitment to value. With a long standing reputation in traditional sports betting, this well-renowned bookmaker has made a conscious effort to listen to esports fans, pulling out all the stops to make your betting experience as good as possible.

Their site is very efficient and easy to use, with a spectacular customer support service that provides you with all the tools you will ever need. They also offer various betting markets for the most popular esports titles around, as well as some of the most competitive pre-match odds. bet365's esports bonus is also pretty great, with up £100 in Bet Credits for new customers, giving you the chance to try out some betting markets and esports titles before committing any real money on your wagers. For the full lowdown on everything that this trusted bookie has to offer, check out our bet365 esports review.

Bet on esports at bet365

 

Betway

Betway is another well-established and trusted bookmaker that has included esports betting alongside their other sports options, and have done an absolutely amazing job of it too. First off, their customer support is superb, offering live chat and email services, along with a huge FAQ section specifically for those looking to bet on esports.

At the time of writing, this bookmaker also gifts new customers with the best sign-up bonus of all the sites currently offering esports betting. With €30 in free bets, you essentially receive a 100% deposit esports bonus for you to have some fun with! Betway has more esports titles and markets on offer than any other site, all with very competitive odds, which is great for beginners and experienced punters alike. Check out our full Betway esports review to find out more.

Bet on esports at Betway

 

GG.Bet

GG.Bet is an esports betting site that has already accumulated a huge fan base, despite how new they are to the overall scene.

Because they are an esports-specific bookmaker, gg.bet offers a range of genres and a plethora of esports titles to choose from. Their odds are also highly favourable, and you can bet on so many markets. They provide excellent customer support, bonuses for new customers, and constant promotions for regular punters. Read our full GG.Bet esports review.

Bet on esports at GG.Bet

 

Luckbox

Luckbox is arguably the best site for experienced esports bettors looking to capitalise on more intricate betting markets. They are popular with the esports betting community, and also offer a massive bonus for new customers wanting to join the fun. Their customer support is top-notch, with speedy replies to emails and a jam-packed FAQ section. The varied selection of payment methods available is also very impressive.

Customers will be met with a wide variety of betting markets for popular titles like League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO, along with fewer but still-great options for Fortnite. The vast choice of markets on offer gives experienced punters the chance to bet on scenarios that can happen during any esport match. Luckbox also supports an array of live betting options and the ability to live stream tournaments right from the site, making your overall experience as smooth and comfortable as possible. 

Bet on esports at Luckbox

Midnite Esports

Midnite Esports opened its doors to the public in 2019, and has already garnered a very positive reputation. Together with great bonuses and decent odds, the site also offers a wide range of esports titles to bet on, with a total of 15 markets.

A unique service that is offered by Midnite Esports is a whole section dedicated to explaining the various in-play betting options, with a designated area to discuss these options with other users. Their live betting features are excellent, and the site's in-built technology does a fantastic job at reducing transmission latency.

 

OneHash

The fact that OneHash only offers payments in Bitcoin lowers payment fees drastically, and makes it one of the more affordable betting sites for users wishing to bet with cryptocurrency.

The site also provides a one-time deposit bonus of up to 1BTC for new customers, which is really impressive. Aside from that, it offers a range of esports titles, competitive odds, and a very user-friendly website and app.

Bet on esports at OneHash

 

Pixel.bet

Pixel.bet is a particularly ideal esports betting site for those in the UK who are just starting out.

The site is very user-friendly, allowing you to navigate between odds, esports titles, and your profile with ease. Pixel.bet also provides great odds for multiple esports titles, so you can experiment with different markets and try out different wagers. You can find a more comprehensive overview of this site in our Pixel.bet esports review.

Bet on esports at Pixel.bet

SportsBetting.ag

SportsBetting.ag has a long history and great reputation in the sports betting industry – one which has successfully transferred over to their esports betting section.

This bookmaker offers live betting options and a ton of payment options to choose from, giving you the power to choose how you want to bet. They provide competitive odds for many esports betting markets, making it a great choice for both beginners and advanced esports punters. Whether you want to stick to moneyline options or have fun with more intricate betting markets, SportsBetting.ag has the market and esports title for you.

Bet on esports at SportsBetting.ag

 

Unikrn

Unikrn is known for its various special bets options. This is awesome for more experienced esports punters, as it can be hard to find these bet types for the certain esports video games or markets.

Worry not, however; for beginners, Unikrn is just as good. It offers moneyline betting, handicaps, totals and several other markets that you can comfortably bet on if you are just starting out. You'll find high pre-match betting odds in place, with their other odds very favourable too. On top of all this, their customer support is very efficient, and you can speak to an agent quickly and easily via email or live chat if you run into any issues. To learn more, check out our full Unikrn esports review.

Bet on esports at Unikrn

 

Puntt.gg

Along with being one of the only League of Legends betting sites in the UK that offers pool betting (as well as being one one of the CS:GO betting sites in the UK that offers this too), this bookie has so many esports betting markets to choose from that signing up to Puntt.gg should be a no-brainer. Even if you are only interested in pool betting on these two aforementioned titles, you will be in for a treat.

Punt.gg have also committed to the community it has fostered on the site, offering superior odds to the other betting sites operating in the UK.

Bet on esports at Puntt.gg

 

Thunderpick

Thunderpick has a reputation, and a great one at that. Not only are they a very trusted UK bookie with great customer support, but their odds in particular are also praised very highly. Moreover, their odds are known to be very competitive compared to other esports betting sites; specifically, their pre-match and outrights/futures odds.

Their welcome bonus is spectacular, offering up to €500 on your first deposit, giving you the chance to kick off your esports betting journey with a bang. For full details on this esports betting site has to offer, head to our full Thunderpick review.

Bet on esports at Thunderpick

 

Unibet

Unibet has been recognised with many betting-related awards over the last few years, ranking amongst the top esports betting sites and the best CS:GO betting sites in the UK. They offer new customers a $25 risk-free bet, giving you the opportunity to try your luck before diving into real-money betting options.

This betting site also provides wagers for all the popular esports titles, as well as some niche markets, with a selection of live betting, pre-match, and outright options to choose from. And, if you do run into any problems, their 24/7 live chat will be sure to help you out. For the complete rundown on this bookie, read our Unibet esports review.

Bet on esports at Unibet

 

Buff.bet

Buff.bet is another esports betting site that provides a lot, and we mean, a lot of special bets – over 20 types, in fact. With a variety of esports titles to bet on, you will not be disappointed. Odds on special bets, as well as other betting markets available, are pretty competitive, and you can place these wagers on pre-match betting, live betting, and outright/futures markets.

However, the most notable upside is the site itself. It's very user-friendly and easy to navigate, with each esports title having its game logo right next to it for clarity's sake. Moreover, its customer support is available around the clock, ready to help at any time of day. Read more about what they offer in our Buff.bet esports review.

Bet on esports at Buff.bet

 

William Hill

William Hill is one of the most well-known betting sites in the UK. Their venture into esports betting has not disappointed, with a range of betting options for League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO.

FIFA betting in the UK is not available with every British bookmaker, but William Hill actually provides markets for this game, which is great. With favourable odds and great welcome bonuses, you'll be guaranteed a great (and profitable) experience, whether you are a newbie or an avid esports punter. For more information on their betting markets and available payment options, head to our William Hill esports review.

Bet on esports at William Hill

Pinnacle

Although the site does not offer welcome bonuses at the moment, Pinnacle do offer some of the highest odds of any of its competitors. And, if you are a high roller, this bookie will even reward you with higher limits!

Pinnacle also offers a huge choice of betting markets on tons of esports titles, giving everyone the chance to have fun and win big. We go into a lot more detail about the perks of betting with this site in our Pinnacle esports review.

Bet on esports at Pinnacle

 

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes is another well-known betting site that offers great odds on League of Legends, CS:GO, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, with a number of betting markets to choose from.

With a free bet of up to £50, along with various payment options to choose from and stellar customer service, Ladbrokes is a reputable and trustworthy betting site with whom you can start your esports betting journey. We went into detail about what the site offers in our Ladbrokes esports review.

Bet on esports at Ladbrokes

Betfair

Betfair is another trusted and well-renowned bookmaker that offers a range of esports titles, betting markets, and odds. Aside from its sportsbook, the site provides a betting exchange service that allows you to bet against other players, rather than merely against the bookmaker. To learn more about this, check out our Betfair esports review.

Bet on esports at Betfair

 

EnergyBet

EnergyBet has skyrocketed in popularity with esports bettors because of the site’s variety of esports titles on offer, as well as the types of betting markets available and the competitive odds on these options. Whether you want to bet on League of Legends, CS:GO, FIFA or Rocket League, and are a beginner or more experienced punter, there is a market for you. Its 100% bonus and €200 on your first deposit is also a great gift to get you going. We explain what else they offer in our EnergyBet esports review.

Bet on esports at EnergyBet

BetOnline

BetOnline have one of the best promotions of its competitors, favourable odds, a range of betting markets to choose from, great customer support and over 10 popular esports titles to bet on.

Most notably, BetOnline offers really high odds on pre-match betting, which is the main reason a lot of customers really value this particular bookie. For a more detailed overview of this site, head to our BetOnline esports review.

Bet on esports at BetOnline

 

22Bet

22Bet has a great reputation behind it, with many satisfied punters enjoying their various esports titles and markets on offer; in particular, the CS:GO markets. High rollers will also not be disappointed, leaving you feeling as though the sky were the limit!

Bet on esports at 22bet

 

LeoVegas

LeoVegas is one of the biggest mobile casinos that offers esports betting, alongside its sports and casino products. With many awards to its name, highly competitive odds, a range of esports titles, and more betting markets than you can shake a stick at, LeoVegas is one of the top esports betting sites in the UK.

While it does cover more significant esports tournaments, this bookie does its best to provide wagers for niche events too. With a generous welcome bonus that boosts your first two bets up to 100%, what's not to love? Read more about this site in our LeoVegas esports review.

Bet on esports at LeoVegas

 

Popular Esports Titles to Bet on in the UK

The sheer number of esports titles you can bet on has increased significantly over the last couple of years. With many of the top esports betting sites in the UK, you will find a range of games covered. Whether you enjoy betting on MOBAs, shooters, or other genres loved by many in the esports community, most betting sites will offer wagers on at least one of the most popular titles from each genre.

Let us take a look at the esports titles you are most likely to see on almost every bookie’s esports page.

League of Legends Betting Sites in the UK

League of Legends (LoL) is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Riot Games. LoL was released in 2009, and is now one of the biggest esports titles around, with many tournaments running throughout the year.

The aim of the game is for a team of five to battle it out against another team of five, both defending their bases and attempting to destroy the enemy team’s structure. As a player, you have a variety of roles to choose from, including Top, Bot, ADC, Support, and Jungle, which you lock in before the match starts. You can select one of over 140 champions, all with their own set of abilities and styles of play. With many League of Legends betting sites in the UK to choose from, we strongly recommend you check out our League of Legends esports betting guide to find one that suits you best.

Overwatch Betting Sites in the UK

Overwatch, commonly categorised as a hero shooter, is a team-based multiplayer first-person-shooter (FPS) developed by Blizzard. The game was released in 2016 and took off instantly, resulting in a huge player and esports community.

The game assigns two teams with six players each, with the objective of either defending or attacking set objectives. The game modes differ from map to map, with Escort, Hybrid, Control, and Assault on constant rotation as you queue up for a game. Each team has two DPS, two supports, and two tanks, and must follow the objective’s rules in the allocated time to win. There is a plethora of heroes to choose from depending on your play style, with each hero having their own special abilities. Find out more in our in depth Overwatch esports betting guide.

CS:GO Betting Sites in the UK

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is one of the most popular multiplayer first-person-shooter games, developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. Released in 2012, the CS:GO community grew quickly, with a healthy and thriving esports fan base.

The game’s structure revolves around two teams, one assigned as the Terrorists and the other as the Counter-Terrorists, tasked with eliminating the enemy while also completing another set objective. The terrorists are supposed to either plant the bomb or defend hostages, while the Counter-Terrorists must prevent the bomb from being defused, defuse the bomb if planted, or rescue the hostages. CS:GO gambling sites in the UK are amongst the most popular for esports fans, so if you're after some useful betting tips, check out our CS:GO esports betting guide.

Fortnite

Fortnite is a free-to-play online battle royale game developed by Epic Games. Since its initial release in 2017, the title has truly taken the world by storm. Years on, the community is still going strong, having also developed a big esports following. 

The game has 100 players skydive into an island, where they must find weapons and gear to fight against other players until they are the only ones left alive. The playable area of the map gradually constricts, with those outside the safe zone (known as “the Storm”) losing health. The game is unique in the sense that players are able to use resources to build walls to defend or attack other players. For more information about Fortnite's esports community, betting markets, and tips, head over to our Fortnite esports betting guide.

Rocket League

Rocket League is a free-to-play vehicular soccer game developed by Psyonix. Released in 2015, Rocket League has become one of the most popular titles of its kind, with a huge community and fan base.

The game involves you and the enemy team competing by scoring as many goals as possible in the allocated time. Players use their own rocket-powered vehicles to hit the ball and score points, with the team having the most points at the end of the match declared the winners. We have explained all you need to know about Rocket League’s esports scene, betting options, and our top betting tips in our Rocket League esports betting guide.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is another popular MOBA, developed by Valve and released in 2013. Dota 2 is played in matches with two teams of five players, each team’s goal being to hold or defend their base. Each player picks a hero that has its own set of unique abilities and play styles. The winner is crowned when a team is first to destroy the other team’s structure, known as the “Ancient”. For more information about Dota 2, as well as the variety of betting markets and betting tips, check out our Dota 2 esports betting guide.

Other Notable Esports Titles to Consider Betting on

We have gone over the most popular esports titles in the UK at the moment, but there are many more that have a thriving community and a structured tournament format. Among these are Call of Duty, Hearthstone, StarCraft 2, FIFA, and Valorant. These markets are more niche and are not offered by all bookmakers, but are still very much worth betting on.

Types of Bets You Can Place on Esports

The esports betting markets available depend on the title you are betting on. For the most popular esports games running at the moment, you will typically find moneyline bets, handicaps, outrights, futures, and prop bets offered by most bookies. Let us take a look below at the ways you can bet on esports in the UK, and which titles generally offer these different bet types.

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting markets are considered the easiest and most straightforward way to bet on esports in the UK. If you are new to esports betting or a particular esports title, this market could be a great starting point for you.

With moneyline markets, you'll be required to bet on a team that you think will win a match without factoring in how many rounds are won/lost, or if anything in particular happens during the game. This takes the pressure off, and you won't need to anticipate too far ahead and predict the total outcome of the tournament, or consider any specificities during the match. The chances of predicting the winner accurately are even higher with this market, as the odds on display indicate which team is the favourite and the underdog. Using this knowledge, as well as researching how both teams have performed previously against other teams and each other, will help you make an educated bet.

This betting market is available for all esports titles, as it is a pretty standard betting option that is offered by many (almost all) bookmakers.

Handicaps

Handicap bets (also known as spreads) are slightly more complex than moneyline bets. However, this betting market is great if you are rooting for an underdog. If you have developed a decent understanding of the esports title you are betting on and know generally how each team tends to perform in different matchups, this could be a fruitful betting market to wager on.

These bets require you to choose a spread of how many matches you think a select team will win. This means that you either bet on the favourite to have a clean sweep, or on the underdog to win at least one game. The underdog does not have to win the entire series, but they must take at least one map in order for you to win your wager. You can get much better odds on this betting market, as there is more detail required for you to successfully predict the outcome, so if you are betting on the underdog, handicap bets are ideal.

Most esports titles will have this wager as an option, as in most tournaments the teams/players will have to play more than one match in a series to determine a winner.

Outrights

Outright winner betting markets are very common in the world of esports, and because multiple tournaments run throughout the year, they are markets you will see pretty often. If you feel confident in being able to successfully predict the winner of an entire event, then this betting market is for you.

Outright winner bets are wagers that allow you to predict which team you think will win the whole competition. Available before the tournament begins, these wagers are not typically displayed once the event has started. These betting markets can be tricky in esports, however, as changes to team rosters and the addition of new teams can limit your ability to predict how the teams will perform in the season. Tournament finalist betting markets provide you with more leeway, so we advise starting off with these before moving your way toward the outright winner option. However, if you are an esports veteran and want to support a team all the way to the finish line, you will love this betting option.

Totals

Totals are similar to handicap betting markets, in the sense that they focus more on the number of games played rather than the winner of the series. If you are not super familiar with the specific teams in the tournament you are wanting to bet on, but know the ins and outs of the tournament's format, this will be an easy enough wager for you.

This betting market gives you the chance to wager on how you think the match will play out, such as whether the team will clean sweep their opponents or if the match will go to the maximum number of games. Depending on the number of total rounds playable in a series, the number presented will differ. For example, if you are betting on Overwatch, you will see options of 3.5 or 4.5, as there is a limit of five games in each series. If you are more familiar with the structure of the tournament in question and not really fussed about a team winning, this is a brilliant betting option for you.

This betting market is rarer for more niche esports titles, but you will definitely be able to place totals wagers on the most popular games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, and CS:GO.

Prop Bets

Prop bets, commonly referred to as specials, are very specific wager options that we would only recommend to seasoned esports punters. They're a great way of spicing up your betting experience and can result in some big winnings.

These wagers are based on specific scenarios that may occur during a game, whether that be first kill, correct map score, correct game score, and so on. This betting market requires you to have very extensive knowledge of the game you are betting on, so make sure you have done your research thoroughly before attempting to place a wager.

For games such as League of Legends and CS:GO, this option is more common than more niche titles. Additionally, not every bookie offers these betting markets, so make sure the bookie you choose has these wagers available.

 

Tips for Successful Esports Betting

To ensure that you wagers perform well and to start broadening your knowledge on different betting markets, you should be familiar with a few key fundamentals. Below are tips we recommend to maximise your betting experience.

Know the Esports Title You Are Betting on

You would normally not bet on a sports team or a sport you know nothing about; not only would it be extremely difficult, but it wouldn't be particularly fun either. The same principle should be applied to esports betting.

Doing your research, and even playing the game yourself, will boost your chances of success tremendously. You will learn so much about the rules along with the different strategies that are involved, and it will make your watching experience much more entertaining.

Understand the Tournament’s Format

For any esports title, there is a set tournament format. This will give you insight on the various events running and how long they will be going on for. As there are several events running for each esport throughout the year, knowing which are the most important will allow you to focus and narrow down your research on what you want to bet on specifically.

Be aware of any tournament changes too, as they can impact the betting markets available. For example, the structure of Rainbow Six Siege esports and Overwatch has changed for 2021, so it is wise to check out our Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch guide to see how this will affect your bets.

Keep an Eye on Developer Updates

As well as tournament format changes, developers often release updates to make sure that the game is as balanced and fair as possible towards players. New features are also added frequently to keep things interesting.

Knowing what has changed and if there have been any additions to a video game is imperative for placing good bets. This is mainly because these changes can significantly hinder or boost a team’s performance throughout the season. Being able to capitalise on these changes and the performance of certain teams will take your bets to the next level.

Be Active Within the Community

Every esports title has a fan base that enjoys discuss the game, as well as the tournaments running throughout the year. Being a part of this community can give you useful insights into what experienced fans or players are saying about certain changes or recent occurences.

You can find these communities on social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, or Twitch.

Bet Smart

The best way to maximise your bets is to be self-aware. Knowing how much you don’t know and how much you have to learn will ease you into the esports betting scene without feeling overwhelmed. Taking the time to research betting markets and the title you want to bet on is one thing, but actually executing wagers can be daunting.

For beginners, we recommend starting off with welcome bonuses to try out a few betting markets and familiarise yourself with how they work. The safest would be moneyline markets, because all you need to figure out is who will win the series – nothing more and nothing less.

If you are more experienced, handicaps and totals can help you maximise your winnings – as long as you have a solid understanding of the game and the teams within the tournaments.

We also recommend trying out some prop bets if you are a veteran esports punter and want to really have some fun. These markets can be very rewarding, but require an extensive understanding of the game, so make sure that you really know your stuff!

Popular Payment Methods for Esports Betting Sites in the UK

There are many payment methods to choose from on esports betting sites in the UK. We've compiled some of the most popular to help you decide which one you would prefer to use.

Skrill

Skrill is a very popular online digital wallet that lets you make transactions to many countries worldwide, and is used by punters everywhere. For more details, check out our Skrill esports  review.

 

NETELLER

NETELLER has become an attractive payment option for online betting in the UK, as it makes depositing and withdrawing funds cost-effective, secure and speedy. We have the full lowdown on this payment option in our NETELLER esports review.

 

 

PayPal

Many of the most popular esports betting websites in the UK offer PayPal as a payment option. However, PayPal transactions have fees attached and these vary from site to site, so be sure to check out our full PayPal esports review for more information.

 

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is one of the most used cryptocurrencies for esports betting in the UK. This alternative payment option comes with its own set of pros and cons, which we have detailed in our in-depth Bitcoin esports review.

 

Esports and Betting Statistics for the UK Market

It may seem strange that esports is watched by millions of people, and that many younger fans are dabbling in real-money esports betting. However, if you look at it from this generation’s point of view, it is pretty simple; they grew up playing and watching their favourite competitive games, and now that they are old enough, they are able to place their own bets on their favourite esports titles and teams.

Extensive data has been collected over the years surrounding esports and esports betting, and we will go through these statistics to figure out the main factors that have contributed to the rise in watching esports, as well as the demand for esports betting options in the UK market.

 

Esports Statistics in the UK

Generally speaking, the esports industry is one of the most innovative and fastest growing sectors in recent years. Once a niche sector that was largely overshadowed by more traditional sports, it has now successfully burst into the mainstream. Due to its upward trajectory, it is not surprising at all that many potential consumers want to know more about esports as a whole, and how or whether they can get involved.

Current statistics show that most of the revenue generated globally comes from Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, and Europe. The involvement of mainstream celebrities, investors, brands, media outlets and consumers has also served to accelerate the industry’s growth. Moreoever, Business Insider predicts a total of 9% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023, meaning that total esports viewership is expected to rise from 454 million in 2019 to a whopping 646 million in 2023.

To contextualise the breadth of the esports industry in the UK, it is wise to know the economic impact the industry has had in the UK. A study performed by Ukie found that the esports sector has grown at an annual average rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019. To add on to this, the UK esports sector alone represents just under 8% of the global market, consequently towering over other regions worldwide. Already a multi-million dollar industry, the UK market sits as the third largest, with both operators and the government supporting its continuous growth.

Esports market revenue worldwide from 2018 to 2023 in million U.S. Dollars

(source: www.statista.com)

 

What does this all mean, though? Well, the thriving economic growth of the esports industry has piqued interest from many companies and celebrities who are willing to dip their toes into the sector. In fact, David Beckham actually launched his own esports organisation, Guild Esports, in 2019, and the company is currently listed on the London Stock Exchange, sitting on a £41.2m valuation. There are also thousands of UK pro players who compete in global esports tournaments, as well as tournament operators – such as ESL Gaming – providing several huge events throughout each year. Notable British corporations are getting involved too, with the BBC broadcasting esports tournaments and BT becoming one the first major UK brands to sponsor an esports team by the name of Excel Esports.

These figures, coupled with the involvement of some very high-profile names, is very impressive. They not only legitimise the industry, but also highlight the potential of a market set to grow by leaps and bounds in the years to come.

Betting Statistics in the UK

A common misconception is that the pandemic was the main accelerator for the rise in UK esports betting in 2020, but figures prove that this is simply not the case. Studies indicate that the industry had been performing significantly well before the pandemic hit, with the below image showing the total number of active player accounts from the biggest operators in the UK from March 2019 to May 2020.

In March 2019, esports punters spent a total of £50,223, and by March 2020, this amount had risen to a whopping £1.5 million, proving that there has been an increasing appetite for esports betting. Once the pandemic hit between March – April 2020, that figure increased by a further 124%. The 3,046% increase in consumer spending in just over a one-year period demonstrates that many are willing to wager on their favourite esports title, and are doing so in the tens and thousands.

With such a demand, highly reputable bookmakers have started providing esports markets for their customers, including the likes of bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Betway. These popular bookies offer betting options on some of the biggest esports titles around, such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. Many endemic esports bookmakers are coming to fruition too, gaining the reputation needed to be trusted by consumers while using their very specific knowledge of esports to provide a wider variety of titles to bet on, together with more intricate betting markets.

Legality of Esports Betting in the UK

The short answer is yes, but there are still some things worth bearing in mind. Below, we've included some more insight into how esports betting became legal in the UK, and the ways in which the industry is regulated to ensure punters are protected while placing wagers.

Is It Legal to Bet on Esports in the UK?

In the early days of esports, there was a huge problem with skins betting that developers and tournament organisers had to contend with. Although there was no official support for these illegal sites, they were still very popular among fans who wanted to bet on their favourite games but had no other way of doing so. These skins betting websites would allow players to trade ‘skins' (in-game items that change a character's appearance) illegally, resulting in many people being scammed.

Tournament organisers and game developers took this controversy on board, recognising the need for regulated esports betting markets. As esports events became bigger and bigger, with audiences growing at an unprecedented speed, these companies worked with the local government and the UK Gambling Commission to license specialised esports bookmakers and esports markets on mainstream sportsbooks. This was to ensure that the gaming community could bet safely, securely and legally.

Today, the UK esports market is strongly regulated, with a plethora of trusted betting sites offering esports wagers for those looking to bet on a variety of games. This means that, if you live in the UK, you can readily bet on an esports title of your choosing, as long the online bookie in question is licensed (more on this later). More bookies are now getting involved more than ever, with even the most popular and experienced operators that have long focused on traditional sports jumping on board.

The UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission is the legal body responsible for licensing UK betting sites. As part of the Gambling Act 2005, they regulate all commercial gambling in the UK, including spread betting, prize competitions, pool betting, and the National Lottery. Any bookie wanting to offer UK punters online wagers on various betting markets must hold a licence from the UKGC.

Although esports is still relatively new to the world of betting, the above applies to any bookie offering esports wagers to consumers, meaning that they must hold a UK licence obtained through the UK Gambling Commission to operate in the country. To check if a bookie you want to sign up to has this licence, check at the bottom of their homepage. It may not necessarily be in that particular section, but it should be clearly displayed on their site, so make sure to look out for it. Do not open any accounts with a bookmaker until you have found this licensing information. It's also important to note that some esports bookies based overseas do not hold licences to operate in the UK, so be wary of that too when looking to bet with non-UK esports betting sites.

 

Esports Betting in the UK – FAQs

1. Which is the best esports betting site in the UK?

It all depends on what esports titles and betting markets you want place wagers on. Before you sign up to any bookie, it's worth comparing the odds with its competitors and seeing how favourable they are. Make sure you look at the site’s reviews and ensure that it has a solid customer support service.

2. Can I bet on esports with mainstream UK bookmakers?

Yes – there are a ton of traditional bookies in the UK that have added esports betting to their portfolio. Examples of these bookmakers would be bet365, Betway, Ladbrokes, and William Hill, who all offer competitive odds and a variety of markets on many esports games and tournaments.

3. Should I bet with these mainstream bookies or specialised esports betting sites?

While esports betting sites tend to be run by enthusiasts who both understand and appreciate esports on a deeper level, mainstream bookmakers have done a great job at researching the industry and offer great odds and a wide variety of markets.

4. How do I know a UK betting site offering esports is legit?

A UK bookie offering esports must hold a UK licence issued by the UK Gambling Commission. This can usually be found on the site’s home page, so make sure you double check that the site you are choosing to bet with is legally allowed to operate and is licensed accordingly.

5. How similar is esports betting to traditional sports betting?

Esports betting and traditional sports betting are very similar. You choose something to bet on – be it a sport or a video game – then pick a betting market to place a wager on, and wait for the outcome to see if you have won your bet.

6. Do bookmakers offer esports betting all year round?

Due to the multiple esports tournaments taking place for all the various esports titles available, yes bookmakers will most likely offer esports betting all year round.

7. Is betting on esports legal in the UK?

Yes, betting on esports is legal in the UK, as long as bookies are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

8. What are the best esports events to bet on in 2021 in the UK?

These would be Worlds 2021 (LoL), the Overwatch League, IEM Katowice (CS:GO), Valorant Champions Tour, and The International 2021 (Dota 2).

9. What are the top esports titles in 2021 in the UK?

These are League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, CS:GO, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six Siege.

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