One of the most anticipated StarCraft 2 tournaments is just around the corner, with the world's best players getting ready to fight for their share of $500,000 in prize money.
A legendary esports event, the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice is a CS:GO tournament held in Poland. In this guide, we'll go over all the participating teams, details about the schedule, as well as everything you need to know about IEM CS:GO betting!
The Dota Pro Circuit is in full flow. The next big tournament in this seasonal circuit is the PGL Arlington Major. Texas is the location, Esports Stadium Arlington is the venue of choice, and seventeen brilliant Dota 2 teams will be eyeing their chances here.
The LEC (League of Legends European Championship) is entering a new decade starting with the inaugural Winter split. From team rosters to an all-new tournament format, the league will be seeing much more competition.
Esports betting has taken off considerably in recent years, with esports betting sites in turn steadily increasing in numbers as well as traditional bookmakers getting involved with the market. Consequently, there are now many options to choose from when it comes to the best esports betting sites in 2023. Learn everything there is to know about it in this guide.
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We have made it easier for those who may not have the time to research by listing our own top 5 esports betting sites below based on their key features.
Bet365 is one of the most notable and reputable operators in both the traditional sports and esports betting scenes. They offer a variety of esports games to bet on, from super popular titles to more niche competitive scenes. They are considered to be the best esports bookmaker due to their highly competitive odds, stellar customer support service, and loads of promotions.
GG.BET is another highly popular bookmaker with great esports betting opportunities and odds. Their collection of betting markets is also impressive, ranging from simple match-winner (moneyline) bets to special bets tailored specifically for certain games. You’ll also be able to enjoy an excellent live betting experience while having access to live streams of numerous tournaments.
The services Betway provides to esports customers are near perfect, with more esports titles on offer than any other operator, making it easy to maneuver from one betting market to another. They also display competitive odds, promotions, and great customer service, resulting in a truly exceptional betting experience.
Pinnacle is a well-known name in the esports betting industry with a long and rich presence. In fact, Pinnacle is one of the oldest bookmakers, having been formed in 1998. And with this experience, Pinnacle has created a superb betting experience for punters of all kinds. You can expect highly competitive odds, an easy-to-use website, and plenty of tournaments to bet on.
If you’re looking for a bookie with an optimized traditional and esports betting experience, Rivalry is where it’s at. In fact, Rivalry is leaning more toward esports in recent times, and they’ve overhauled their offer of esports titles to bet on. You can expect to find betting markets for less popular esports games such as HALO, NBA 2K, World of Warcraft, and others. There are 23 titles available for betting which is quite a lot compared to other bookies.
As mentioned above, there are many factors that go into making a quality betting site. However, going through the painstaking process of researching all of these different aspects and seeing whether each suits you personally as a bettor can get a little bit tedious.
That is why we have done all the work for you. Below, we have explained how to choose the best bookie for you; all you need to do is visit the bookies we listed at the beginning of the article and compare each of these factors to pick the one you like most.
It is important to find out what other customers have to say about a site you are considering using by reading online reviews. When looking at these online reviews, pay close attention to the types of comments that are being placed. Are the reviews repetitive in nature? Are there any specific reviews that set off alarm bells in your head? How many reviews are there and how far apart are they placed from each other?
This will help you distinguish between authentic reviews and those created by employees to boost the site’s ratings. Everyone wants to be considered the best esports betting site, but unfortunately, not everyone uses honest tactics to gain that reputation.
If you reside in the UK, you are pretty much covered when it comes to betting safely with whichever site you choose, as long as you ensure their licence is legit (we have a section below telling you how to confirm this).
However, in grey-market regions and certain countries, the laws regarding online sports betting are either absent or very ambiguous. Because the legality surrounding less-regulated regions is often fluid and unclear, operators employ different methods when actively participating in their chosen market.
Because of the ambiguity in grey markets, we strongly advise you to take extra cautionary steps before betting online, and make sure that the operator is licensed and that betting in the region in question is legal.
Traditional sports bookmakers are gravitating to the flourishing world of esports, and are actively making an effort to be involved in the esports betting scene. Because of this, you will see many traditional sports bookies offering esports betting options for only the most notable and provenly successful esports titles (such as League of Legends or Fortnite).
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is always better when a betting site focuses on a range of titles.
Bookies offering odds for smaller or more niche esports titles are definitely worth keeping an eye out for. This proactivity tells us that the site has done more research than most into esports betting and has a clear understanding of the ecosystem, rather than merely testing the waters with the top esports titles.
This is why we believe that legit esports betting sites that offer a wide range of esports titles to bet on have a solid understanding of how the markets for these individual esports' are priced, and will likely offer you competitive and accurate odds.
Esports odds have become highly competitive, and bookies are always finding ways to outdo each other. It can be argued that esports odds are slightly better than the odds you’d find for traditional sports but this is primarily due to the influx of traditional sports bookies to the esports ecosystem.
The best way to go about this is to compare the odds that a couple of bookies offer and see whose odds are the most competitive. Each bookie calculates their odds in a specific manner so it’s important to keep an eye on them whenever you want to place your bets.
Esports markets are the same; there are always going to be bookies that try to make the betting markets they offer more entertaining and rewarding to punters. The best esports betting sites offer numerous markets to choose from, ensuring that both beginners and seasoned bettors can place their preferred bets with ease.
Many esports betting sites offer welcome bonuses and promotions to encourage players to sign up.
Welcome bonuses in particular are a great way for a beginner to try out a few bets out without fearing too much about the end result. These bonuses tend to vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, and their terms and conditions can sometimes make it difficult to compare the value of each one.
Even so, we recommend you pay close attention to the expiration dates to ensure you can actually benefit from these offers.
While welcome bonuses are a great tool to use to experiment with different types of bets, deposit bonuses are excellent for increasing your deposit amount. These bonuses are a solid option for more experienced punters who strongly believe they are in with a chance of winning.
Customer service can make or break any bookie. The quality of a bookie’s customer support system greatly affects customers’ overall satisfaction. If you encounter an issue and someone is not there to assist you quickly, you’ll end up feeling disgruntled and disappointed.
If the reviews you are looking at complement a site’s customer support staff, their support policies, and the different support channels they offer, that is a very positive sign. The good news is that most bookies nowadays have very capable support staff and excellent customer support capabilities so even if you run into any problems, they’ll most likely be dealt with in a timely manner with the help of the staff.
The sheer number of people using online payment options has pushed bookies to support upwards of 5 (in most cases) and some bookies even support more than 20 payment methods! This is good because punters need to be able to make deposits and withdraw their winnings.
Note: Certain bookies (like Thunderpick) allow only one type of payment method (in their case, cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin).
Live streaming, although not vital, is still a very useful feature to have on a bookie website as it gives the players the ability to watch the matches unfold on the same site as they’re betting on.
A betting site that is easily navigable but fully functional and fast makes it easier for bettors to have a good online experience.
Similarly, a site that offers a mobile app to place bets on just makes life so much easier. This means you will not need to be tied down to your deskbound device and are free to place your bets from practically anywhere. Most reputable sports bookies offer this alternative already, but many esports bookies are slowly developing their own apps too.
When it comes to ranking esports betting sites, you should take many factors into account. For one, it is not as simple as choosing a site that offers the most competitive odds. We look at esports betting sites closely, ensuring the ones we are recommending have a good reputation among the community.
Top bookmakers are tailored with reliable customer support and have user-friendly websites with markets for a range of titles, together with attractive promotions for new customers.
Because we look at these operators in detail, we make sure that each one, whether big or small, is fully legit. This means that they have all been licensed by reputable jurisdictions and regulatory bodies, and offer a multitude of useful features that will benefit beginners and experienced bettors alike.
We assure you that our recommendations are well-rounded, covering numerous aspects of what to look for and expect, thus saving you the time and effort of doing all this research yourself.
Generally speaking, the process of creating an account on a bookie website is pretty simple and quick. It’s worth noting that you may be able to start betting without an account (or a guest account), but you’ll have limited functionality, and you won’t be able to withdraw your winnings.
Here are the 5 steps you’ll need to take to create your account:
Nowadays, almost all traditional sports bookies also support esports betting; this wasn’t as true even just 5 years ago. The truth is, esports has become a global phenomenon and it’s also a lucrative industry for almost everyone involved.
All the best bookies noticed the potential that esports brings to the table early on and now they’re in the leading positions when it comes to esports betting. However, there are still a few key differences between these two bookie groups:
Because esports has become so popular, there are many game developers that are racing against each other intent on releasing the next hit. Some video games take years to become popular enough to enter the competitive world of esports, while others build up hype extremely quickly, picking up an almost instantaneous fan base.
League of Legends has been around for more than 10 years and in that time, it has risen to the top of the world when it comes to esports. Although LoL’s tournaments usually don’t have prize pools that are as large as in some other games’ events, they have the best production value and bring in millions of viewers each year. When all is said and done, there’s no denying that Riot Games’ esports direction of LoL has been outstanding and it’ll definitely stay popular in the foreseeable future.
Counter-Strike has been a household name in the world of gaming for decades. The pinnacle of the franchise’s existence has been CS:GO with some of the most prestigious and explosive esports tournaments around. If you want to enjoy competitive matches and unexpected outcomes, then CS:GO is the game for you.
Ask any esports fan which tournament out of all esports tournaments has the biggest prize pool and almost all of them will say – The International. Dota 2 is the proud ‘owner’ of featuring the tournament with the highest prize pools in the world, often surpassing 20 million dollars. On top of that, Dota 2’s roots are cemented in gaming history due to the popularity of Defense of the Ancients (The original Dota) two decades ago. Having said all this, there’s no doubt that Dota 2 is an incredibly popular esports game for both spectating and betting.
VALORANT is the newest game in our ‘most popular games for betting’ list but it’s also one of the fastest growing in terms of popularity, esports presence, and production value. Riot Games have slightly shifted their focus from League of Legends to make sure VALORANT gets and stays at the top of the food chain. And it definitely shows; for example, VALORANT Champions had more than 1.5 million peak viewers which is an astounding number for such a young game.
Rainbow Six Siege is one of the most tactical, strategic, and sometimes chaotic esports games. This is also what makes it so appealing to both players and punters. Rainbow Six events are often action-packed and can feature some unexpected results. However, it’s also pretty complex so rookie bettors might find themselves confused by what’s happening in the game. Nonetheless, if you like FPS games, R6S can be a great choice for placing some bets.
FIFA is a game that brings real-life and virtual football fans together like none other. The FIFA football franchise has been around for a long time and a large portion of gamers have played it when they were younger. Today, FIFA’s esports existence is filled with tournaments based on real-life events. It’s also one of the easier games to bet on since the rules are the same as in traditional football but you’d still need to do some research on the teams to maximize your chances of winning.
Starcraft is a well-known title to gamers who love RTS games; one that had a profound impact on the esports world when it was at its peak. It can be argued that without Starcraft, the esports ecosystem would look different because of the effect it had on fans, players, developers, and organizations alike. While it isn’t as popular as it once was, Starcraft 2 still has a loyal following and frequent annual tournaments.
Overwatch is a fast-paced first-person shooter with unique mechanics. It took the world by storm in 2016 following its release and it quickly became one of the most popular esports games in the world. However, with the release of Overwatch 2, Overwatch (the Original) has become obsolete and there are no more tournaments for that game. It’s also worth noting that Overwatch didn’t have as many esports tournaments as other games because the primary league was franchised where most events were part of the league. The same is true for Overwatch 2.
Fortnite is a name that’s synonymous with Battle Royale games and tournaments with immense prize pools. The top Fortnite tournaments feature more than $3,000,000 in prize money and, in fact, Fortnite has the second biggest tournament in terms of prize pool size with the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 ($30,000,000+). It’s also a lucrative choice for betting due to how many players participate in a single match but – this also makes it very risky.
With the diverse range of genres within the esports industry, from MOBAs to first-person shooters, the different markets available vary from title to title. Below, we go through the most common betting markets and explain what they mean.
This straightforward betting market asks you to choose which team you think will win the whole tournament, not just a set match between two opponents. Similarly, you can place wagers on who you think will be a tournament finalist, giving you yet another very simple betting option.
We recommend that you place wagers on this market if you are a beginner, as there are fewer variables you need to take into account compared to other, more intricate markets. For example, if you are dabbling in League of Legends esports betting, you will be able to bet on a team you are confident will win the LEC, LCK, LCS, Worlds and so on.
However, your winning chances will generally be lower since all the teams are in contention to win the tournament when this betting market is available (before a tournament starts) so although they’re easier due to fewer variables, they’re also riskier. Adjust your betting strategy accordingly.
This betting market is usually available on every esports title that gambling sites offer.
Moneyline betting markets are similar to tournament winner/tournament finalist options; you'll be asked to place a wager on which of two teams in a match you believe will win. All you have to research is the teams’ past performances, and how often they have won (or lost). It is a simple and very common market that appears on all esports betting sites.
Specials, also commonly referred to as prop bets, can be a lot of fun for more experienced bettors and esports fans. These bets require you to have a deep understanding of the esports title you wish to bet on, including the different ways the game in question can play out, and are most often found on League of Legends and Overwatch markets.
Common prop bets include: First Map in Series, First Blood, Odd/Even bets, Over/Under bets, First Dragon, and First Baron. These more complex bets can give you huge payouts if successful but are very risky as they are hard to predict.
Handicap bets (also known as spreads) mimic point spreads in traditional sports betting. This type of wager evens out the odds when there is a clear favourite and presents a good opportunity for beginners to start dabbling in some different betting options.
Handicaps refocus your predictions on how the match will play out, rather than which team you think will win. Betting on an underdog in this market is a great choice, because even if the underdog wins only one match and loses the series as a whole, you will still receive winnings.
You can also use handicaps to your advantage if you are really sure the favourite will win and, as long as the team gets a clean sweep in the series, you will be successful. Often found in markets for CS:GO, Overwatch, and League of Legends, Handicap bets can occasionally be available for other esports titles too.
Live betting provides you with the chance to place wagers after the match has started. This type of betting is ideally suited to more experienced bettors who have a good knowledge of the specific video game being played and is frequently offered for the biggest and most prestigious esports events.
Odds are displayed differently depending on your region. Fractional and decimal odds are mostly used in the UK, while moneyline odds are used in the US. They are all quite easy to get the hang of once you understand how to calculate them.
Having a reputable gaming licence ensures that an online bookmaker is 100% legit and legally allowed to operate. Below are the most common and trusted jurisdictions that are responsible for issuing licences to betting sites.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the gambling board for Malta, responsible for regulating most forms of gambling in the region. Operators that secure a Malta Gaming licence are permitted to advertise and provide iGaming operations to customers.
They are allowed to provide casino games and online slots, as well as fantasy sports, lotteries, and online gambling options. Esports betting sites that possess this licence are therefore legally able to offer esports bets; just double check that they are permitted to offer bets within your region.
Operators that have a Malta Gaming licence:
Gambling is legal and regulated in Panama, with the government’s gaming commission, Junta de Control de Juegos, permitting licensed operators to offer casino games, sports betting, poker and pari-mutuel racing betting to its customers.
Markets that benefit most from operators having a licence in Panama are the UK and sometimes, the US. Although double checking the reviews from operators with a Panama gambling licence is advised.
Operators that have a Panama gambling license:
Costa Rica does not offer a gaming licence per se, but that does not mean betting companies cannot operate from the country. New gambling sites must still be approved to operate in Costa Rica, and if successful, can provide various gambling services to customers and offer online betting services to those based outside the country.
We advise you to be cautious regarding other operators that claim to have a “licence” to gamble from Costa Rica, but the esports betting sites listed below are legally allowed to operate in Costa Rica and are legit.
Operators based in Costa Rica:
The United Kingdom Gaming Commission (UKGC) is the body responsible for regulating and supervising gambling/gaming laws in Great Britain. They possess the power to provide licences for operators wanting to provide gambling in the form of arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries and remote gambling, but not spread betting.
As the name suggests, operators with this licence can legally provide betting options for UK players. An operator with a licence from the UKGC is generally trustworthy, but further research should be conducted for a thorough check of the site’s general practices.
Operators licensed by the UKGC:
Betting in Isle of Man is regulated by the GCS, ensuring that customers are protected. They also offer licences for companies that want to provide betting options to consumers.
An operator with a licence from the Isle of Man is trustworthy; just make sure you have a look at the company’s reviews to see how they conduct their business in a more general manner.
The Curaçao gaming licence is one of the most popular of its kind in the gambling industry due to its one-size-fits-all approach. This makes it especially popular among new esports gambling sites, as it offers licences that allow them to offer a plethora of gambling options to punters.
As it is among the most obtained licences for gambling companies, you will see many operators with this licence, and it is definitely one you can trust. As always, read up on the site’s reviews too to double check everything is smooth sailing for current customers.
Operators with a Curaçao gambling license:
Esports betting is fairly similar to traditional sports betting. You place a wager on a market of your choice and receive your winnings according to the outcome. Popular esports betting markets include Tournament Winner/Finalist, Handicap/Spread betting, Specials/Prop bets, and even live betting.
You can bet on esports events with traditional sports bookmakers or specialised esports bookies that cater more specifically to the esports community.
Bet365 is considered one of the best sites for esports betting, offering a range of titles, as well as competitive odds, various betting markets, and stellar customer support. They are one of the most reputable and experienced bookmakers around and have made a successful venture into the world of esports betting. Their attractive welcome bonuses also allow new customers to experiment with the different types of esports bets available.
Esports betting is legal in many regions, but not all. Make sure you check which regions allow esports betting and whether your chosen esports bookie is licensed to operate where you reside.
The most popular games to bet on are League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite, and VALORANT.
Through our in-depth guides and reviews, we are focused on providing the best insights into esports betting.