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.
Russia is home to some of the best Dota 2 and CS:GO players in the world, with esports even a national sport federation. Esports betting is very popular as well, and plenty of betting sites accept Russian players and payment methods. Read on to learn more about the best Russian esports sites, the esports market in Russia, Russian esports players – and more!
Check out our full list of the best esports countries to learn more about the world of competitive video gaming.
Russian players have a wide range of options when it comes to esports betting. Players can bet on esports at several major international sports betting sites, which usually cover mainstream esports like CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends, along with their regular sportsbook. Players can also choose to sign up with dedicated esports betting sites, which usually have more coverage smaller esports – for example, Hearthstone, Smite, WoW, and others. .
Most offer a welcome bonus in euros, dollars, pounds or rubles, and accept a wide range of Russia-friendly payment options such as MIR card, Moneta, YooMoney, and cryptocurrencies.
Although some of these betting sites are blocked in Russia, all are accessible with VPN, and most have mirror sites for the Russian market.
GG.Bet is a dedicated esports betting site that offers odds on almost any esport, including Dota 2, LoL, CS:GO, as well as football esports, basketball esports, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Seige, StarCraft II, VALORANT, Rocket League, and more. They also offer the widest range of esports betting options.
New players are greeted with a $20 welcome bonus, while existing players can enjoy plenty of other promos, including cashbacks, deposit bonuses, and more.
To find out more about this bookmaker, head over to our GG.Bet esports review.
Pinnacle is a sports betting site with an excellent esports betting section. Apart from popular games like LoL, CS:GO or Dota 2, you can also bet on games like Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Rocket League. Alternatively, you can have a go at Warcraft 3 betting and many other titles.
Read our Pinnacle esports review to learn more about this betting site.
LOOT.BET is another dedicated esports betting site where Russians are more than welcome to sign up. They offer odds on virtually any professional esport, from popular games like CS:GO or Dota 2 to more niche markets like Hearthstone or Rocket League.
New customers can claim a 100% bonus up to €100 on their first deposit.
To find out more, check out our LOOT.BET esports review.
arcanebet is a London-based bookmaker licensed and regulated by the Government of Curaçao. The site offers detailed odds and extensive markets on almost any esport, from top games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and CS:GO to smaller esports like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and even Street Fighter V.
The site offers new players a 100% bonus up to €/£ 30 on their first deposit.
Check our arcanebet esports review to learn more.
1xBet has been around for quite a while, and is now one of the biggest betting sites in the world. It is also one of the most popular sites for Russian sports bettors, with an excellent esports section that offers markets for LoL, CS:GO, Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, and StarCraft.
New players at 1xBet get a 100% welcome bonus up to €100, along with plenty of other bonuses and regular promotions after they sign up.
Check out our 1xBet esports review here.
Esports have been popular in Russia since the early 2000s. While the Russian Esports Federation was founded in 2000, the Russian authorities recognised it as a National sport federation in 2017, putting esports on par with established Olympic disciplines. In fact, Vladimir Putin himself has advocated organising esports tournaments in schools and allowing children to play esports on school computers.
Esports have experienced a boom in Russia the past few years. In 2019, the industry was estimated at $28.6 million, and it is projected to reach $57.28 million by 2024. While data for more recent years is still being collected, the number of esports players and viewers grew from 3.6 million in 2017 to over 4.8 million in 2019.
With its large internal market, Russia has become a hotbed for esports fans, many of whom also like to bet on esports.
According to esportsflag.com, the most popular esports game in Russia – in terms of professional esports – is by far Dota 2, while comparatively few Russians play League of Legends, the MOBA’s main rival. (You can read more about MOBA esports here). CS:GO is the second most popular game, while StarCraft comes in third. Other popular esports include Hearthstone, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.
Russia is home to some excellent esports teams, most of whom specialise in CS:GO or Dota 2. Below, we have listed the top 5 earners at the time of writing.
Virtus.pro are Russia’s top earning esports organisation. Their Dota squad have won $9,604,763, and also have the number-3-ranked CS:GO team in the world, who have earned $3,001,089 to date. They are also active in Fortnite and Apex Legends.
In addition to the above, Virtus.pro player Dmitriy ‘hurma’ Geynts has also been enlisted to become a content creator for Fortnite.
Team Empire are Russia’s second-highest-earning Dota 2 team, with an amount of $1,856,263 in prize money to date. They are currently ranked the 21st ranked Dota team in the world, also dabbling in VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege and even PUBG.
Gambit Esports are Russia’s second-best CS:GO team in terms of overall earnings, with winnings of $1,178,872 to date. The team is very versatile, and have made a handsome $460,466 through competing in LoL and $418,266 through Dota 2. The team was one of the first successful LoL teams in Russia (2013 – 2014), and enjoyed an excellent CS:GO season in 2016 – 2017.
Russia’s national Dota 2 team have done quite well in international tournaments. So far, it has won $808,000 in prize money, even winning first place in the 2017 World Electronic Sports Games.
Vega Squadron is another team that shows just how good Russia is at Dota 2. So far, they have earned $468,792 from the popular MOBA, dabbling occasionally in CS:GO and LoL as well. You can keep up with the team's latest updates via their Twitch channel.
As we mentioned earlier, the top esports in Russia are Dota 2 and CS:GO, though one of the top 10 esports earners, “Pavel” is actually a Hearthstone player. The country’s top CS:GO earner is “flamie” Egor Vasilyev, while the top earner overall is Dota 2 player “RAMZES666” Roman Kushnarev.
(source: esportsearnings.com, data retrieved on 18 march 2021)
Sports betting is slightly more complex legally in Russia than in other countries. This, however, does not stop Russian bettors from finding their way onto sites like 1xBet, GG.Bet or Pinnacle. Technically, casino betting and sports betting are illegal in Russia, and the government tries to stop Russians from betting online. Their efforts, however, are mostly focused on blocking operators from getting access to the Russian market, and not on bettors who play at these sites.
The fact that many standard payment options are still available for Russian players to bet with shows that the Russian betting market is in fact wide open, with many operators accepting the Russia-based Yandex, among many others. We've listed a few of the most popular betting payment solutions for Russian players below.
Credit and debit cards issued by Visa or Mastercard are the most widely accepted payment methods worldwide, and that includes esports betting sites. Whether you can use your card at any betting site usually depends on your issuing bank. Some banks in certain countries do not allow betting-related transfers, but most will process your payments without any issues.
MIR card is a payment system unique to Russian. It has 73 million users in the Russian Federation, rivalling Mastercard and Visa in the region. Many betting sites, such as 1xBet, accept MIR payments, among others.
YooMoney (formerly Yandex.Money) is the e-wallet service owned by Yandex, Russia’s version of Yahoo or Google and the most popular search engine in the country. This payment system is widely accepted at various esports betting sites.
Qiwi is an e-wallet that works with a Visa Prepaid Account. It has 20.3 million active users, most of whom are based in the Russian Federation. Anyone with a Qiwi wallet can make purchases or deposits at retailers betting sites that accept Visa.
WebMoney is a prepaid card which you can purchase with a wide range of payment methods. Anyone can register for an account, and you can use your personal WebMoney ID for deposits at betting sites or online purchases.
Moneta is a Russian e-wallet which allows Russian users to transfer money safely online. Accounts are available in Russian rubles, US dollars and the euro, and you can preload your Moneta Wallet with a wide variety of payment methods.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum are some of the best options for esports betting in Russia for a number of reasons. You don't need to pay any fees (except miner’s fees in certain cases), making it a much cheaper option than most e-wallets. Additionally, your transfers will be anonymous, meaning nobody will know the amount of your winnings from esports betting.
The most popular esports in Russia are CS:GO and Dota 2, while StarCraft takes third place, ahead of LoL, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.
The top Russian esports player in terms of earning is “RAMZES666” Roman Kushnarev, who has won over $1.7 million playing Dota 2.
Russia’s top esports team is Virtus.pro, who have earned tens of millions playing CS:GO, Dota 2, and several other games.
Russian bettors can use a wide variety of payment options at betting sites, including Mastercard and Visa, MIR card, YooMoney, Qiwi, WebMoney, Moneta, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
For players in Russia, we recommend GG.Bet, Pinnacle, Arcanebet, or 1xBet.