The past few years have seen an explosion in popularity for esports, with a growing number of game developers organizing massive tournaments with prize pools worth millions of dollars.
Estimations put the total global value of esports betting at $5.5 billion in 2016, with projections that the total value will hit $12.9 billion by the end of 2019. A number of popular sportsbooks offer esports betting, including Pinnacle Sports, 888sport, Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Betway, and many more.
Betting on esports is becoming just as developed as betting on traditional sports, with most sportsbooks that provide esports betting offering moneyline, totals, spreads, proposition bets, and futures. In this blog post, Slotegrator looks at some of the most popular esports to bet on.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the fourth edition of the eminently popular series that pits terrorists and counter-terrorism operatives against each other. The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships, known as the Majors, were first introduced by Valve corporation in 2013. As of 2019, the prize pool for the tournament was $1,000,000.
As a first-person shooter, CS:GO is easier for spectators to follow than, for example, DoTA, and therefore easier to bet on. Betting on CS:GO is as nuanced and developed as betting on traditional sports.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a third-person Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game where players control a champion. Players must develop their champion’s abilities through gameplay, gaining experience through combat and other in-game interactions, and try to unlock their champion’s inner abilities. Players begin each match at roughly the same level.
As League of Legends has grown in popularity, so have its tournaments. The total prize pool for the 2017 World Championship was $4,596,591, with the 1st place team receiving over $1.5 million.
Released in 2016, Overwatch is a relatively recent addition to the world of esports. The bright and colorful first-person shooter has a ladder system similar to the one used in competitive CoD in order to establish player rankings. Players choose from available heroes with a variety of skill sets and work in a team.
Developer Blizzard Entertainment established the Overwatch League, a professional league with a regular season and playoffs, in 2018, with a total prize pool of $3.5 million.
Call of Duty
First-person shooter Call of Duty (CoD) has been consistently popular since its initial release in 2003. Its earliest editions were set in World War 2, but subsequent editions have been set in the Cold War, modern times, outer space, and futuristic worlds.
CoD is one of the earliest-established esports, with organized tournaments starting as far back as 2007. Tournament play is incredibly popular on streaming service Twitch. The Call of Duty World League, established in 2016, gave out $4.2 million in prize money for the 2017-2018 season, and will give out $6 million in prize money for the 2019 season.
DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) is one of the world’s most popular esports. Players choose from hundreds of different heroes to serve as their avatars, and, in teams of five, defend the tower, or “Ancient”, in their territory, while attempting to destroy the other team’s Ancient. The game is famously complex.
Each year, a series of tournaments known as the DoTA Pro Circuit culminates in The International, a massive tournament organized by Valve corporation, the game’s designers. In each year since the tournament’s inception in 2011, the crowd-funded prize pool has surpassed the previous year’s total. In 2019, the prize pool was $34,330,068.