Bookies roundup: who is doing what in the world of esports gambling?

11 October 2016


There’s been a lot of progress in the esports gambling scene in recent months. It’s safe to say that it’s now rare to find a bookies without some sort of offering for punters wishing to have a dabble on their favourite team. Whether it be across major esports: League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO or the smaller yet growing Call of Duty, Overwatch scenes – there tends to be odds available for those who wish to have a punt.

Image result for skybet esports
SkyBet still look one of the strongest in esports due to their partnership with BetGenius.

SkyBet’s partnership with BetGenius continues to pay dividends with their esports offering looking as comprehensive as ever. For the big matches in League of Legends this week there’s over 65 markets to choose from including specific offerings that only an avid fan of the game would understand and enjoy. Not only are their match betting options substantial but the chance to bet on inhibitors and dragons amongst other intricacies continues to make them one of our favourite esports books.

Unikrn are continuing to make strong progress. Their in-play offering, although limited with regards to markets has a unique integration of the Twitch stream so fans can watch their favourite teams compete, with the option to bet in-play at the click of a mouse. Their markets are substantially more limited than that of SkyBet, with only seven available markets for the LoL Worlds compared to 65+. The breadth of offering is not an issue, though, with most matches across the major platforms covered. The only criticism of their integrated Twitch stream is that – for some reason – when we went to watch a Dota game, they had integrated the Russian commentary. We’re relatively sure that the CIS market is not their number one priority.

Unikrn’s snazzy interface is impressive

Pinnacle is a bookmaker that have always intrigued in the esports scene. They were the first to establish themselves in the scene – but since have taken a strange direction. The depth of odds and markets has far been eclipsed by competitors. In addition, their content on their dedicated esports portal is significantly out-of-date. However, we are eagerly anticipating a potential revamp that brings Pinnacle back to the fore of esports betting.

We would say there’s significant pressure on Betway to be pushing themselves to the forefront of esports gambling. With a high-end six figure sponsorship deal agreed with the extremely well-established esports brand Ninjas in Pyjamas, they have made a huge commitment to esports. Their offering this week is fairly strong in Dota 2, whilst only offering match odds on the biggest event in esports – LoL Worlds seems a little odd. They have special markets for Ninjas in Pyjamas CS:GO games and the offering on CS:GO is on-par with SkyBet. When combined with their Betway Insider blog and dedicated Twitter account they have ploughed significant resource into their portal. Both the blog and Twitter are relatively heavily focused on the CS:GO side – but it’s not particularly clear who the writing is aimed at; an existing fan of esports or a customer who has little knowledge of the scene. Additionally, we still haven’t found anyone who truly understands why each esport has a “special” on it being in the Winter Olympics in 2030.

Dafabet are known to be involved in esports through their sponsorship of juggernaut Fnatic. However, their esports offering is limited. At the time of writing they only have match odds betting on League of Legends and are not covering any of the Dota or CS:GO fixtures.

Bet365 continue to be one of the leading providers in the industry. By far and beyond, they are the best provider of anything ante-post in esports. Not only that, but they offer markets on the winner of group stages etc that is often overlooked with other bookmakers. They also offer a Player of the Tournament market for the League of Legend’s World Championship this week as well as a market on finalists. Even then, with markets such as First Roshan, First Tower, Race to 15 kills on offer for Dota 2 matches as well – there’s plenty of depth in their match betting as well.

PaddyPower and William Hill still have a very tentative offering with only match betting and outright tournament winners being offered at the moment. Ladbrokes seem to have removed their esports book and Coral never really got started.

Esports Insider: There have been significant advancements with regards to bookmakers and esports. Some have launched head-first into it with great eagerness and anticipation whilst some sit tentatively on the fence waiting to see how it pans out. We are still seeing two very different types of operations. SkyBet have integrated the offering into their traditional sportsbook with minimal fuss, whilst Betway have gone all out to make their name well known and established in the industry. It’ll be interesting to see which one proves more successful.