As competitive gaming evolves, as too has the rise in esports betting. Though the exact value of esports’ betting handle is difficult to pinpoint, there’s a reason to believe it has now surpassed $1 billion based off Business Insider’s evaluation last year.
Each esport boasts its own unique community, ecosystem and infrastructure; despite there being several competitive gaming communities in existence, only a handful of them are fit to be a bookmaker’s product.
Though the consistency exhibited in esports such as the Overwatch League or NBA 2K League is a big motivator for bookies to offer spreads on them, there are a number of key tournaments that trump the rest when it comes to attracting significant volumes of bettors to risk. In this report, we’ll detail the leading tournaments that you’ll want to keep an eye on if you want to be involved in esports betting.
Since 2011, The International, also referred to as TI, has brought forth the best esports has to offer in terms of size, viewership and of course, prize money. The annual tournament organised by Valve assembles 16 of the toughest contenders in Dota 2 from direct invites, regional qualifiers and those who amass enough Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points through the competitive season.
Aside from establishing itself as the pinnacle of Dota 2 championships, The International’s reverence is bolstered heavily by the lofty prize amount raised each year. Dota 2 developers, Valve, contributes $1.6 million as a base amount for The International’s tournament winnings which are then passed off to the community to raise through crowdfunding; by dedicating a portion of Battle Pass sales to the total prize pool.
The International has seen a year-over-year growth since its inception – last year’s TI8 amassed a whopping $25,532,177 ($20,035,099). This year’s The International has already garnered over $12 million just two weeks into its fundraising period, with the tournament poised to kick off on August 15 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
League of Legends World Championship
Riot Games’ League of Legends is by far the most played game in the world at the moment; the most recent report from Riot confirmed in 2016 the game boasted 100 million monthly players, which we can only assume has grown based off the lofty increase in tournament viewership over the subsequent years. When it comes to League, there is one event that stands well above the rest on the yearly calendar – the League of Legends World Championship also referred to as Worlds.
The World Championship is the annual culmination of the competitive season organised by Riot Games, currently coming up on the ninth event in the tournament’s history this November. Worlds brings together the 24 best League of Legends teams to clash over a month-long period for the game’s most prestigious title as well as the Summoner’s Cup which weighs in at 32kg.
The prestige, popularity and length of the World Championship make it a hot product for bookmakers to feature spreads on. Last year’s Worlds was just barely shy of 100 million unique viewers, orbiting similar statistics to that of the Super Bowl – and where there are viewers, there are punters. Legal Sports Report’s overview of the esports betting market in 2018 illustrated League of Legends accounts for 38% of the total handle.
If you’re looking to place a wager on League of Legends, it’s a safe bet to assume any bookmaker that carries esports will offer lines on this game. As exemplified by eSportbetting.eu’s guide to betting on League, the catalogue of sportsbooks that support the game is quite extensive – including major US fantasy sports contest provider, DraftKings.
CS:GO Major Championships
Counter-Strike is one of the oldest and most prosperous esports today. Valve’s first-person shooter has truly withstood the test of time in our current esports panorama with a bustling ecosystem supported by tournament organisers, online platforms and big sponsors.
Counter-Strike’s large player base across a number of divisions makes for a seemingly infinite amount of offerings from bookmakers; the aforementioned study by Legal Sports Report estimates CS:GO is responsible for 29% of the betting handle, only second to League of Legends.
Though, when it comes to betting on Counter-Strike, Valve’s CS:GO Major Championship series is the choice event for punters. Since 2013, CS:GO Majors have furnished the most enthralling narratives and display of CS the game can generate; the format of the Major builds off the last by incorporating teams who can go deep enough in the previous tournament and spans across roughly three weeks.
The volume of matches between high-profile teams ramps up the number of bets placed on CS while bookmakers often capitalise on Majors by offering exclusives and specials linked to the tournament.
While there are several other tournaments such as the Overwatch League Season Finals and Call of Duty World League Championships that are able to congregate a number of bettors to wager, those mentioned above three are by far the market leaders. If you do decide to get involved in esports betting, Esports Insider reminds you to bet responsibly!
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