Traditional and esports-dedicated sportsbooks: which is the best bet?

In quest of finding the right bookmaker for you, there’s a number of items to take into consideration. When speaking to betting on esports specifically, options become significantly narrowed down and quality or experience in the market might become unclear from those accepting your deposit. 

Though not as extensive as offerings on traditional sports, the number of books with esports as a line item can appear to be quite crowded. Both established, traditional sportsbooks and esports-dedicated ones are getting involved with plenty of draws to register on either. So what are the differences between the two and what should you be looking out for as a punter?

Traditional sportsbooks

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A traditional sportsbook is a betting provider with a wealth of offerings across all major sports while an esports-dedicated book is one that solely offers markets on competitive gaming. While the services are essentially the same, there can be variation in markets, coverage, and promotions that amount to sizable differences. 

These days, it’s far from uncommon to see esports spreads on the platforms of major players in the betting scape; towering names like William Hill, Bet365, and Pinnacle are just a few of those whom have established a presence around esports. Though, as mentioned, a deeper dive indicates just how the coverage between them can vary significantly despite, presumably, having appreciable resources. This disparity can be defined as extensively serving a majority of the esports market to near desolate levels of offerings.

As esports betting escalates with no stoppage in site, it’s clear as to why traditional sportsbooks are wanting to get more involved. However, adding competitive gaming as a line item without any additional thought can put the brakes on obtaining new clientele. The esports audience is highly-engaged and informed in regards to their favourite games – any signs of misconception or a lack of understanding in this capacity is likely to turn away potential punters.

This isn’t to say that anyone should shy away from traditional bookmakers either – in fact, there is one luminous example at the intersection of esports and betting that will always come to mind: Betway. The UK-based bookmaker is recognized as being a market leader in the space, and for good reason. From its long-standing partnership with Swedish legacy team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, to brandishing an entire esports division for its operations – this is a company that truly gets it

Esports-dedicated bookmakers

The proliferation of this sector has also seen this rise of esports-dedicated bookmakers – platforms that specialize in competitive gaming markets exclusively. Typically, esports-exclusive sportsbooks are staffed by well-cultured members. This helps in paving the way for an overall better service according to Kevin Wimer, Chief Marketing Officer at Rivalry.

Kevin Wimer,

“Bookmakers focused on esports should have esports DNA,” says Wimer. “They should live and breath the scene. As a result, they should be able to create an experience that’s a lot more enjoyable than those offered by bookmakers whose attention and financial interests are pulled in other directions. Esports-focused bookmakers will likely be focused on offering betting markets that esports fans crave and cannot find elsewhere.”

Experience is a driving factor for sportsbooks and augmenting a punter’s acquaintance with a platform can truly improve that relationship. Rivalry, for example, is notorious for streamlining unique content in the form of high-caliber editorials and videos with leading personalities that draws individuals to its site. This type of approach exhibits a level of comprehension and grasp of the space while the multifacetedness of the platform gives the impression of being more of a hub than just a bookmaker, creating an inviting atmosphere. It’s worth mentioning that they are not the sole proprietors of this strategy either – Unikrn and Luckbox do a splendid job of serving their audiences, as well. 

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Depending on preference, traditional books might not cut it when it comes to offering broader markets outside of top games and leagues; esports-specific books typically have a more flavourful and diversified portfolio of markets to offer comparatively to their classic counterparts. Those adept to esports betting can quickly tell you that League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are the leading products, however, a number of other markets exists for games like Call of Duty and PUBG that are less frequent suspects on betting spreads. Knowing which games and markets are of interest is a logical place to start in this pursuit. Once decided, a quick search of bookmakers that align with your needs can narrow down the options. There are plenty of esports betting resources that can give you an overarching snapshot with ample details of the markets and specifics.

Esports-specific sportsbooks that receive a passing grade across all compliance have a higher tendency to fulfill more of what an esports punter looks for. As Jonas Molander, Founder of encapsulates for us, these are platforms built by gamers, for gamers.

“Another important aspect is that the product itself is built around esports,” says Molander. “This give esports bettors the experience they are looking for, tailored around their game. Some esports sportsbooks have included the game streams on their site together with an in-game chat for their customers. This is a big bonus feature that we know a lot of players appreciate. Another positive aspect of going with an esports-niche bookmaker is that they usually give back to the community. Most esports fans would rather bet with a bookmaker that is continuously sponsoring tournaments and events.”


This should go without saying but above all, and pertinent to all sportsbooks, is that the number one thing you should search for in a bookmaker is legitimacy. Without it, nothing else really matters. The gambling industry unfortunately sports a somewhat tarnished name due to the shady operations of some, and the last thing you want to do is end up depositing on any of these platforms.

Again, a cursory search can give a punter invaluable insights into a sportsbooks reputation and authenticity. Reviews are great to garner feedback directly from a platform’s consumer base, although studies put towards whether or not a sportsbook holds a reputable license from a governing body such as the Isle of Man, Malta, UK, or Gibraltar is a chief component.

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