Esports, or competitive video gaming, has taken the casino industry by storm and keeps growing — it’s estimated to be a $2.3 billion industry by the year 2028. With millions of people tuning in to watch esports tournaments and matches, it was only a matter of time before it caught the attention of the gambling world.
In recent years, esports betting has become almost as popular as online casino games. Already, there are many poker pros who compete in esports. Let’s delve into the rise of esports betting in casinos, how esports became part of betting platforms in existing casinos, the esports games and tournaments that are available for betting, as well as what the esports betting regulations are.
The Growth of Esports
According to Newzoo, the total esports audience will reach 577 million enthusiasts and occasional viewers by 2024. For those who are new to esports and need guidance, here are three of the most followed games globally.
League of Legends (LoL)
LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where two teams compete to destroy each other. It boasts one of the largest player bases and offers a great sports gambling experience due to its strategic gameplay and extensive professional scene.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
CS:GO is a first-person shooter game where teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists battle each other. Its fast-paced gameplay and tactical depth make it an exciting choice for esports betting.
Like League of Legends, Dota 2 is a MOBA game that features intense battles between two teams. With its complex mechanics and high-stakes tournaments, Dota 2 provides a great deal of action for betting enthusiasts.
How Casinos Got Involved
As the global esports following grew, traditional casinos saw the potential and made it possible to bet on esports. The integration has been done in different ways. Some operators have dedicated esports betting lounges and have inserted betting platforms into existing casino sportsbooks alongside traditional casino games like slots and poker. An example is the partnership between the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the esports betting platform, Unikrn.
The Luxor created a dedicated esports lounge for fans to watch and bet on their favorite games. Unikrn developed the technology for fans to place bets on matches and tournaments. Other casinos, such as the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas, also hopped on esports betting and included it in their existing sportsbooks. This lets fans place bets on traditional sports and esports all in one place. Since then, most online casinos have added esports to their platforms, where it is popular and accessible. The majority of online casinos have games to bet on and follow from the comfort of your home.
The Esports Betting Market
Esports gambling covers a wide range of games and tournaments that are available for betting. They can range from small local events to massive international competitions with millions of dollars in prize money on the line. The betting operator determines which types of games and tournaments are available to bet on.
Gambling on esports has its own terms for placing bets, depending on the gaming platform. Certain wagers are specific to particular games. For example, in League of Legends, you might come across bets like “Team to destroy first tower,” while CS:GO may have “Total maps played,” and Dota 2 may offer “Team to kill first Roshan.” Some sites may also offer “alternative bets,” which expand betting options even further.
The most commonly offered wagers are match-winners, outright winners (futures,) over/under bets, odd/even bets and correct score.
Some of the major tournaments that are hosted worldwide are BLAST Premier Spring Groups (CS:GO,) Six Invitational (Rainbow 6,) RLCS Winter Split Major (Rocket League,) IEM Spring (CS:GO) and Dreamhack DreamLeague (Dota 2.)
Is Esports Gambling Legal?
Wherever there are casino games or betting, there are regulations to make sure it is fair and safe. This differs from country to country and region to region, while some have yet to set clear guidelines for esports. In the United States, for example, esports betting is legal at the federal level, but individual states have the power to regulate esports gambling and online casino gaming as they see fit.
The states where it is legal are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. In some states, there are rules and restrictions, meaning it is not illegal, but it is important to find out what the regulations in your state are. Countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia have clear regulations and licensed operators that offer these services.
Follow Esports Online at BetMGM
If you’re keen to be part of the rise of esports, register with BetMGM. Unlock a wide range of esports games, tournaments and betting options. Whether you’re a fan of League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 or other esports titles, you’ll find a seat at the virtual betting table. With our user-friendly app, you can also explore online slots and play casino games. Sign up with BetMGM for all things related to recreational gambling.