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Esports (also known as electronic sports, e-sports, or eSports) is a form of competition using video games and is immensely popular these days. As a matter of fact in 2019, it is estimated that the total audience of eSports will grow to 454 million viewers and that revenues will increase to over US$1 billion. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly YouTube and Twitch have become central to the growth and promotion of esports competitions. A second reason for the increase is due to the eSports gambling market, but more about that later. Let us first take a look at the history of eSports.


Brief history of eSports

The earliest known video game competition took place in 1972 and the Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 already attracted more than 10,000 participants across the United States. With the release of Street Fighter II in 1991 the concept of direct, tournament-level competition between two players gained even more popularity. Instead of having to compare results based on high scores players could now face each other directly. This paved the way for competitive multiplayer and deathmatch modes found in modern action games. The popularity of fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter also led to the foundation of the international Evolution Championship Series (EVO) esports tournament in 1996.

In the nineties many games also benefited from increasing internet connectivity, especially PC games. Tournaments established in the late 1990s include the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), QuakeCon, and the Professional Gamers League. PC games played at the CPL included the Counter-Strike series, Quake series, and Warcraft.

During the 21st century, eSports grew tremendously, incurring a large increase in both viewership and prize money. Although large tournaments were founded before the 21st century, the number and scope of tournaments has increased significantly, going from about 10 tournaments in 2000 to about 260 in 2010. The popularity and emergence of online streaming services have helped the growth of esports in this period, and are the most common method of watching tournaments. Twitch, an online streaming platform launched in 2011, routinely streams popular esports competitions. In 2013, viewers of the platform watched 12 billion minutes of video on the service, with the two most popular Twitch broadcasters being League of Legends and Dota 2. During one day of The International, Twitch recorded 4.5 million unique views, with each viewer watching for an average of two hours.

Thanks to emerging interest for eSports the well established games are now offering prize money which can amount to millions of U.S. dollars a year. As of 10 September 2016, Dota 2 has awarded approximately US$86 million in prize money within 632 registered tournaments, with 23 players winning over $1 million. League of Legends awarded approximately $30 million within 1749 registered tournaments, but in addition to the prize money, Riot Games provides salaries for players within their League of Legends Championship Series. In August 2018, The International 2018, Valve’s annual premier Dota 2 tournament, was held and broke the record for holding the largest prize pool to date for any esports tournament, amounting to over US$25 million!

How to get involved with eSports?

By now you’re aware that there is lots of money to be made in eSports and you probably want to know how to earn a part of it. If you want to get involved you have two options to do so:

  • Become an eSports gamer
  • Become an eSports gambler

The road to becoming an eSports gamer is a tough and long road, but can start from the comfort of your own couch by simply playing your favourite computer games and work your way up the leaderboard. Make no mistake however, the level of play at the big-money tournaments is extremely high so be sure to practice, practice, and practice some more.

Becoming an eSports gambler is a much easier option which also starts from the comfort of your own home. A lot of online gambling sites started to offer eSports markets to bet on. Simply register an account at such an online eSports gambling site (read on to find the best ones), deposit some money and place bets on your favourite eSports teams and players!

Popular eSports genres & games

A lot of sports offer an eSports element, but some are more popular than others. In general the most common genres to be associated with esports are:

  • First-person shooter (FPS)
  • Real-time strategy (RTS)
  • Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
  • Fighting
  • Battle royale games
  • Digital collectible card games
  • Sports games

Top eSports games 2018 (based on prize money)

GamePrize money
Dota 2$41,423,578.99
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive$22,670,015.91
League of Legends$14,544,749.09
Heroes of the Storm$5,277,279.76
Arena of Valor$5,064,501.25
Call of Duty: World War II$4,276,751.83

Popular eSports Bitcoin gambling sites

Obviously we’ve saved the best for last. Betting on eSports is big with growth being so explosive it is estimated that the global eSports betting market will be worth nearly $30 billion by the year 2020. So, how can we join the fun?

As of now each and every self respecting gambling site offers an eSports section, but not every gambling site offers the high quality you should expect these days. In our experience a few things can make a good gambling site a great eSports gambling site:

  1. A huge selection of eSports betting markets.
  2. Anonymous registration.
  3. Lots of payment options, Bitcoin included.

Based on those criteria we recommend the following gambling sites if you like to bet on eSports.

RankSportsbookDeposit optionsFirst deposit bonusUS players accepted?RatingRegister now
11xbit logoBitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, GameCredits, NEM, Bytecoin, Sibcoin, DigiByte, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, FUNCoin, Bitshares100% first deposit bonus up to 1 BTCUS friendly gambling site logo5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Register now button
2buff.bet logoBitcoin, Ether, Litcoin, VISA, Mastercard, Skrill, Paysafecard, NETELLER, Qiwi Wallet, Yandex, Moneta.ru, Skinpay and ecoPayz€100 Welcome Sports Offer
€1000 Welcome Casino bonus
US friendly gambling site logo5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Register now button
3Logo Bitcoin gambling website SportsbetBitcoin, SkrillRisk free single bet of 10 mBTC after your first deposit.Not US friendly gambling site logo5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Register now button
4Logo Bitcoin gambling website Betcoin.agBitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ripple100% first deposit bonus up to 1 BTCUS friendly gambling site logo5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Register now button
5Logo Bitcoin gambling website Nitrogen SportsBitcoinNo deposit bonus available.US friendly gambling site logo4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)Register now button