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eSports Betting Introduction: What Are eSports?

When you think about sports betting, most of the games you think of are probably pretty traditional.  You think of football, tennis, rugby, cricket, basketball, and the NFL.  These are all games which are played in the real world by athletes who have dedicated their careers to reaching the height of physical ability. 


You probably don’t think of League of Legends or Dota 2. 


But did you know that the definition of sports betting is being expanded?  In fact, the very definition of “sports” is starting to transform. 


If you Google the definition of “sport,” this is what you find:


An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes for entertainment.


The first part of that definition is quickly becoming defunct. Really, we can now define a “sport” as any competitive activity carried out for entertainment, including those that are not physical at all!


Over the past few years, eSports, or electronic sports, have grown tremendously.  These are competitions between players of video games for profit (salaries and/or prize money).  Organised competitions for video games have been around for a very long time, but it has only been in recent years that we have seen the rise of professional players and teams.


Just how popular is pro gaming?  Offline, professional gaming competitions have filled arenas.  Online in 2013, streaming enabled an estimated seventy-two million people to watch eSports around the world.  There are some people who wonder why anyone would want to watch other people playing video games—but consider also how popular “Let’s Play” videos have become on sites like YouTube.  Watching eSports can be every bit as compelling as watching traditional athletic sports. 


If you are not a gamer, all of this may seem a little foreign to you, but if you are one, you can see right away how exciting all of this is.  Even watching over a friend’s shoulder while they play a LAN game can be fun, but professional gaming takes it to a new level.  And the best part of all is that you can get in on the action yourself by wagering on it! 


That’s right—popular UK betting sites are now starting to offer eSports among their betting markets.  Right now, most betting sites only offer a few different competitions for you to bet on, but you can expect fast growth in the upcoming years.  Eilers Research, a firm which focuses on analysing the gaming industry, reported last year that they expected more than $250 million worth of bets to be placed on eSports internationally during 2015.  By 2020, they expect bets to exceed $23 billion.


Wondering what some popular eSports games are?  There are dozens which are popular, but here are some of the biggest titles in each of the main categories:


First-Person Shooter Games

•           Doom

•           Quake

•           Unreal Tournament

•           Call of Duty

•           Counter-Strike

•           Halo

•           Battlefield


Fighting Games

•           Tekken

•           Street Fighter

•           Super Smash Bros.

•           Marvel vs. Capcom


Strategy Games

•           Starcraft II

•           Warcraft II


Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games

•           Dota/Dota 2

•           League of Legends


You can also bet on video games which are based on sports, like the FIFA game series!  This is a somewhat fascinating concept when you think about it.  Sports video games after all are programmed based on the real-life teams and players, and are sometimes highly predictive of the upcoming real-life season!  There is a good chance that the knowledge you have of real-life football could actually help you to glean insights into virtual FIFA competitions between pro gamers.  Likewise, enough time spent playing or watching the FIFA video games can actually help you to gain insight into the real season. 


Betting on video game tournaments may still seem like an unusual concept, but you will find that it is a very easy transition.  In many ways, it is not so different from betting on athletic sports.  Players of course need different skills and abilities, but the basic process of analysis should be very familiar to you; it is just another market.  Read on to eSports Betting Introduction: Types of Bets Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 to learn more about the opportunities available to you!


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A few things to consider when gambling online:

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