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For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, ESports is short for, ‘Electronic Sports,’ which largely amounts to the playing of video and computer games. For many of the 30-something, or older, readers of this site, the term ESports and its popularity might be somewhat foreign to you, but for anyone younger than that, there’s a pretty good chance that you know more about the inner workings of ESports than we do!
While the development of the Internet and the connectivity and instant communication and transmittal of live video streams has enabled ESports to grow to incredible new heights compared to years past, the concept of ESports and massive events may be a bit older than you might think.
As long as there have been multi-player video games, there has been competition. Even in single-player video games, two players can play simultaneously on different game units in an effort to beat the game faster than the other guy. Where there are games, there are tournaments, and ESports is not and has never been an exception to that rule.
In 1980, the Space Invaders championship tournament, hosted by Atari, attracted over 10,000 participants who competed for the glory of achieving the highest scores and besting the other competitors. Considering that the word of the tournament could not be spread by doing something as simple as liking and sharing Facebook posts, or re-tweeting a message about it, 10,000 players is nothing short of a staggering and impressive number of participants.
Space Invaders was far from the only game for which tournaments took place, and the history of mass video game competition, and much about the way it is conducted now, can actually be traced back to the late 70’s and early 80’s.
For one thing, the concept of the, ‘High Score,’ was spread from individual cartridges to its own publication that would be put out annually and eventually the Guinness Book of World Records was successfully petitioned to include records of some of the most popular games. Eventually, games would not be adjudicated only on high scores, but the concept of, ‘Speed Runs,’ (which still exist today) would take hold and it would become a player’s goal to beat a game as quickly as possible. Eventually, a wide variety of organizations were crafted in order to establish rule sets for the speed runs and other areas of competition and the way such things are run, again, is similar to the way that it is today.
Much like the Internet covers ESports now, with any number of sites devoted to the subject and events held annually both for profit and for charity, ESports had a mainstream presence even those decades ago. Mainstream publications such as Life, Time and even Playboy would cover some of these competitions and occasionally profile some of the competitors in interviews and write about new records being set. The fact of the matter is, practically from the outset, ESports was always something of a pastime just below the level of broad recognition rather than the very small niche it has often been perceived to be.
ESports also found their way into other pop culture venues, such as television, in which they became a segment of some game shows and the entire subject matter of others, such as StarCade. Players would train for hours and hone their skills in order to appear on these shows and in competitions in the hopes, not necessarily of fame and fortune, but of getting their name out there and being the best at something.
The concept of electronic sports started out relatively pure, but as the development of the Internet came along and people were able to play one another from around the world, eventually, the inevitable was going to happen and gambling would become an aspect of ESports. There are many sites out there, such as Pinnacle, which we will get into later, that provide a safe means by which betting on ESports can be accomplished. Unfortunately, it was not always that way and there are those out there who would use the popularity of ESports to bilk enthusiasts out of money. Some of the bilking of the betting enthusiasts is done by the competitors themselves.
Throughout the 1990’s, other video game developers, such as Nintendo, or other enthusiasts would set up ESports events and tournaments throughout the United States and abroad. These events were frequently well attended and were a huge draw for video game enthusiasts. Additionally, the 1990’s also saw the development of some of the first widely available Internet multi-player games. Granted, these were largely strategy sort of games and were nothing like the MMORPG’s, or equivalent, that would come later, but they were certainly unique and impressive for their time.
One of these video game series that involved tournaments that began in the late nineties still persists to this day, and that is the Counter-Strike series of games. The current incarnation that enjoys massive popularity is CS:GO, which stands for Counter-Strike Global Ops.
For those of you who may be interested, here is a YouTube Video of a CS:GO Tournament from a few years ago that would see $90,000 go to the winner:
While CS:GO is undoubtedly one of the most popular ESports games out there right now, there are a number of others in genres other than first-person shooters. For one thing, the Madden series of NFL games remains popular for head-to-head matchups, localized mini-tournaments, online multi-player tournaments as well as major competitions. The biggest Madden Tournament of the year has top prizes in the tens of thousands of dollars for whoever can play a video game meant to simulate a football game better than all of his opponents.
Of course, the money and the interest to support these sorts of tournaments has to come from somewhere, and the place that it comes from is largely from the games themselves as well as betting on the games. The biggest tournaments of the year are, by far, not the only events that take place throughout the course of the year as there are smaller contests that go on year round for smaller prize pools. During these smaller competitions, there may be a wide variety of betting options that are available for the major competitions.
The Rudiments of ESports Betting
When it comes to betting on ESports, most of the bets that take place are bets on what I will term a third-party game. In other words, there are ESports enthusiasts betting on professional or semi-professional ESports players to perform well in head-to-head matchups against other players or teams.
In its purest form, these sorts of bets are essentially about as above-board as they come, though the handicapping (even for the sportsbooks) can be tough given all of the uncertainty behind ESports, so they usually allow themselves a pretty wide vig when it comes to straight bets on the winners. It is not uncommon to see lines such as +120 on the underdog side and then -170 on the side of the favorite. If that seems like an excessively wide range, in most sports (and perhaps even ESports) it would be. Again, though, there is a tremendous uncertainty factor in ESports as many of the books that offer ESports betting are just jumping on board.
Betting on ESports is otherwise not meaningfully different than betting on any other kind of sports. The vast majority of people placing the bets will be doing so at a disadvantage and will likely lose money on it in the long run. However, there are some people out there who at least believe that they can beat the house by assessing the statistics of some of the ESports players out there. Furthermore, they will often do the best they can to analyze the styles of play of different players in order to figure out when they have a favorable matchup to bet on that is more favorable for one player or another than the sportsbook seems to think.
In the case of most of the bettors, however, they usually just have individuals players or groups that they are fond of and will have a tendency to back their appreciations of those individuals or teams with bets. In that sense, ESports are not meaningfully different than any other kind of sports in which an individual who is a fan of a given team might all but blindly put a bet on his/her team to win, given the chance. To wit, making, ‘Friendly,’ bets, I’ve gotten even money on to win bets that I should have been laying at least 1.5:1. The same thing can happen in ESports, a bettor may be in awe of a particular player and, as a result, will have a tendency to bet with his heart rather than his head.
In terms of the potential for addiction to betting on ESports, it is not meaningfully different than sports betting on traditional sports in that regard. The same reward centers of the brain light up when you win, some people are going to believe that there are systems that can be utilized to beat a sportsbook’s vig and some people get into it way beyond their control. If there is one major difference between ESports betting and betting on traditional sports, it is probably that children are more inclined to become interested (and, potentially, hooked) on ESports betting from a younger age given their interest in the underlying subject matter of the video game in question.
On the one hand, the major licensed and regulated sportsbooks out there are going to take serious measures to ensure that minors are not using their services, but there are many websites out there run by crooked people or groups who are not so scrupulous. Several of these websites are willing to target, and outright rip off, anyone they can, minors included.
Tis seedy underbelly of ESports is known as, ‘Skins Betting,” and while many of the major operators of this enterprise that should be illegal have been stamped out, there are some smaller ones out there that still thrive. It is difficult to say how aggressively the industry will pursue these smaller operators, but hopefully this page will give you some indication of what to watch out for.
The Future of ESports
At one time, ESports was projected to be a 30B dollar industry by 2020, but those projections have been reduced to about 12 billion. The main reason why is because of the huge crackdown of the major illicit third-party websites by Steam/Valve. However, what may make a difference is the fact that ESports betting through licensed and regulated sportsbooks seems to be growing in popularity and it can be expected that more legitimate websites will get on board.
Furthermore, many of the individuals interested in following and betting on ESports who are minors now might be of legal gambling age by the time 2020 gets here and will also be able to use these sites to bet on ESports legally and safely.
While one might believe that ESports consists of nothing more than a bunch of players sitting at home blistering their thumbs against one another while running a live video feed, think again. Many of these ESports events are huge and we will now take a minute to look at those involved in the industry.
Naturally, you couldn’t have professional ESports without the professional and semi-professional ESports players. For those who do not believe that ESports is serious business, it should be noted that between contracts, appearance fees, prize awards and sponsorships (yes, sponsorships) many of the ESports athletes (lack of a better term) bring in the high five figures and sometimes even the low six figures annually.
Of course, that describes the best of the best. However, there are a good many players who make in the five figures and some of them definitely consider ESports their profession, and the paychecks that they cash quite obviously agree with them.
While ESports may not be as physically brutalizing as some other traditional sports, there is a lot of physical and mental talent that an individual needs to possess to be successful. For one thing, an individual needs to have impressive dexterity as quick physical reactions with the hands are necessary to ensure success. Furthermore, an individual is going to have to have keen eyesight and strong hand/eye coordination in order to ensure that he/she acts as soon as possible when presented with a visual cue.
Beyond that, mental alacrity is necessary because the strategy needed to win one particular event or another is often incumbent on your ability to outthink your opponent. Hours of training are necessary to develop your already present physical skills into something that becomes almost instinctive with respect to the game you are playing. ESports competitors need to be sharp in both eyes and mind in order to be successful. While I would still argue that doing something like being an NFL quarterback is far more demanding and impressive, it is still difficult to take away from what the professional ESports participants do.
Furthermore, individuals entering tournaments will often have long playing hours demanded of them, particularly in the early rounds as they advance in their quest towards a championship. Just imagine having to sit and stare at the same video game for twelve hours a day for two or three days in a row, that takes dedication. In a manner of speaking, it would also require some pretty serious endurance to be able to keep that up.
There are many sponsors in the world of ESports, and in the early days of the popularity of ESports the sponsors largely consisted of manufacturers of gaming-related articles. Manufacturers and distributors of controllers, mouses and headphones were, and still are, some of the foremost sponsors in the ESports industry. In recent years, though, more mainstream companies have dipped a toe into the more major tournaments and have gotten themselves product placements as they realize that the game is not going away anytime soon.
Whether or not the betting will ever get back to where it was before the crackdown is unknown, but the games themselves at the major tournaments have never been bigger or more bombastic than they are today. The presentation and excitement surrounding the events legitimately rivals many different traditional sporting events, and many of the fans are rabid followers of their favorite players.
It is largely the fans who keep ESports going, whether or not they be bettors themselves. Many ESports players use live streaming of gameplay and tutorials as a means by which to make money and often offer subscription services, through sites such as Twitch, by which individuals can watch them do what they do best, which is play their game of choice. In addition to the Twitch streamers, many of the professional players will also choose to stream on YouTube in order to garner some of the advertising revenues that go hand in hand with doing that.
The creators of the games largely do not mind such streamers making money off of the games, either, because it is also an excellent source of free advertising for the games themselves. The fact that they might attract new players to the game and perhaps convince others that they do can be professional EGamers is more than enough to encourage them to let these players continue to make money however they can. More people attempting to join the ranks of the ESports elite means more money for the companies offering the games.
Legitimate ESports Betting
There are a number of sites at which one can bet legitimately and safely on ESports that are WizardofOdds approved, and we would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of those.
Pinnacle Sports is an online casino brand known for their integrity and fair treatment of the players. Pinnacle Sports is a WizardofOdds APPROVED casino and, as such any player that joins Pinnacle and makes a deposit via a clickthrough banner on our site will be subject to the Wizard Promise.
The guarantee is that if you, as the player, have a legitimate problem with the casino that you cannot solve on your own, the Wizard will act as a mediator between yourself and the casino and will work impartially to try to ensure that a mutually agreeable decision can be reached. It is very important to remember that you must use one of our affiliate links in order to sign up with the casino, it is not enough to say that you heard about Pinnacle from us.
With that out of the way, Pinnacle ESports offers the latest odds and schedules for game such as StarCraft 2, Dota 2, CS:GO, LOL and Hearthstone. Pinnacle has operated for a very long time as a traditional sportsbook, but always on the cutting edge in the world of gambling, it comes as no surprise that they were one of the first to get into the realm of ESports betting.
Pinnacle offers a wide range of betting options from simply betting on one side or the other to more exotic bets, such as total kills in a game like CS:GO. The site also keeps a schedule of events for the upcoming week updated at all times as well as an ongoing list of tournaments that they will be covering in the near future. Many of the tournaments covered by Pinnacle will result in a live stream that is available either directly on their website or via a link that will be provided by Pinnacle. Naturally, any tournaments that Pinnacle is covering the site will also be offering betting options for.
If you think that you have been paying enough attention to ESports to beat Pinnacle’s handicappers, then Pinnacle welcomes you to come and take your shot at them and enjoy betting with them. Gamblers will enjoy a really cool web design, easy depositing and withdrawing, fantastic customer service and an all-around positive gambling experience from a company that pays its players quickly and always offers its gamblers a fair shake.
For those of you who do not want to limit your action to ESports, Pinnacle continues to offer traditional sports betting as well as electronic table games, slot machines and video poker. In addition to all of that, Pinnacle also features live dealer tables offering a wide variety of games.
We are mentioning Bet365 on here simply because they are a major provider of traditional sports betting and it would be neglectful not to. Unfortunately, on the traditional casino game side of things, Bet365 has been known to offer games brought by Spielo G2 which are known to have card games that do not conform to the natural probability of the cards. In other words, the game is presented as being one thing when it is actually another.
Furthermore, Bet365 has also been labeled as a predatory internet casino by Affiliate Guard Dog as they have been known to change their affiliate policies after-the-fact and then to apply the new rules retroactively as it benefits them.
In terms of overall user scores, Bet365 has performed reasonably well across our family of sites, but given the two issues discussed above, they have not done enough in the industry to earn the coveted endorsement of the Wizard as Wizard of Odds Approved.
Bet365 offers betting primarily on StarCraft 2, CS:GO and LOL. Bet365 offers a wide variety of basic and exotic betting options on individual ESports events as well as tournaments alike.
The design of the Bet365 ESports betting page is not nearly as sleek as that of Pinnacle and is actually largely mixed in with their traditional sports betting platform. In that sense, it almost makes it seem that the ESports is something of an add-on thing for them whereas Pinnacle takes the ESports betting platform very seriously and offers a sleek design along with a user-friendly interface.
I don’t really follow ESports, so I’m not personally inclined to bet it at all, but if I were, I would definitely prefer to do it at the ultra-cool and user friendly Pinnacle rather than Bet365 even with the other considerations that would make me shy away from Bet365.
The first thing that should be mentioned is that LadBrokes is a Wizard of Odds APPROVED casino:
LadBrokes offers ESports betting, but much like Bet365, it seems as though it is offered largely as an afterthought.
LadBrokes may eventually expand its ESports enterprise to become more serious about it, the way that Pinnacle seems to be all-in on it, but for the time being they do not seem to have as many betting markets or options as the other sites do at any given time. At the time I checked it, LadBrokes was only offering betting options on League of Legends and CS:GO and not every many individual choices for either.
In addition to that, for those of you who prefer the exotic bets, it seems that LadBrokes is currently mostly just offering bets on the winner of the matches as well as over/under bets on kills.
I think that I would try Pinnacle if my primary interest is in ESports as opposed to the other types of gambling, but LadBrokes is an option if you only want to bet ESports occasionally and are generally more interested in traditional sports betting or traditional casino games. LadBrokes does offer its punters one of the more generous comp schedules based upon the amount of coin that a player plays on their games, so that’s always a positive.
In addition to that, LadBrokes is steadfastly Wizard of Odds APPROVED and we here at the Wizard of Odds are particularly impressed with the promptness and courtesy of their customer service staff as well as the wide variety of customer service options available to Ladbrokes’ players. While it is difficult to recommend them over Pinnacle if your primary interest is betting ESports, we definitely endorse LadBrokes as a safe and legitimate gambling site that treats players fairly.
As always, if you sign up through LadBrokes via our affiliate link, then you will be protected by the Wizard of Odds advertising guarantee. Once again, any casino that is Wizard of Odds APPROVED that you have a dispute with that you cannot solve on your own, the Wizard of Odds himself, Michael Shackleford, will personally step in and act as an intermediary and neutral mediator in order to help you try to resolve your issues with the casino in a mutually agreeable fashion. If you do have a dispute with the casino, we do ask that you try to solve it yourself first and only come to Wizard if you are doing it as a last resort and have hit the wall in terms of trying to resolve your issues with the casino.
While Betway has reasonably decent review scores across our family of websites, it does have something of a history of refusing to pay players who win on bonuses citing a spurious concept that they like to call, “Violating the spirit of the bonus.” Of course, it is thought that, ‘Violating the spirit of the bonus,’ can be translated simply to, ‘Winning,’ which BetWay doesn’t seem to like. The result is that the site will occasionally refuse to pay out to players who have won using one of their bonuses.
Furthermore, players have also reported that the winnings that can come from bonuses are often capped and that the information related to the bonus requires a lot of digging to find if it can be found at all.
It is perhaps ironic that BetWay would behave this way when it comes to bonuses, because it also seems that the bonuses are often applied automatically to the accounts of players even if the players do not want the bonuses. Essentially what you have is a casino that forces you to take a bonus, and then wants to not pay you because you beat the bonus. It is difficult to speculate whether or not they would treat an ESports bonus differently, but I’d have no reason to believe that they would.
The predictable result, of course, is that BetWay is not an ESports betting resource that is Wizard of Odds APPROVED and we recommend you take a good hard look at what people are saying about BetWay across our family of sites before playing there. We also recommend that you take a look at Wizard’s Review of the casino which can be found using our search function in the top right corner of your screen.
Furthermore, I am thoroughly unimpressed with the BetWay ESports page because they seem to have the fewest betting options of any online casino that offers ESports betting that I have seen thus far. Therefore, even if they were a decent casino, it would still be tough to recommend them if your primary interest is betting on ESports matches.
With that said, we would not necessarily rule out BetWay completely as a place to play, it is, after all, in the top 10% (as of the time of this writing) of all online casinos at LCB by User ranking.
Paddy Power is one of the longest running and most trusted of Internet casino brands and the site is Wizard of Odds APPROVED emphatically.
PaddyPower offers a few more options for ESports betting than a few of the ESports locations that we have already discussed, but it does not offer as many as some others, particularly Pinnacle. Paddy Power, of course, offers a wide variety of casino games as well as plenty of betting opportunities for punters in traditional sports.
While the ESports page at Paddy Power might not show the sort of dedication that Pinnacle is pouring into it, Paddy Power is certainly a respectable casino product and ESports can be played there certainly if it is a secondary thing to you rather than your primary source of gambling.
Other than the ESports betting, Paddy Power offers everything else that a player would respect from a casino that is their size and of their notoriety. They have an excellent selection of slot games and traditional sports betting with awesome live betting options that are extremely convenient for players. Additionally, Paddy Power has an excellent live casino product as well as electronic table games platform.
Paddy Power is a Wizard of Odds APPROVED casino due to their unfailing integrity as well as their terrific customer service standards. Anything that you may need from them will feel like it has been taken care of almost immediately as very few online casinos show the kind of concern and appreciation for their players that Paddy Power does.
EGB Online is somewhat unique in that they are a platform that is designed exclusively for ESports betting and do not have a traditional casino product.
Due to the fact that we do not know much about this site because of the lack of a traditional casino product we cannot make any definitive statements about the integrity of the site or its treatment of players. While we are not going to say anything negative about the site, we would encourage all of our visitors to use one of our affiliate links and to sign up to conduct your ESports betting through one of our Wizard of Odds APPROVED locations.
The SkyBet sports betting site along with its ESports page operate in conjunction with their casino product known as, “Sky Vegas.” The Wizard has reviewed the Sky Vegas casino product here.
However, we simply do not have the type of user information that we would need in order to do the thorough vetting that is necessary for a site to be Wizard of Odds APPROVED. We are not saying that SkyBet is a bad site as we have not identified any player issues of any kind, nor have we had any reported to us, we are simply saying that we do not know enough about the site to make a call as to how the players are treated.
The Sky Vegas product offers a wide variety of other casino products while the SkyBet product offers traditional sports betting in conjunction with ESports wagering options.
In terms of the different betting options, SkyBet may be the only one to rival Pinnacle and they might even surpass them. In addition to the standard handicapping and outright winner MoneyLine type bets, SkyBet seems to have virtually every prop bet for just about any scenario you could ever think of. They have as many as fifty-two betting options on just one event!
What we can say is that SkyVegas, as of the time of this writing, scores a respectable 4.2 out of 5 on LCB, so certainly their casino site is somewhat credible and looked upon favorably by several LCB visitors. It is currently unranked on this site, but that is likely because this site draws most of its visitors from the United States and SkyBet does not operate in the U.S., nor does Sky Vegas.
Brandon James Recommends
I would recommend Pinnacle for an ESports enthusiast because they are a Wizard of Odds APPROVED casino and have clearly put a lot of time and effort into their ESports gambling product. The site is sleek and aesthetically appealing in design, the Pinnacle pages are dedicated entirely to ESports, and they offer a wide variety of betting options on several different individual events and tournaments.
Furthermore, Pinnacle Sports has always been a respected Sportsbook known for dealing with players fairly and paying them quickly. Pinnacle also scores reasonably well on reviews both here and on our family of sites elsewhere.
Beyond that, Pinnacle also has a top-notch live casino product as well as electronic table games product. They offer Blackjack Switch with a 0.14% House Edge as well as a Jacks or Better Video Poker game with no house edge whatsoever. I don’t believe that I would bet ESports, but I can say that Pinnacle is definitely a site that I would play if I could access it from the United States.
Can ESports Betting Be Beaten?
People are naturally going to wonder whether or not some sort of advantage might be able to be had by way of betting ESports and what I will say on that matter is that any possible advantage would come by way of the same sort of means that are found in traditional sports.
While there may be certain subjective factors at play like how you feel about the matchup between one player/team or another, it is also quite possible that small advantages can be found using an approach entailing statistical analysis or a probabilistic type approach based on previous data. Much in the manner that Wizard was able to find ways to beat the Super Bowl prop bets that he is so well known for having done, there may be ways to use game history and whatever statistics you can find to pick winners at a better quip than most others or to find ways to beat prop bets that would normally have too much juice against you.
Of course, any savvy sports bettor will tell you that you can’t just shoot from the hip without a serious understanding of either the statistics, the matchup of the two teams competing or, preferably, both.
Furthermore, given the high variance nature of these sorts of games and the fact that the sport itself is relatively young, at least in terms of betting through traditional gambling sources, it can be assumed that the handicappers working for the books are also playing it relatively safe. What that could mean is that they might be created a pretty wide range for them to middle, i.o.w. A huge vig, that they are using to pad their uncertainty about the sporting event in question.
It is that very uncertainty that may give savvy bettors the opportunity to beat the casinos, but the vig itself may simply be too high to overcome. The nice thing about traditional sports betting is that it is based on such a wealth of knowledge and data that the Nevada (and overseas) sportsbooks are fairly confident throwing out a point spread or moneyline with a relatively narrow vig. There may come a point when the ESports handicappers are equally confident, but until then, it looks like the bettors will be dealing with a significant vigorish working against them.
The Long-Term Success of ESports
While many online casino providers do not seem to have put the serious investment into ESports that Pinnacle has, it certainly says something for the industry that so many names long associated with online casinos and traditional sports betting products are getting involved in the world of ESports. Many of these companies are major online casino providers, so while sites such as Pinnacle and SkyBet have dove into ESports, it is at least encouraging to see so many sites willing to stick a toe in.
Once again, it appears that other legitimate cash sites have been created only for the purpose of ESports betting and that have not previously existed for any other purpose. EGB, for example, is licensed through Curacao to operate as an ESports book. Unfortunately, we can not really say anything positive or negative about them because we are simply not that familiar with them.
ESports opened up to a rocky and tumultuous start in terms of betting because the majority of the betting was associated with illicit third-party sites that existed largely to attempt to cater to minors. Unfortunately, many of these children would go on to get hooked on gambling for skins and would lose hundreds, if not thousands, of their parents money. The parents likened many of these purchases to a video game and often did not realize how serious the problem was until it was too late.
It is perhaps ironic that it is only after Steam/Valve cracked down on the illegitimate third-party websites that the major long-time operators of online casinos and sportsbooks started to really get involved in making ESports a part of their betting platform. It seems to be expanding to other operators still, and will undoubtedly enter the United States if unlawful sports betting ceases to be a federal offense. The United States will be an incredible market for ESports betting if the sites are able to operate within it.
The ESports betting options at the other sites might just fizzle out and die without having any real chance to succeed if they do not step up their game and offer the sort of ESports betting platform and options that can be found at sites like Pinnacle and SkyBet. Many of these other sites seem to offer a modicum of ESports options just so that they can say they have them, and otherwise do not seem to be putting any serious effort into it.
I do not believe that these sites can count on their current punters to start dappling in ESports, and they would do much better to attempt to attract new punters whose primary purpose for visiting the site is to find a location to safely bet on video game outcomes. Those players whose only reason for visiting the site is to find a wagering outlet for the games will be attracted to sites such as SkyBet and Pinnacle who are focused on giving the bettors real options and who seem inclined to cover more events and matchups.
The first thing that we should hope happens is that Valve/Steam continues to crack down on the third-party illicit sites that deal in games of chance for skins in order to attract minors. Once again, these third--party sites are accountable to literally nobody at all and are not subject to any kind of oversight whatsoever. There is no mechanism in place to ensure that they are offering fair games and they are also essentially directly preying on minors with what they are offering.
Furthermore, it is essentially unwise to deal in games of chance involving the video game skins because owning the skins themselves as a going concern is its own game of chance. There may be forces at work attempting to deliberately manipulate the market in order to improve their own interests and short sell items or artificially boost the value of other skins in order to profit on those that they already have. Beyond that, it is important not to forget that the Marketplace itself takes a 15% cut of all sales, so regardless of what you do with the skins, you are bucking a 15% house edge at a minimum.
Some of these sites, we have discovered, were so shady that they were actually pumped up from a promotional standpoint by many of those players that the fans of ESports came to admire and trust. Unfortunately, those players carelessly turned on them by getting them to place bets on them at the sites that they owned and then they would go on to deliberately tank matches in order to collect the high value skins.
Fortunately, ESports seems to be conducted in a more civil and respectable way now with actual contractual obligations and sponsorships in place that would tend to try to prevent any players from tanking a match for profit. Furthermore, with the highest level players bringing in money in the high five figures or low six figures annually between matches, prizes, contracts, streaming and endorsements, it would seem that the high level professionals simply have too much to lose to get caught tanking a match for a few bucks.
It is also fortunate that the concept of ESports betting appears to be becoming more of a mainstream thing because that will enable the bettors to get the sort of protections that they deserve by dealing with licensed and regulated online casinos. Some of these casinos, such as Pinnacle and SkyBet are making a huge and meaningful push into the market in an attempt to have a gambling product far superior to the competition. For right now, it appears that they do as much of their mainstream casino competition offers ESports betting platforms that seem to be little more than a nod to ESports and not something they seem to take too seriously as a potential source of future revenues.
We have also learned that the actual process of taking part in ESports is not meaningfully different from the process of taking part in traditional sports. This is true from the standpoint of a fan, casual spectator, recreational player, sponsor or professional player. The process of making bets is also not much different, although, the handicappers do not seem to have the certainty that they do with the major sports, and as a result, tend to want to invoke wide spreads that generate a pretty substantial vig.
Of course, much like traditional sports betting, some propositions and positions could theoretically be beaten by a very savvy player who knows what he or she is doing. In order to do that, at a minimum, it will take an in-depth understanding of matchups and, perhaps most importantly, keeping and referencing the statistics from past events in order to attempt to predict the likelihood of future ones. It is essentially the same thing that strong traditional sports bettors do, attempt to identify weaknesses in the lines.
This family of sites will continue to follow the development of ESports betting very closely and will report on new developments across our many channels. In the event that more mainstream online casino sites begin to offer ESports as a gambling option, we will also update this page accordingly with information related to that. If you know of any major Internet Casino locations that offer ESports betting that I may have missed, please sign in at WizardofVegas.com and shoot a PM to me, Mission146.