A Brief History of Online Esports Betting

Online esport betting is an industry worth billions of dollars. There are thousands of betting sites offering all sorts of services and products to consumers across the world.

The Evolution of Esports Betting

Esports is a billion-dollar industry with a wide range of participants, among them being streamers, sponsors, fans and bettors. In this article, we’ll breakdown the history of esports betting. But if you’re in a hurry, this comprehensive guide from online-gambling.com outlines some of the best esports betting sites.

Esports is not just a betting trend but an industry that is fast-growing, and it’s here to stay. Esports is very dynamic, and things can change really quickly, a fact that makes esports betting very lucrative and extremely exciting.

Esports are competitive, millions of people watch them, and the games are split into integral parts such as maps and rounds. This explains why esports is well suited for betting, just like traditional sports. Let’s delve into the history of esports betting.

Began in the1970s

The history of electronic sports betting goes back to the ’70s when Asteroids and Invaders, two popular videos in those days, were released. That marked the beginning of the Arcade age in esports history. During those years, the lifespan of popular games was four to six months, and the market was extremely competitive. The Arcade industry continued into the ‘80s. By 1982, it has surpassed Hollywood movies and Pop music revenues.

Game consoles and computers became more accessible in the 80s, and video gamers began throwing local area network parties. Players soon realized they would connect their computers and game consoles through a router to facilitate multiplayer video games. Multiplayer video games became widely popular in the 90s when Quake and Counter-Strike were released.

The Birth of esports Betting

As the internet became affordable and more accessible, gamers did not have to gather in one place under LAN connectivity for the multiplayer tournament. Players could connect via the internet with players they had not previously met or interacted in any way. This popularized video games and gamers began forming professional teams for organized tournaments.

Tournaments attracted enormous viewership as fans watched them live on the web and offline at venues. Twitch is among the first platforms to offer live esports tournament streaming. Today, as many as 10 million viewers across the world stream live esports events.

The prize pools for these tournaments are incredible. In 2018, during the International Dota 2 finals, the winning team, OG, took home a prize of $11.2 million. The total pool accounted for $25.5 million. Just like is the case with traditional sports, esports fans began placing bets on their teams. This led to the launch of many esports betting sites, where bettors can place wagers on using skins and real money.

Esports Betting with Skins

Skin is an add-on that enables the player to change the way his/her attire or weapons look without affecting their efficiency. Gamers can buy skins with real money or win them during the course of the game.

Some skins are valued more than others. Players began exchanging, buying, and selling skins among themselves and eventually gambling with them in online casino games and esports tournaments. Others collect these skins and trade them for real money.

But was this form of esports betting legal? Not at all—sites offering skin gambling were not controlled, and their services were labeled as unlicensed gambling. In 2016, a lawsuit against Valve, the developer of the CSGO skin gambling sites, highlighted the numerous challenges associated with skin esports betting, among them being underage gambling. This lawsuit saw Valve discontinue many skin gambling sites while making it clear that it was not associated with the platforms.

However, the legal restrictions around skin betting have been relaxed, and it’s possible to gamble with skins these days. Skin esports betting is now well controlled, but it comes with risks and considerations for bettors.

The Rise of Real Money esports Betting

Bettors soon realized real money esports betting was more reliable compared to skin betting. Operators offering real money esports betting are regulated and licensed by the relevant authorities. The fact that they operate within laws and regulations guarantees bettors of a higher degree of security.

With a reliable real money esports betting site, your personal data and money are safe, but the same cannot be said of skin betting sites, especially the third party operated ones. With the rising popularity of real money esports betting, operators realized the potential the young industry possessed and began introducing new markets, new games, and upgrading their betting offers.

Today, esports betting has surpassed traditional sports betting, and skin betting was banned in 2017. Esports betting offers are as diverse as those offered by popular sports betting sites. Bettors can place bets on less popular esports and tournaments, and not just League of Legends, Dota 2, and CSGO that were the only offers initially.

Esports Betting Today

There are numerous esports betting websites today. These sites differ by the type of services offered, such as chats, live streaming, etc., and the odds offered. Odds are one of the top aspects one considers when choosing an esports betting platform, ranking second after credibility.

If you happen to be new to esports betting, and you are wondering how odds work, they are used to show how probable a specific result is. The less probable it is; the more money you are likely to win. Odds change with time according to circumstances such as team restructuring. However, once you have placed your bet, your winnings will not be affected by the change in the odds.


The online gambling industry has been growing over the years. However, internet betting and gambling are heavily regulated in the United States. Delaware became the first state to authorize online betting and gambling. Esports betting has proven to be lucrative and attracts investors into the esports space, but it’s just one facet of this thriving industry.


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