Esports betting: seven online portals you need to know about
ESports betting has exploded in recent months, thanks in no small part by COVID-19.
Thinking about dipping your toes into the world of esports betting but unsure where to begin? You’re not alone. Esports betting has exploded in recent months, thanks in no small part by COVID-19. The pandemic has turned the sporting world upside down, and postponed seasons have seen fans turning to esports to fill the void.
The truth is that esports gambling was already on the increase before the world went topsy-turvy. The pandemic has certainly accelerated things, with the esports-betting boom initially powered largely by interest in high-profile FIFA and NBA2K events.
Industry experts don’t expect this growth to slow down. Seth Schorr, chief executive of the casino management company Fifth Street Gaming and founder of the Nevada Esports Alliance, recently told the New York Times, “I expect that within the next five to 10 years in North America, Esports will be third after the NFL and the NBA in terms of total wagering.”
At this point you’re no doubt wondering about the legality of esports betting. If so, read on…
Is esports betting legal?
Unfortunately, there is no universal yes-or-no answer to this question, because it all depends on where you live. In the U.S., only a handful of states—Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia—have explicitly deemed esports betting to be legal.
Wagering on sporting events is permitted in Arkansas, Delaware, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. However these states don’t have specific legislation on the books with regard to esports.
Most betting platforms do, in fact, block traffic from the U.S., Australia, and other countries where such activity is either illegal or falls into a grey area.
In Canada, things are fairly straightforward. It is illegal for sports-betting operators based in Canada to offer Canadians their services without official licensing. The good news is these laws don’t apply to sites based outside of the country. There are no restrictions on Canadians accessing and betting at internationally licensed and regulated esports betting sites.
Your best bet (pun intended) is to check the laws where you live before taking the plunge into esports betting. If you get a green light, here are a few online betting platforms you might want to consider:
UNIQUE FEATURES: When it comes to unique selling points, Arcanebet touts that its bonus system is unlike those in most of the industry. Bettors can withdraw their cash funds at any point while they have an active bonus—the catch being that they then forfeit the bonus portion. Arcanebet allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and has seen payouts in excess of 15,000 EUR, although those are more common on the platform’s casino vertical.
UNIQUE FEATURES: On Unikrn, bettors can place bets live while watching top Twitch and Mixer gaming streamers across a range of popular streaming titles. Unikrn’s UMode also offers players the chance to bet on their own ranked matches in CS:GO, League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2, Halo 5, Call of Duty: Warzone, PUBG, PUBG Mobile, and Starcraft.
UNIQUE FEATURES: Sportsbet.io calls itself a “crypto-driven” online casino and sports-betting platform. What that means is that it accepts such currencies as Litecoin, Ethereum, Thron, and Bitcoin. (For all of us old-fashioned types, it also takes credit cards and bank transfers.) The platform features all the usual esports favourites, including Call of Duty and Dota 2, but also the cyber versions of FIFA and the NBA, plus more obscure titles like King of Glory.
UNIQUE FEATURES: As with more traditional sports betting, smart esports bettors take a careful look at the stats before they make their wagers. Betway boasts that its statistical visualization is unparalleled. By perusing the data in such categories as Head 2 Head, Map Win, and HLTV Rank, you will be able to gain insight into the numbers behind each key esports matchup.
UNIQUE FEATURES: As one of the few dedicated esports-only betting platforms, it’s hardly surprising that Loot.bet has one of the most comprehensive lists in the industry. Fans can place wagers on everything from CounterStrike: Global Offensive and Overwatch to NBA2K and NHL 20 to Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. The game with which Loot.bet made its name, however, is Dota 2. Again, this is no surprise when you know that Loot.bet is actually a sponsor of many Dota 2 tournaments.
UNIQUE FEATURES: Betwinner is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the world’s top betting sites—with traditional sportsbook and an online casino as well as its esports side. The platform is known for offering some of the best odds on esports matches, a vast selection of markets, generous bonuses, and topnotch customer support.
UNIQUE FEATURES: It’s true that TonyBet doesn’t specialize in esports. It was, after all, founded as a poker site by Lithuanian poker champ Antanas “Tony G” Guoga. It has, however, been around longer than most gambling sites. TonyBet is known for its competitive odds and impressive array of betting markets. Need a break from League of Legends? TonyBet will also allow you to vote on the outcomes of real-life political elections.
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