Esports Betting: Your Ultimate Esports Cheat Sheet
Raise your gambling game with the best esports betting sites, games, and welcome offers
Let’s face it: esports is a worldwide phenomenon. Several decades ago, no one has even heard about video game competitions. Now, esports tournaments like The International and League of Legends World Championship come with multi-million dollar prize pools and enough entertainment value to glue millions of viewers to their screens. And the United Kingdom is a huge part of.
With powerhouses like Fnatic, Dignitas, and London Spitfire representing it on the global esports arena, this country has always been deeply involved in competitions for CSGO, FIFA, Overwatch, Rocket League, and League of Legends. Combine that with long-standing gambling traditions and hundreds of thousands of fans looking to cheer for their favorite teams, players, and personalities, and it’s not exactly surprising that esports betting took off with flying colors.
Passion isn’t the only part of this equation. With dozens of esports betting sites trying to keep up with global trends and dabbling in unfamiliar markets, there is a wealth of lucrative deals and generous odds for gaming tournaments. And taking advantage of them is certainly a decent way of putting your game knowledge to use.
Okay, so how do you get in on this action?
It’s all-too-easy to get overwhelmed with a never-ending stream of sites and offers when you’re looking to bet on esports. Fortunately, our JustGamers experts have already done their homework and created the ultimate esports betting cheat sheet with the best games, bookmakers, odds, and welcome bonuses that are guaranteed to suit your gambling needs. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
The legislation question: is it legal to bet on esports matches in UK?
The first thing you should know is whether it’s legal to pursue betting on esports in the first place. Many countries struggle with rigid gambling laws and strict country restrictions that prevent their citizens from wagering on games like CSGO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and Rocket League.
Luckily, the United Kingdom isn’t one of them.
Most forms of online gambling are entirely legal in the UK, so you’ll have no issues finding offers for poker, casino games, and—most importantly—esports betting. This has been the case ever since the adoption of the Gambling Act 2005 that ensured gambling was conducted in a fair and transparent way in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Another important step towards facilitating a safe gambling environment was the creating of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. This regulatory body operates with the singular goal of enforcing the ideals outlined in the Gambling Act 2005, so you can count on it to protect gamblers’ interests and crack down on the bookmakers at the slightest hints of misconduct. Meanwhile, the only restriction imposed on the general populace is that gamblers have to be 18 or older to partake in gambling activities, so as long as you’re over this threshold, nothing is stopping you from esports betting in UK.
There is a small caveat, though. The Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014 added a 15% point of consumption (POC) tax for offshore gambling brands, meaning that many online operators had to adjust their betting offers to cover additional expenses. With that, you’ll have a higher chance of finding good odds and gambling opportunities on esports betting sites that are actually based in the United Kingdom.
What games and competitive titles are best for esports betting UK?
If you had to pick the single most popular esport in the United Kingdom, it would have to be CSGO. This classic first-person shooter pits two teams of five—Terrorist and Counter-Terrorists—in a cutthroat struggle to plant (or disarm) a C4 explosive at the bomb site or eliminate the opposing team. The premise sounds simple, yet when you factor in the razor-sharp aim, well-structured teamwork, and split-second reaction time required to play CSGO at the highest level, you get a perfect mixture of skill and strategy.
Overwatch is another first-person shooter to consider. Unlike with CSGO where everyone is on a relatively even footing, this competitive title puts a strong emphasis on a wide cast of playable characters, each with their own traits, weapons, and abilities. With that, Overwatch esports tournaments are all about which players get the most out of their characters. Throw in lightning-speed gameplay and a multitude of unique team compositions, and Overwatch has all the moving parts of a top-tier esport.
The final—and the most unique—take on the first-person shooter genre is battle royale games. Sure, it’s fun to watch ten players competing with each other, but titles like PUBG and Fortnite have upped the ante by increasing the number of competitors up to a whopping 100! This turns every match into an epic battle for survival, as your aiming skills are just as important as your ability to outline your game plan and adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
Alright, but what if first-person shooters aren’t your cup of tea? The obvious answer is to look into the multiplayer online battle arenas or MOBA games. With notable representatives like Dota 2 and League of Legends, these titles have taken a simple concept of two teams battling each other to destroy the core structure of the enemy base and turned it up to eleven by adding a plethora of playable characters, complex mechanics, and in-game objectives. And while most esports tend to fall into the same patterns, Dota 2 and League of Legends have so much depth that every match seems like a fresh and unique experience.
Of course, this is just the tip of the esports iceberg. The world of esports is incredibly rich, as each competitive game brings something new to the table. For instance, Hearthstone can make you feel like you’re playing an intricate card game, FIFA can put your right in the middle of an exciting football match, and Rocket League can supercharge the football experience by letting every player drive a rocket-powered car. And in the end, it’s this variety that makes betting on esports so exciting!
What are some of the largest esports tournaments for esports betting?
It’s great to know your way around the most popular games, but how do you decide what to actually bet on? The simple answer is that you tune in to esports tournaments. Every competitive title has its own esports scene, so there’s a constant stream of gaming events to wager on. Not all tournaments are born equal, though, and whether it’s because of players, prize pools, or production value, some events inevitably stand out from the others. With that, here are some tournaments you have to keep track of:
1. The International (Dota 2)
The International is one of the few gaming tournaments that makes headlines in the mainstream media. This is a premier Dota 2 event with gargantuan multi-million dollar prize pools. Every pro dreams of lifting The International’s aegis and forever leaving their name in the Dota 2 history, so the level of competition is demonstrably high. Throw in top-notch production courtesy of the game’s publisher, and it’s not exactly surprising that millions of viewers from all over the world tune in to this event.
2. Worlds (League of Legends)
Worlds (aka the League of Legends World Championship) is the LoL equivalent of Dota 2’s The International. This tournament may not have the prize pools of its counterparts (although first place still gets several millions of dollars to its name), but it does make up for it with prestige. Worlds is by far the most popular competition in esports history, and its viewership figures get higher and higher with every passing year.
Moreover, this tournament acts as a battleground for some of the strongest teams in the LoL scene—and if that’s not a perfect environment to bet on esports matches, we don’t know what is!
3. Majors (CSGO)
Major Championships (commonly referred to as Majors) are the ultimate CSGO events. Much like Worlds and The International, Majors are celebrated for their immense production value and million-dollar prize pools. Moreover, winning a Major is considered the crowning achievement in the CSGO scene, so pro teams pull out all stops to make its presence known at these tournaments.
4. UK Esports Tournaments
This wouldn’t be an esports betting UK cheat sheet if we didn’t sprinkle in a couple of local events and gaming tournaments! Competitive gaming is a growing industry in the United Kingdom, and while there is a fair share of major events like ESL One Birmingham (Dota 2), most competitions have a grassroots feel to them. That’s not a bad thing, though, and you can still have a blast wagering on tournaments like Gfinity Elite Series (CSGO), ePremier League (FIFA), and LVP UKLC (League of Legends).
How to pick the best esports betting sites?
Every veteran punter knows how important it is to pick the right bookmakers. After all, good esports betting sites can act as a foundation of your gambling strategy, but shady operators can set you up for failure before you even place your first wager. The problem is that it can get difficult to separate the former from the latter. Don’t fret, though, because out JustGamers experts have already analyzed all the available betting offers to arrive at 3 betting sites that will give you the best value for your money!
There are a lot of things to like about Betway UK. For starters, it’s one of the first bookmakers to embrace esports betting, so you can find countless offers for major titles like CSGO, Dota 2, and Overwatch as well as less popular games like FIFA, Hearthstone, and Rocket League). Moreover, Betway frequently releases unique markets for CSGO matches, making it an excellent platform for wagering on this classic first-person shooter. Throw in competitive esports odds and a solid welcome bonus of a risk-free bet that goes up to £30, and Betway has a very compelling offer for the UK customers.
William Hill is a juggernaut in every sense of the word. Founded all the way back in 1934, this bookmaker has been at the forefront of the betting industry for entire generations, so you’re practically guaranteed to find a fair and secure gambling environment on this platform. The esports coverage is quite broad, especially if you’re dealing with popular games like CSGO or League of Legends, and the William Hill bonus can set you up with a total of three £10 risk-free bets to ensure you have the best start possible. The only downside is that most markets are limited to map/match winner wagers, but if you’re looking for an established bookmaker, you can’t get much better than William Hill.
Bet-at-Home is the best of both worlds. It has the game selection and market variety of Betway as well as the refinement and reputability of William Hill. The crisp design, fluid mobile website, and a wide range of live betting offers also contribute to Bet-at-Home’s image of a well-rounded gambling platform. The only caveat is that you might have to spend some time scouring the internet for vouchers to get a Bet-at-Home bonus, but if that doesn’t bother you, this is a great place to bet on esports matches.
Where to find the best Esports Odds
All major tournaments covered by our top partners:
JustGamers verdict on the offers and overall direction of the esports betting UK scene
When it comes to esports betting, the local gaming scene is vast, and while you won’t always find premier events, there’s an abundance of promising leagues and tournaments. Combine that with the ongoing efforts of the UK Gambling Commission to create a safe and secure betting environment for local punters, and it’s hard to find a better place to bet on first-person shooters, MOBA games, and other esports titles.
DreamLeague tournaments take two forms. One is a great esports competition that is devoted to gaming at a collegiate level in the US, and the other is a pro gaming contest in Europe. Our guide to DreamLeague tournaments in the UK will show you how these contests have grown to become the best place to see the future stars of pro gaming, and we will also let you know whether you need a DreamLeague hack in the UK to join in the action. If you want to bet on [...]