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CS:GO ESL ONE: European Playoffs Predictions and Odds

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Esports Betting in the USA: Best Sites & Guide [Updated 2020]

Esports competitions have experienced a massive boom over the last decade. The small, local competitions have given way to big events with millions of viewers around the globe and prizes in the eight figures.

Naturally, it has drawn the eyes of the sports betting industry, and wagering on esports events is becoming more and more popular with each day.

We have put together a guide to introduce you to the world of esports, with everything you need to know about this new-age sports realm and betting vertical.

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Quick Navigation

What is Esports?

The term ‘esports’ is short for electronic sports, a designation used to separate these competitions from traditional sports. Esports competitions pitch either individual players or teams in a multiplayer setting. Tournaments can be either presential events or played remotely.

There is a huge variety of games that esports players and teams compete in. From sports simulation games to multiplayer online battle arena games to first-person shooters, there is no shortage of genres for gamers to participate in.

Esports Betting

With esports experiencing a massive growth in recent times, so has the betting market around the competitions.

Esports betting is one of the fastest growing categories in online gambling, with total wagering on esports competitions expected to reach as much as $12.9 billion in 2020.

With the rest of the sporting world shutting down in 2020, interest in esports betting could peak even higher. Esports is in the somewhat fortunate position that competitions can be easily held remotely, therefore we expect viewership and wagering to increase beyond projections.

Can I Bet on Esports?

Esports betting is a bit of a grey area in legal sports betting as of right now. While a number of states have legalized sports betting, most have not specified a stance on esports and where it fits into the sports betting landscape.

With esports being such a fast-growing market, we are sure that states will clarify this in the near future. What it all boils down to is whether lawmakers decide to treat esports the same way as traditional sports or as a separate entity.

That being said, we can draw some conclusions on whether or not you can legally bet on esports based on where you live.

Firstly, in states that have not yet legalized any form of sports betting, esports betting is also prohibited.

There are also a handful of states that have explicitly legalized esports betting.

What States Can Legally Take Bet on Esports?

Esports betting is legal in the following states:

  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • Tennessee

Nevada

Nevada was the first state to legalize esports betting, although sportsbooks must notify the regulators first and wait for the approval.

Even then, sportsbooks can only take bets on head-to-head, match winners and the competition’s overall winner, while in-play wagering isn’t allowed.

New Jersey

New Jersey sportsbooks can also take bets on esports, but must also notify the regulators first.

New Jersey’s sportsbooks took wagers on the 2019 League of Legends World Championship final, but have not offered any other bets since then.

Tennessee

Tennessee legalized esports betting in 2019. The law defines a sporting event as follows:

“Any professional sporting or athletic event, including motorsports and e-sports, any collegiate sporting or athletic event, or any Olympic sporting or athletic event sanctioned by a national or international organization or association . . . ”

West Virginia

While the sports betting law in West Virginia does not explicitly mention esports, a legislative rule issued by West Virginia Lottery in 2018 clearly states that esports are not considered a “prohibited sports event”.

In this document, a prohibited sports event is defined as:

“ . . . all high school sports events, including high school electronic sports events and high school competitive video game events, but does not include esports in which participants are at least 18 years old.”

Colorado

Colorado’s sports betting legislation is not 100% explicit about allowing esports betting, but it is heavily implied.

Firstly, the legislation defines a “sports event” as follows:

“An individual or team sport or athletic event in which the outcome is not determined solely by chance, whether amateur or professional, including an Olympic or international sport or athletic event and any collegiate sports event.”

Furthermore, it states that “unauthorized sports betting” includes:

“ . . . a video game that is not sanctioned by a sports governing body or equivalent as an electronic competition . . . “

While the implication here is that betting on competitive esports events sanctioned by a sports governing body is legal, more clarification is needed from the state.

Washington

Washington is the most recent state to legalize betting on esports. The law issued in March 2020 explicitly authorizes betting on “An electronic sports or esports competition or event”.

The following states have legalized sports betting to some capacity, but have not made it clear one way or the other if esports betting is allowed or not:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington DC

We need to wait for further clarification from these states to determine if esports betting is legal or not.

What States Explicitly Prohibit Esports Betting?

The only legal sports betting state that has explicitly prohibited betting on esports is Indiana.

In a law passed in 2019, Indiana specifically prohibited wagers on esports events, becoming the only state to do so.

What Sportsbooks Offer Esports Betting in New Jersey?

Some of the sportsbooks that offer esports betting in New Jersey are bet365, William Hill, DraftKings, FanDuel, Unibet, 888Sport and BetMGM.

How Can I Bet on Esports?

Esports betting works similarly to sports betting. You can bet on the outcome of a match, or on the competition winner. Much like sports betting, you can also wager on props.

It’s possible to bet on a number of different options – the total number of kills in a match, the number of neutral objects taken by the teams, the match duration and so on.

Odds work the same way as they do in sports betting, so there are no secrets here.

Keep in mind that each sportsbook will offer its own odds, so pick the one you consider favorable.

Of course, it all depends on state regulations, so make sure to check beforehand if your preferred sportsbook offers these bets or not.

Best Strategies for Esports Betting

This is the same as sports betting – check the best teams, the best players and the match history between opponents.

Upsets do happen, as they would in sports, so you can also make some serious money by wagering on the underdog.

You can also play it safe and go with the most dominant team to continue winning it all.

Great players can be difference makers as well, so betting on a team with good individual talent that doesn’t necessarily have the best results is also an option.

For more tips check out our complete sports betting guide.

Is Esports Betting Fair?

Rest assured – esports betting is as safe as it gets when it comes to fair competition. While doping is rare in esports, regulations ensure a fair competition between the parts by banning auxiliary programs.

These rules are very strict, and the majority of modern game softwares have very sophisticated scripts to expose these ilegal programs. Players that are caught using illegal auxiliary programs are heavily penalized, sometimes with a lifetime ban.

Match fixing will also lead to severe penalties, which can range from a lifetime ban for the players to banning an entire organization and its owners from the competitive esports scene.

Again, keep in mind that the esports industry is extremely professional, so the large investments, sponsorship deals and prize pools are all far more attractive than making a few dollars off match fixing.

Since esports do not have a regulatory body, game companies are usually the ones responsible for running the competitive scene. Popular games therefore are safer picks and offer better protection when it comes to esports betting.

Daily Fantasy Esports

If you reside in a state that does not allow esports betting, you can likely still get involved in fantasy esports.

Wagering real money on fantasy sports is legal in every US state in some form except Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii.

Fantasy esports works the same way as traditional fantasy sports. You have a specified budget to build a roster but instead of football or basketball players, you pick players from games such as League of Legends, Rocket League, Dota 2 and CS:GO.

As your players participate in tournaments, they earn fantasy points based on their performance. Your goal is to earn more points than the other participants in your league.

DraftKings is one of the top sites for fantasy esports. They have a great selection of games including League of Legends, CS:GO, Rocket League, eNASCAR and Call of Duty. They are currently offering a free entry with your first deposit of $5 or more.

Future of Esports Betting

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and sports events getting either canceled or postponed all around the world, sportsbooks naturally took a big hit.

In turn, demand for esports betting has spiked to a fascinatingly high level. The graph below shows the number of Google searches for esports betting in the past 12 months.

Esports betting US popularity

As you can see, interest is at an all-time high.

Esports betting will continue to grow in the future, especially as virtual competitions are more popular than ever.

Esports Popularity – How Many People Watch Esports?

According to games analytics and market research website Newzoo, esports audience will reach 495 million viewers in 2020 – an 11.7% growth compared to 2019.

Out of these nearly half-a-billion viewers, 223 million, can be considered sports enthusiasts, while 272 million are considered occasional viewers.

The audience is expected to reach 646 million viewers by 2023.

For comparison, the biggest audience in Super Bowl history drew in 114.4 million viewers in the US and 30 to 50 million viewers around the rest of the world. This proves just how popular esports is and its immense potential for growth.

Esports Game Genres

The most popular esports are MOBA, FPS, fighting games, RTS, card games and sports simulation games. Below we will delve deeper into these genres and list some of the most popular games in each.

MOBA

Short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, MOBA originated as a subgenre of the real-time strategy (RTS) games. Two teams of five are pitched against each other in a mirrored map. The objective is to take down the opposing team’s base.

Each player controls a character with a specific set of abilities, while computer-generated troops follow predetermined paths along the map called ‘lanes’.

The most popular MOBA games are League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2 and Smite.

FPS

Short for first-person shooter, these games are centered around gun-based combat seen through the eyes of the player-controlled character. The objective is to either take down all players on the opposing team or to control a specific point on the map.

The most popular FPS games are Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege and the Call of Duty series.

Battle royale titles are also a popular FPS variation, with Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) being the most well-known titles.

Fighting Games

Fighting games pitch two or more player-controlled characters against one another in a small stage. The objective is to either defeat the other player before the time expires or to have the highest remaining health once the timer reaches zero – whatever happens first.

The Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros, Tekken, Soulcalibur, Dragon Ball and BlazBlue series are the most popular fighting games in esports.

RTS Games

Short for real-time strategy, these games place multiple players on a map where they are allowed to control military units while managing resources and structures.

RTS games either require the player to achieve a certain score or to seize their opponent’s structures.

Starcraft and its sequel Starcraft II are two of the most popular games in esports history. Other popular RTS esports games are Warcraft III and Age of Empires II.

Card Games

Card games have a variety of rules, but are usually centered around defeating another player by achieving a specific condition.

As the name implies, each player has a deck of cards, which usually follows a strategy that relies on chain plays to succeed.

The most popular card games are Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering and Shadowverse.

Sports Simulations

As the name implies, these games simulate real sports and as such follow the same set of rules as the real competitions.

Football, soccer, racing and basketball are the most popular titles in sports simulation.

Biggest Esports Games

Here are the top 20 biggest esports games based on prize money:

Game TitlePrize MoneyPro PlayersTournaments
Dota 2$222.5 million3,5861,335
CS:GO$93 million12,6554,827
Fortnite$85 million3,278536
LoL$73.5 million6,8462,411
Starcraft II$33 million2,0255,742
PUBG$22.5 million2,528260
Overwatch$21.5 million3,483735
Hearthstone$21 million2,331861
Heroes of the Storm$18 million1,203457
Arena of Valor$14 million52548
Counter-Strike$13.5 million4,086989
SMITE$8.5 million52295
StarCraft: Brood War$8 million666565
Rocket League$7.5 million921911
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4$7.5 million42380
Halo 5: Guardians$7 million23375
CrossFire$6.5 million624305
WarCraft III$6 million5581,327
Magic: The Gathering Arena$5.5 million23236

Dota 2

Dota 2 is the sequel to the popular Defense of the Ancients, a World of Warcraft III modification that gave birth to the MOBA genre.

Dota 2 was released in 2009 and is the highest-paying esport in the world.

CS:GO

CS:GO is the fourth title in the popular FPS franchise Counter Strike, and was released in 2012.

The game’s professional circuit follows the same model as sports such as tennis and golf, holding multiple minor and major tournaments during the year.

Fortnite

Arguably the most popular game in the world, the battle royale was released in 2017.

The first edition of the game’s World Cup was held in 2019, with a total prize pool of $100 million.

League of Legends (LoL)

Released in 2009, MOBA League of Legends is the most watched esports game in the world.

Its competitive scene consists of a closed circuit made up by regional leagues, with two international tournaments – the Mid Season Invitational and the World Championship.

PUBG

Released in 2017, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds popularized the battle royale genre.

PUBG has a slate of national leagues, around the world, with the teams competing for the Global Championship title at the end of the year.

Overwatch

A FPS released in 2016, Overwatch draws inspiration from MOBA and role-playing games (RPGs) as players control heroes with unique abilities.

Overwatch’s professional scene adopts the city-based franchise system, with the teams playing for the Overwatch League title.

Hearthstone

A card game based on Blizzard’s popular Warcraft series, Hearthstone was released in 2014 under the Heroes of Warcraft title.

Hearthstone’s competitive scene consists of events hosted by leagues such as the ESL and MLG, while Blizzard itself hosts the Global Finals at the end of the year.

SMITE

SMITE is a MOBA released in 2014 that is played from the classic third-person perspective rather than the popular top-down perspective.

The competitive scene has regional leagues in Europe, North America and a global Pro League, with all three events qualifying for the year-end World Championship.

Rocket League

Rocket League is a soccer-inspired game released in 2015 in which players control vehicles, with two teams consisting of one to four players.

Professional teams compete for the biannual Rocket League Championship Series title.

Call of Duty

The popular FPS franchise Call of Duty is currently on the fourth installment of the Black Ops series.

For 2020, CoD is debuting a new, franchise-based tournament, the Call of Duty League (or CDL for short).

Biggest Esports Teams

Here are the top 10 esports teams in 2020 based on total earnings:

TeamEarningsTournamentsTop Games
Team Liquid$34.5 million1,686Dota 2, CS:GO, Fortnite, LoL
OG$33.5 million76Dota 2, CS:GO
Evil Geniuses$24 million832Dota 2, CS:GO, Rainbow Six
Fnatic$15 million883Dota 2, CS:GO, Fortnite, LoL
Newbee$14 million215Dota 2, CS:GO, Fortnite, Starcraft II
Virtus.pro$14 million478Dota 2, CS:GO
Vici Gaming$13 million283Dota 2
Team Secret$11.5 million238Dota 2
Invictus Gaming$11 million448Dota 2, LoL
Natus Vincere$11 million444Dota 2, CS:GO, World of Tanks

Esports Tournaments

Let’s take a look at the top esports competitions in the world from 2019.

Dota 2 The International

Prize money: $34,330,069
Peak audience: 1.9 million viewers
Number of teams: 18
Number of players: 90
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China

Dota 2 has dominated the list for the biggest prize pool in esports. The International, which is the game’s most important tournament, set the record for five consecutive years, and will likely do so again in 2020.

OG successfully defended their title in 2019.

League of Legends World Championship

Prize money: $6,500,000
Peak audience: 3.9 million viewers
Number of teams: 24
Number of players: 127
Venues: Verti Musical Hall in Berlin, Germany; Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid, Spain; AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France

The 2019 semifinal match between SK Telecom T1 and G2 Esports set the record for the most watched event in esports history, with a peak audience of 3.9 million viewers.

In the end, LPL champions FunPlus Phoenix defeated G2 in the final to win its first Worlds title.

Fortnite World Cup Finals

Prize money: $15,287,500 (Solo) $15,100,000 (Duo)
Peak audience: 2.3 million viewers
Number of teams: 100
Number of players: 182
Venue: Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, NY

The second edition of the Fortnite World Cup offered the largest individual prize in esports history.

Solo champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf took home a $3 million reward.

Free Fire World Series

Prize money: $300,000
Peak audience: 2 million viewers
Number of teams: 12
Number of players: 60
Venue: Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

While its prize pool pales in comparison to the more established games, the Free Fire World Series set the record for the most average viewers with 1.2 million.

Corinthians Esports won the inaugural title.

IEM Katowice Major CS:GO

Prize money: $1 million
Peak audience: 1.2 million viewers
Number of teams: 24
Number of players: 120
Venue: Spodek in Katowice, Poland

IEM Katowice Poland was the most watched CS:GO event of 2019, and was fourth in hours watched at 45 million.

Danish team Astralis continued its dominance and went on an undefeated run to the title.

Top Esports Leagues

Now let’s take a look at the top esports leagues from around the world.

Overwatch League

Prize money: $3.5 million
Peak audience: 1.5 million viewers
Number of teams: 20
Number of players: 120-240
Venue: Each team has its own home venue

Founded in 2017 following the franchise formula used in sports, the Overwatch League is currently in its third season.

San Francisco Shock is the defending champion.

Call of Duty League

Prize money: $6 million
Peak audience: 111,000 viewers
Number of teams: 12
Number of players: 94-120
Venue: Each team has its own home venue

The Call of Duty League was founded in 2020, replacing the Call of Duty World League as the new top-tier tournament for the popular FPS.

The League holds multiple tournaments over the course of the split, and awards points according to the team’s finishing position.

Rocket League Championship Series

Prize money: $1,009,900
Peak audience: 200,000 viewers
Number of teams: 12
Number of players: 36

Founded in 2016, the Rocket League Championship Series is the game’s “World Cup”, with 12 teams advancing from regional qualifiers.

NRG Esports won the most recent title, making it eight different champions in eight editions.

Is Esports a Sport?

Defining esports as a sport has always been a very controversial topic.

Naturally, esports aren’t as physically demanding as regular sports, which is perhaps the strongest argument against it.

Another argument used against esports is the fact that players can compete using a computer or a console, which can be done remotely.

That being said, the debate currently leans towards esports getting recognized as a sport. The Chinese government was the first to acknowledge it back in 2003, and other countries have since followed suit.

In 2018, the Asian Games held an exhibition League of Legends tournament, later announcing that esports are going to be among the medal-awarding events in 2022.

The year before, the International Olympic Committee also recognized that competitive esports could be classified as a sporting activity.

The vast majority of teams and professional players have also realized that physical and mental conditioning can significantly impact in-game performance.

Discussions are still ongoing regarding the addition of esports to future editions of the Olympic Games.

Mobile Esports

Mobile games are more popular than ever, and that has naturally created a market for esports as well. With the biggest possible market in China, this could turn into a big year for mobile esports.

Garena FPS Free Fire averaged the most viewers in 2019 with the inaugural World Series.

Other mobile games worth keeping an eye on are Clash Royale, PUBG Mobile, Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile.

Esports giant Riot Games is also set to enter the mobile market, having recently released a new version for its popular autobattler, Team Fight Tactics (TFT). League of Legends: Wild Rift is also scheduled for a 2020 release.

Esports Earnings

Ever wondered how much money people involved with esports make?

How Much Money Do Esports Players Make?

Professional esports players can build up a significant fortune with prize money, alone.

Dota 2 dominated the earnings table in 2019, thanks in large part to the sizable prize pool from The International. Unsurprisingly, Dota 2 players make up the top 11 spots of the top earners list.

OG’s Johan “N0tail” Sundstein takes first place with a total prize of $6.9 million.

Fortnite World Cup winner Bugha is the first non-Dota 2 player at number 12, with a total prize of $3.1 million.

League of Legends all-time great Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s salary is reportedly around the range of $2.5 million. Faker recently made headlines by becoming a part-owner of T1 Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of T1 (formerly known as SKT).

Top 10 Highest Earning Esports Players

Player IDPlayer NameCountryTotal EarningsHighest Paying Game
N0tailJohan SundsteinDenmark$6.9 millionDota 2
JerAxJesse VainikkaFinland$6.5 millionDota 2
anaAnathan PhamAustralia$6 millionDota 2
CebSébastien DebsFrance$5.5 millionDota 2
TopsonTopias TaavitsainenFinland$5.4 millionDota 2
KuroKyKuro TakhasomiGermany$5.2 millionDota 2
Miracle-Amer Al-BarkawiJordan$4.7 millionDota 2
MinD_ContRoLIvan IvanovBulgaria$4.5 millionDota 2
GHMaroun MerhejLebanon$4.1 millionDota 2
MatumbamanLasse UrpalainenFinland$3.6 millionDota 2

How Do Esports Teams Make Money?

Esports teams make money primarily through sponsorship deals and advertising. And since esports can easily reach out to a massive audience, that makes slapping a company’s logo on a team’s shirt a no-brainer.

Teams also make money from revenue sharing under the franchise system, not to mention the prize money from tournaments.

Merchandising is also a very important part of the revenue, with the sales of official team apparel.

Esports Industry – How Much is Esports Worth?

It would be an understatement to say that esports are quite profitable. The industry surpassed the $1 billion mark in revenue last year.

According to a research by Green Man Gaming, the esports industry has been growing at an average of 15% a year since 2013.

Revenue increased 54% in 2019 alone, while prize money is increasing at a rate of 42% a year, reaching $173 million last year.

How to Invest in Esports

Research firm Newzoo project that total esports viewership will reach 646 million by the end of 2023. While Goldman Sachs expects revenue to hit $2.96 billion in 2022.

Such rapid growth makes esports an attractive opportunity for investors and there are plenty of options to get your foot in the door.

The most obvious entry into the esports market is through video game publishers. Companies such as Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Tencent Holdings boast strong esports catalogs.

Activision Blizzard are responsible for the Overwatch, Starcraft, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone franchises, among others. They are also investing heavily in esports themselves, launching competitive leagues for its franchises and striking a deal with Disney to broadcast Overwatch League games on ESPN and Disney XD.

Electronic Arts own the Madden and FIFA franchises and dominate the sports video game arena. While many of EA’s most popular games are built around sports licenses, they also have some strong original IPs in their arsenal such as Battlefront and the hugely popular Apex Legends.

Chinese tech giant Tencent has an extremely strong esports portfolio. The company has a stake in some of the most popular esports games in the world such as League of Legends, Fortnite, PUBG and Honor of Kings. Tencent is also the majority shareholder in Huya, China’s premier live game-streaming platform.

Gaming hardware companies are another viable option if you want to bet on the future of esports. Hardware companies that manufacture the peripherals such as headsets, keyboards and processing units will also benefit from the rise in popularity of esports.

Razer, Turtle Beach, Nvidia and Logitech are some of the hardware companies worth considering if you want to go down this route.

Celebrity Esports Team Owners

Just like any other industry experiencing rapid growth, esports has attracted many celebrities wanting the grab a piece of the pie.

Canadian rapper Drake and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert are part of the board at 100 Thieves, one of the biggest names in esports.

Former NBA star Rick Fox is the owner of Vision Esports, the parent company of team Echo Fox.

Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joined Vision Entertainment as investors in 2018.

Team Solo Mid (TSM), meanwhile, has NBA stars Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala, as well as NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young among its investors.

Axiomatic Gaming, the parent company of Team Liquid, has Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson among its owners.

Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O’Neal and Jimmy Rollins are all investors in NRG Esports.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is also the majority owner of CompLexity Gaming.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, meanwhile, also owns Overwatch League team Boston Uprising.

This is just to name a few and we’re sure there will be plenty more big names joining the esports world in 2020.

How to Watch Esports Events in the US

Streaming is the best way to watch esports in the US. YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Gaming have the biggest shares of the market, and are fairly easy to use as well.

In 2016, ESL launched the first ever 24/7 esports TV channel, esportsTV.

Esports Careers

The esports industry continues to grow, which means more and more job opportunities opening up.

Even if you aren’t a pro player, there are many other ways to get involved with professional esports.

Jobs in Esports

  • Professional player
  • Coach
  • Caster
  • Team owner
  • Manager
  • Tournament admin
  • Referee
  • Sales Manager
  • PR
  • Social media manager
  • Streamer/content creator
  • Journalist
  • Player agent
  • Broadcast production
  • Legal advisor

How Much Do Esports Casters Make?

Most esports casters, or shoutcasters, earn their living as freelancers. On one hand, it gives them more options, but that comes at the cost of job and income stability.

The information isn’t readily available, but it is noted that top casters supposedly make from $2,000 to $3,000 per day. This varies a lot, as seasoned professionals obviously charge higher fees.

While not as common, some casters are hired directly by the gaming companies as employees. Naturally, in this situation their salaries are not publicly available.

History of Esports

While there is no way of telling when the term esports was used for the first time, video game competitions have been taking place since the early ‘70s.

The first esport competition was a Spacewar! tournament held at Stanford University on October 19, 1972. A far cry from the multimillionaire prize pools in modern esports, the reward was a one-year subscription for Rolling Stone magazine.

In 1980, Atari held a Space Invaders championship that drew in over 10,000 players.

Video game competitions were becoming quite popular, although gathering players for the tournaments remained a challenging task.

Enter the internet, which allowed the competitive scene as we know it to take its first steps.

The ‘90s and the early 2000s laid the groundwork with popular FPS and RTS games. Doom, Unreal Tournament, Counter Strike, Quake, Starcraft, Age of Empires and Warcraft all had fairly popular multiplayer features.

Red Annihilation, a competitive Quake event from 1997, is considered the first ever esports event. The competition drew in 2,000 players, holding an online qualifier that selected 16 finalists, who were then flown to Atlanta.

The final round took place during the 1997 E3, while players were allowed to bring along their own mice and keyboards – much like modern esports.

The 2010s then saw the rise of global competitions, as well as the first millionaire prizes. Viewership also grew exponentially during that time, leading us to the current scenario of viewers tuning in in their millions.

Esports Future

The future of esports looks brighter than ever. Games are becoming increasingly popular, and the market is full of titles with an ever-growing number of players.

Prize pools continue to rise at an astronomic rate, and so does the revenue for the industry. More investors are getting drawn into the world of esports as well, and that will only increase in the future.

Esports betting is also an ever-growing market, and it will also benefit greatly from the rise of esports popularity.

The audience has also seen a significant growth, which continues at a steady pace as more viewers become familiar with the games.

If you are new to esports and betting on esports, now is the perfect opportunity to get onboard as fast as possible.