How Does Esports Betting Work?

How Does Esports Betting Work

Esports has become increasingly popular in the realm of competitive sports and with that, betting on esports has gained popularity as well.

A few common ways to bet on esports include real money betting, skin betting, social betting, fantasy betting, and challenge betting.

Real Money Betting

This is the traditional method of betting similar to many other sports where people place bets on certain outcomes that have accompanying odds and are paid if their bets are correct. The most common and simple wager is where gamblers bet on the match winner. A few other real money wagers include outrights/futures, handicap wagers, total wagers, correct score, and specials/props.


When betting on outrights/futures, gamblers choose who they believe will win the whole competition, teams that will qualify for a tournament, or even what stage a team will make it to.

Handicap Wagers

With handicap wagers, handicaps are placed on the competing teams before the competition. It is the job of the gambler to predict who will win the competition after the handicap is applied to the final score of each team.

Total Wager

In a total wager, gamblers bet on the total number of maps played in a match. This is also the same as the total number of points scored in a match and gamblers can choose to either bet on the over or under the point total decided by the bookmaker.

Correct Score

For a correct score wager, gamblers bet on the exact score of a competition. Since many competitions are played in best of three series, a gambler could either bet on a team winning the series 2-1 or 2-0 matches, or losing 1-2 or 0-2 matches. To win the bet, the player must choose the specific team and the correct score for that team.


Different from betting on the entirety of a match, a special/props wager is made on an event that will happen during a match. Since this type of wager is usually more difficult to predict, it is often placed for fun instead of earning a payout. An example of a specials/props wager may include the first team to score in the game.

Skin Betting

Skin betting is primarily involved with wagering items found in video games. These items may include gear and equipment, weapons, and virtual currencies from the games. There are several websites and online marketplaces where players can purchase, sell, and trade items and currencies. Additionally, there are also sites for players to gamble on esport games with their virtual currency and items instead of real money.

Social Betting

Social betting is a type of informal betting where players place bets on the outcomes of competitions with one another. Players may bet real money along with virtual currency and items from the video games. Since this is an informal way of betting, players must agree to the terms and conditions before the bet and are responsible for holding one another accountable for paying the winner. This form of betting is very risky because it can lead to conflict and ultimately, players may not receive the payment they deserve.

Fantasy Betting

Similar to other fantasy sports betting, people may also participate in fantasy esports where they build a roster of professional esport players. To enter a fantasy contest, players purchase a ticket ahead of time similar to paying an entry fee. When drafting their teams, participants are given an imaginary budget that they can use to purchase players for one or multiple esport matches. Throughout the matches, gamblers are awarded points based on how well their players are performing and whoever has the most points at the end of the competition is awarded the designated payout.

Challenge Betting

This is a type of head-to-head betting where gamers compete against one another in various games and place bets on themselves instead of on other players. The gamblers may bet real money or items, skins, and virtual currency. While players often bet informally before a match, there are also official websites that are responsible for collecting fees and distributing earnings to the winner of the competition.

Esports Betting Strategy

When placing bets on esports, it is important to have a strategy in place. One key aspect of betting is understanding the odds and calculating the corresponding payouts before placing a bet. This will help determine the value of a bet and which bets are worth making. Another important aspect is performing research and analysis to gain a better understanding of the markets, games, player statistics and playing styles, and even past performances.


Yes, betting on esports is legal in the United States. However, it will depend on what state you live in. Several states that have clearly established legal esports gambling include Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia. While other states such as Arkansas, Delaware, and New York have legalized sports betting, they have not explicitly stated that esports gambling is legal. In the case of Indiana, the state legalized sports gambling but specifically determined that betting on esports was illegal.

What are the best Esports betting websites?

There are many different websites that allow users to bet on esports. A few of the best websites to bet on include Bovada, BetOnline, and MyBookie. Bovada is an established betting website that has been around for a while and has earned a reputation of being a safe site. BetOnline is another great site for betting because it provides profit worthy lines and odds. MyBookie is a popular website that is known for offering lucrative bonuses with its payouts.

What esport games do people bet on?

A few of the most popular esports games that people bet on include League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2), and Starcraft 2. In terms of the esports betting volume by game, League of Legends controls 38% followed by CS:GO with 29%, Dota 2 with 18%, and Starcraft 2 with 7%. League of Legends is the top game for real-money betting but CS:GO has the most skins traded in the skin betting market.

What are jackpot games?

Jackpot games allow players to bet small amounts with the opportunity to earn generous payouts. Currently, jackpot games are only offered through skin betting websites. Therefore, players can only bet skins and other in-game items in their attempt to win the jackpot. Within the skin betting market, jackpot games account for the second largest percentage of gambling activity at 25.8% after sports betting at 44.79%.