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What is eSports? History, Top Teams, Revenues and Risks

To a generation where Tetris, Super Mario, and Pac-Man represented the apex of gaming technology, there may be some confusion about why eSports is now a multi-million dollar industry, where competitors win hundreds of thousands of pounds and untold glory.

Our article below explores why eSports is rivalling athletic sports for events to bet on, why it is proving so popular, and how much money is being pumped into the practice.

The History of eSports

What is eSports - History

The history of eSports, or competitive video gaming, can be traced back to the 1970s when the first video game competitions occurred.

However, it was only in the late 1990s and early 2000s that eSports began to gain significant traction, coinciding with the internet's rise and gaming technology advancements.

In 2002, Major League Gaming (MLG) was established as a professional eSports organisation, hosting tournaments for games such as 'Halo' and drawing in large audiences. Since then, eSports have grown exponentially in popularity and scale.

According to a study by Newzoo in 2020, the global eSports market was valued at nearly $950 million, demonstrating its undeniable appeal and widespread acceptance.

The same study forecasts that by the end of 2023, the global eSports market will surpass $1.5 billion, a testament to its booming popularity and growth potential. eSports are no longer confined to the realm of niche entertainment but have emerged as a global phenomenon reshaping the competitive sports landscape.

How does eSports work?

A fair question - given that the entire premise of watching eSports and enjoying it as sporting entertainment depends on the viewer's engagement. It depends a lot on the game type and the scoring systems designed within the game's framework.

Players compete individually or as teams in strategy-based games, requiring high skill, coordination, and strategic planning.

These games are broadcast live online, primarily on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Tournaments range from small local events to significant international championships with multi-million dollar prizes. The popularity of eSports is supported by a robust community of passionate fans who follow and engage with their favourite players and teams. Supporters will frequently subscribe to these platforms to follow their favourite gamers.


Which games are famous for betting on eSports?

A wide array of eSports is available for betting - we have picked out a few popular ones that attract a lot of punter money.

  1. League of Legends (LoL): This is a multiplayer online battle arena game where players work in teams to destroy the core structure in the enemy base.

  2. Dota 2: Another multiplayer online battle arena game where teams compete to destroy a large structure defended by the opposing team.

  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO): Here, teams assume the roles of either terrorists or counter-terrorists and battle each other with varying objectives.

  4. Overwatch: This team-based first-person shooter game has players work together to secure and defend control points on a map or escort a payload.

  5. Call of Duty: This first-person shooter game has various modes, such as a battle royale mode and classic multiplayer, that create varied betting opportunities.

What are the top teams in eSports?

What are the top teams in eSports?

Several teams have consistently maintained their dominance in the dynamic world of eSports. At the upper echelons, Team Liquid, a multinational professional eSports organisation based in the Netherlands, is known for its prowess in games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends.

FaZe Clan from the United States is another force to reckon with, particularly in First Person Shooter (FPS) games.

South Korea's T1, with multiple championships in League of Legends, is considered one of the most successful in the eSports sphere.

Finally, G2 Esports, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, excel in several games, including League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League.


What types of markets are there to bet on eSports?

Again, it depends on the mechanics of the eSport in question, but generally, you can find a variation of these types of pre-match and outright betting markets:

  1. Match Winner: This is the most common eSports betting market. It involves betting which team or player will win a match in a larger tournament.

  2. Tournament Winner: In this market, bettors place wagers on which team or player they expect to win an entire tournament.

  3. First Map Winner: Gamblers bet on who they think will win the first map in games where the outcome is decided over several rounds or maps.

  4. Handicap Betting: This involves giving one team a virtual advantage or disadvantage, making the betting more balanced when one team is highly favoured.

  5. Total Rounds/Maps: Bettors wager on the total number of rounds or maps that will be played in a match, regardless of the match's outcome.

What devices do competitors use when involved in eSports?

What devices do competitors use when involved in eSports?

Competitors in eSports typically use high-performance devices to maintain their edge. These may include advanced gaming PCs with powerful processors, high refresh rate monitors, and graphics cards that ensure smooth and highly detailed visuals.

In addition to PCs, gamers may use specialised gaming consoles, such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, depending on the game being played. The gaming mouse and keyboards, often with programmable buttons and sensitivity adjustments, are crucial in providing precision control. Furthermore, high-quality headsets are also commonly used for clear communication and better in-game audio experience.

Is there a regulatory body in eSports?

Is there a regulatory body in eSports?

This is a topic up for constant discussion within the eSports community. Currently, the fairness and integrity of a competition is overseen by the game developers in question. For example, the World Series of Warzone is organised by and officiated by its makers - Activision.

There are several compelling arguments for the introduction of an independent authority for eSports - much like FIFA in football.

Proponents point to standardising rules, which vary widely across tournaments and games. They also emphasise the need for player protection, as the lack of regulation can lead to exploitation, unfair contracts, or cheating.

Additionally, the absence of a unified regulatory body may engender issues related to match-fixing and even doping. Therefore, implementing a regulatory body could help establish a fair, safe, and competitive environment in the rapidly evolving eSports industry.

Are there risks to betting on eSports?

Are there risks to betting on eSports?

There are risks to betting on all sports - but with eSports, there is a sense that bettors need to understand the arena comprehensively for the best chance of winning some money.

That means researching each player meticulously, playing styles and how they will match up to their opponent, which player is in form, and so on.

Furthermore, the lack of any regulatory body means you are relying on the integrity of the competition and the organiser's ability to crack down on cheating and match-fixing. Although highly effective measures are in place to guard against these issues, we are still in the early years of this betting type. Only bet what you can afford to lose.


Fast, exciting, and extremely well-funded, the only way is up for eSports, both as a competitive sport and what it offers the betting world.

There is no telling what the future holds in this arena, especially given the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, and other technological elements.

Whatever happens, it could be an exciting ride!

Michelle Thomas

Author: Michelle Thomas
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I give my readers tips and tricks on choosing the best deals for themselves. I genuinely enjoy being able to advise people and steer them away from the scams and corrupt deals that pop up all over the place. Anyone can fall victim, and I want to help unsuspecting readers know the best way to deal with these issues. It's always a pleasure when a reader thanks me for assisting them, whether it be to avoid a frustrating problem, or finding the best product.
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