Best Esports Betting Sites in the UK 2021

Esports betting sites are the future, and that future is here right now. The esports market is predicted to be worth over £2 billion within a few short years, and a large part of that growth is driven by Esports betting sites and the desire that players have to wager on their favourite teams, players, and games. Millions of bettors are jumping on the bandwagon and if you want to wager on this rapidly-growing market, now is the time to join them. Whether you’re sick of traditional online bookies and want an Esports bookmaker that caters for your preferred games or you’re new to Esports in the UK and need to be pushed in the right direction, this guide can help.
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How to Select the Best Esports Betting Site

What makes a good Esports betting site? How does one bookmaker differ from another and what should you be looking for? It’s actually quite simple:

Regulation

To operate legally in the United Kingdom, bookmakers need to have a license from the UK Gambling Commission. If they don’t, and you’re a UK-based player, then you should take your money elsewhere.

Bonuses

Let’s not beat around the bush—bonuses are very important. A site offering £100 in bonuses isn’t necessarily better than one that offers £200, but it’s definitely one of the points you need to consider.

Coverage

Not all Esports betting sites use the same software or cover the same sports. Spend some time on the site to see if it covers the games and events that you want to bet on.

Markets

If you prefer Over/Under betting, you may need a site with more extensive markets than if you were to stick with Match Results. Bigger isn’t always better, but it definitely is if you enjoy placing niche bets and prop bets.

Esportsbooks vs Traditional Sportsbooks

How many times have you whipped out your tennis racket and played a few games with friends? How many rugby balls, footballs, and American footballs do you own? The answer is probably very few, and you’re not alone. The average person betting on these games and others like them doesn’t actually play them. You might have a kick about with friends every now and then, and maybe you played in your youth, but that’s just one or two sports. And if you are playing to a semi-pro or professional level, you will actually be forbidden from betting.

One of the great things about Esports is that most bettors are players themselves and some even have an intimate knowledge of the game’s mechanics. Esportsbooks are also newer than their traditional counterparts, and so they are working harder to attract customers, which tends to produce some interesting offers and free bets. More importantly, they are less restricted by traditional customs and practices, and so they tend to be more innovative and have more freedom to explore.

Esportsbooks vs Traditional Sportsbooks
Esportsbooks

 

Incredible Variety
Fairly New
Not as Tightly Regulated
Games that Bettors Play Themselves
In-Play Betting Isn’t as Common
A Large Number of Tournaments
Many Different Events
Traditional Sportsbooks

 

Bigger Bonuses are Available
Many Traditional Sportsbooks Available
Very Few Esport Events
More Established Markets
Rigid Attitude Toward New Sports
Major Events are Televised
Thousands of Events to Bet On

What Are Esports?

Esports are often considered to be a single betting category, not unlike football, rugby, or basketball. In actual fact, it’s a term that defines a wide range of sports, games, and betting opportunities, and that’s something that you just don’t get with traditional sports. With Esports you can move from football (FIFA) to strategy (Starcraft 2). You can move from single-player armed combat (Call of Duty and Counter-Strike) to futuristic team games (Rocket League).

That’s one of the great benefits of Esportsbooks, but there are more, including the fact that many of these games are played during the same tournament or event and, in some cases, are contested by the same (or similar) groups of players. The Fnatic team, for instance, is best known for playing League of Legends, but it also competes in Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Apex Legends, and a host of other games.

The Most Popular Esports To Bet On

Video gaming trends come and go with alarming regularity, but popular Esports tend to stick around for the long-haul. In fact, games like StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike have been around for years, and even Overwatch and Dota 2 can’t be classed as “new” in the rapidly changing Esports industry.

rocket league

Rocket League

Imagine if football was played by rocket-propelled cars in a giant arena. It sounds like the fever dream of a preteen, but that’s essentially the premise of Rocket League and it’s every bit as epic as it sounds! Rocket League blends the madness of high-speed cars with the skill of football in a world where anything can happen. You can place a variety of bets on these games, some similar to football bets, some similar to battle arena bets. It has a little bit of everything.

counter strike

Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike is a first-person-shooter that was released in 1999 as a mod for Half-Life, before growing into a massive and beloved game of its own. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the 2012 sequel, is one of the biggest esports in the world right now, with team-based and player-based betting opportunities. You can follow entire teams of terrorists or counter-terrorists as they complete a host of missions, all while trying to eliminate one another.

league of legends

League of Legends

League of Legends was first launched in 2009. It is a multiplayer battle arena game and is often said to be the world’s biggest Esport. Known simply as “LoL”, this Riot Games creation draws millions of viewers and hosts events with millions of pounds in prize money. There are 13 leagues internationally, all hosted by the game’s publisher, and these span a variety of skill levels. If any single Esport has the potential to compete with a traditional sport like football, it’s LoL.

More Popular Esports

Dota 2

Dota 2 is a multiplayer battle arena game that was published by Valve back in 2013. It is one of the biggest games on Steam and once had over 1 million concurrent players. As an Esport, Dota 2 offers many of the same betting opportunities as League of Legends (discussed below), including team-based and player-based markets. It is contested between 2 teams of 5 players, both of which compete to destroy a large structure that is defended by the opposing team. It’s relatively easy to follow as a new player, but the speed at which experienced players play the game means you may need to watch a few in advance before you get to grips with the rules.

StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2 was first released in 2021. The Blizzard Entertainment title followed the release of the original StarCraft way back in 1998. It’s a real-time strategy game that follows a similar format to other RTS classics like Command & Conquer and Age of Empires. The genre experienced a golden age during the early 2000s and while it is no longer as popular as it once was, StarCraft 2 is still a force to be reckoned with in the Esports sector.

Despite its age, StarCraft 2 remains immensely popular in the esports industry and will likely hold onto that popularity for many years to come. Not only does it sate the need that some players and fans still have for the RTS genre, but it has received a few major updates and expansions over the years.

Overwatch

Initially launched in 2015, Overwatch has been described as a “hero shooter”. It was tailormade for the Esport generation and unsurprisingly, it has become one of the industry’s most popular titles. Overwatch is a first-person shooter but it focuses more on team combat than other similar types of games. It is available on most consoles but the biggest Esport events tend to focus on PC, as it allows for more customisation and greater power.

In recent years, Overwatch’s popularity has faded somewhat and it has struggled to maintain the longevity of classic FPS games like Counter-Strike. Fortnite, Apex Legends, and other FPS titles have knocked it off its perch and the general public’s hunger for Overwatch has subsided. It’s likely that Overwatch 2 will provide a huge spark for the community and see the game return to the top, but despite being first announced back in 2019, Overwatch 2 has yet to materialise as of 2021.

FIFA

For many years, FIFA battled with Pro Evolution Soccer to be called the biggest football franchise in the world and while many still argue that PES is the better option, FIFA has been winning that race for years. It sells far more copies and has done more to attract online players (through its Ultimate Team) and Esports betting sites. There are online and offline events, including the FIFAe Club World Cup, and it has gotten so big that Premier League clubs are even signing their very own Esport players. In fact, Manchester City signed its first Esports player way back in 2016—a veritable lifetime ago in the gaming industry.

One of the great things about betting on FIFA is that it’s just like betting on football. You can wager on Total Goals, Correct Score, Eventual Winner, and more. You can even place Accumulators and Outright bets. Just like in the real FIFA World Cup competition. But that doesn’t mean that FIFA games will replicate the real thing. In some games, you’ll see more goals than throw-ins, something that would never happen in real football. Red cards are also quite common, and it’s not uncommon to see multiple reds, because it just takes one angry or mistimed button-press to anger to ref. Still, making the transition from traditional football betting to FIFA Esport betting is relatively easy.

Call of Duty

When you look at where Call of Duty is now—a console shooter with a massive online following—it’s hard to imagine that it began life as a fairly modest game focusing on accurate representations of the World Wars. Call of Duty is probably one of the world’s biggest first-person shooters and it has taken the Esports world by storm. Not only are new games added to the series on an annual basis, but with the introduction of Warzone and subsequent updates, Call of Duty has been able to compete with the likes of Counter-Strike, Fortnite, PUBG, and pretty much all other FPS titles on the market.

Esports Betting – What to Consider?

It is a behemoth and it is steamrolling the Esports industry, with no signs of slowing down. One of its many benefits is that most players are familiar with the game and so you can bet on it and watch it without feeling confused or overwhelmed. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on whether or not you’re a good loser) you could even bump into a few professional players during one of your own online games of CoD.

Esportsbooks Bonuses and Promotions

Many bookmakers use the same software, offer similar markets, and have many of the same payment methods. Bonuses are one of the few differentiators, and they are also the most important. A bonus is your incentive to join and stick around, and if used properly, it could get you off to a running start. There are several different types of bonus offered by Esports betting sites:

Matched Deposit Bonus

Your deposit will be matched to a certain amount. For instance, if the bonus is listed as follows: 100% up to £200, it means that every penny you deposit up to £200 will be matched 100%, essentially doubling your deposit. If you deposit more than this amount, you will get the full £200, plus the amount that you deposited.

No Deposit Bonus

A no deposit bonus offers exactly what you’d expect: a bonus in lieu of a deposit. They are becoming increasingly rare on UK betting sites due to the strict regulations surrounding new memberships, but you can still find them every now and then. You don’t need to make a deposit to acquire these bonuses, but you will be asked to verify your account, and this often includes added a debit card. If that sounds like a lot of effort for a bonus that is supposed to be free and easy, now you know why they are so rare!

Free Bets

A Free Bet is a fixed sum of money that you can use to place a bet on the market of your choice. Free Bets rarely come with wagering requirements, but it’s worth noting that you won’t keep the stake even if your bet is successful. For instance, if you place a £10 real money bet on odds of 2.00, you’ll get a profit of £10 for a total return of £20 (£10 win + £10 stake). With a Free Bet, however, you’ll only get the winnings and that initial stake won’t be returned.

Loyalty Bonus

Sportsbooks focus most of their efforts on convincing players to join. But some understand that it is just as important to keep those players active and will offer a variety of Loyalty Bonuses to ensure they stick around. Loyalty Bonuses vary, but the most common bonus assumes the form of a VIP Club. The majority of these clubs add all members as soon as they join, but some are reserved for the biggest spenders and are by-invitation-only. In a VIP Club, you will be given Loyalty Points every time you play and can turn these points into cash rewards, bonuses, and more.

Accumulator Bonus

An accumulator or “ACCA” is a combination of bets and an Accumulator Bonus typically gives players a stake refund if all but one of their bets lose. They are more common on traditional sportsbooks but have recently been adopted by a few Esports betting sites as well. ACCA bonuses vary from site to site and can include different requirements concerning the number of bets and the total stake of those bets.

What are Esports Betting Special Markets?

Esports betting markets can be similar to traditional betting markets. The FIFA Esport markets aren’t all that different from football, for instance, as they are geared around Handicaps, Totals, and Match Results. However, there are some massive differences elsewhere and you’ll find markets that just wouldn’t exist in the traditional betting industry.

For example, you can bet that one player will kill another, blow up a building, take control of a map, or even blow themselves up with a grenade. MMA, Aussie Rules, and Rugby Union can be pretty brutal, but even they don’t go that far. What follows is a list of the unique betting options and markets that you can find on Esports betting sites.

Skins Betting

Skins Betting was initially used as a way of circumventing online gambling regulations, as bettors would wager “skins” and other in-game items in place of real money. “Skins” are basically the colours and designs that fit over certain characters and weapons. As the Esports industry becomes more regulated, skin betting will likely fade away and players will make a transition to the real thing.

Fantasy Betting

Fantasy sports are popular in countries where gambling is tightly controlled, but they are also played all over the world. You create teams of top players and earn points when those players excel. If you’re the biggest point scorer for a day, week, or season, you earn money.

Map Winner

Which team or player will score the highest points, claim the most territory, and ultimately win the map? These bets are available for first-person shooter games and team games like Call of Duty.

Proposition Bet

The term “Proposition Bet” or “Prop Bet” is not as common in the UK as it is in the United States, but it is still used. In the UK, it is used to describe a unique bet and one that typically has an “A” or “B” outcome. You may see proposition bets relating to extremely unlikely scenarios, such as a player in a first-person shooter dying from their own grenade or a FIFA player being shown the red card. You will also find bets that have simple and frequent outcomes, such as “Which team/player will score first”. Many Esportsbooks also use the term “Special Bets” in place of “Proposition Bets”.

First Blood

First Blood actually takes on a couple of different meanings in an Esports context. One of those, FirstBlood, is a community for pro gamers and aspiring pro gamers. In a betting context, First Blood typically refers to the “first kill”. It’s a term that has been used for years, right back to the early Team 17 Worms games, when the little creatures would shout it when they blasted another player off the map. Although it depends on the game, the market, and the context of the bet, you’re essentially betting on a certain player or team making the first kill or connecting with the first shot.

A Brief History of Esports

Although competitive gaming seems like a relatively modern invention, it actually dates back to the early 1970s. One of the first recorded events occurred in 1972 when university students played a game known as Spacewar. The early video game industry was also highly competitive, with certain arcades and players receiving a lot of press following record-breaking scores on games like Pacman.

The first major event took place in 1980 during the Space Invaders Championship, and within a couple of decades, they became a regular thing, with first-person-shooters like Quake and real-time-strategy games like StarCraft becoming dominant in the late 1990s.

StarCraft, and its sequel StarCraft 2, actually paved the way for a lot of games and tournaments. These games, and the events that surrounded them, became huge in South Korea and Japan and this influenced the competitive gaming industry in Europe and the USA. Today, Esports are massive, and thanks to Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming sites, there is an entire generation of players who have the same reverence for gamers that previous generations had for football players.

Top Esports Betting Site for April

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18+ New Players.Max one £10 free bet.Qualifying bets must be placed at odds 1/1 or greater.Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req.Skrill,Neteller and Paypal not eligible.Real money bets required for Karamba battle.Participants subject to timeout.£1000 winner cash prize guaranteed.T&C Apply.