eSports is a trend that can no longer be stopped. Depending on the computer or console game, players can compete against each other individually or in teams. In competitions, which are usually organized in leagues or tournaments, the participants compete against each other. The events are then broadcast live over the Internet. These games are watched live by millions of viewers at the same time. eSports has long since ceased to be just a hobby for nerds, but a highly professional billion-dollar industry.
In total, over 500 million viewers watch eSports events around the world. Tournaments in the game DOTA 2 have paid out prize money of over 60 million US dollars. The tournaments, teams and players are sponsored by major brands such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, BMW and many more. Korea is considered the home of eSports. There, eSports players are celebrated as superstars and the games are even broadcast on television.
The competitions are not (only) held from a home computer. On the contrary, the offline events are real big events. You can then place bets on these events and the individual games with eSports bookmakers. The games are broadcast on big screens and there is a huge fan base in the event hall.
Money rules the roost here too. The best players make over half a million dollars a year. Even some tennis or soccer pros have to go to great lengths to break into these regions. The best tournaments promise a multi-million dollar prize pool. Some major events are watched on the internet by over five million viewers. This means a lot of potential for players and bookmakers.
In Germany, eSports betting still occupies more of a niche, but the situation is changing noticeably. No wonder, because eSports betting is fun, offers variety (compared to classic sports betting), often good odds and many other advantages. Not only players and organizers have been trying for some time to anchor eSports as an official Olympic discipline, but sports betting providers have also long since recognized that professional competition is comparable to other sports such as football.
With eSports betting, there is even the advantage that, unlike football, the luck factor plays little or no role in the competition. Whereas in football a weaker team can score a surprise victory with an opponent's red card or an opponent's own goal, the fixed rules in games like Dota 2 or LoL leave little room for such lucky shots. The motto here is: the best team wins.
With corresponding providers, it has been possible to bet on the results of eSports events for several years now.
A question that comes up again and again in connection with eSports: Are eSports betting or even sports betting legal in Germany? There is now a clear answer to this: yes, at least with the right providers.
Because in October 2020, an unexpected agreement was reached in Germany in the dispute over the legalization of online gambling. Because before the agreement, online providers could not offer legal gambling throughout Germany via licenses. Sites that offered online gambling in Germany were without a license, i.e. illegal.
Due to this unregulated black market, the new State Treaty on Gambling came into force in July 2021. Since providers always operated from abroad, combating this black market was previously difficult or even impossible. With the new treaty, this should change in the future.
With this new treaty, providers can apply for a license and thus legalize their online services. The GlüStV, which will come into force in summer 2021, defines more clearly what a sporting event is, namely a competition between people according to certain rules. However, the new version does not clarify whether eSports should now be considered a sport and therefore whether eSports betting is legal.
The agreement states, "The Intergovernmental Agreement therefore contains neither a general ban nor a direct authorisation, for example, for betting on 'eSports' events. Rather, the authority proceeds under the betting licensing process in accordance with Section 21." Since 28 providers have already licensed online sports betting, there are now enough providers for eSports betting.
As with classic sports, there are "disciplines" in eSports that get a lot of attention. When it comes to eSports betting, these are the four big titles:
- League of Legends (LoL)
- Counter-Strike CS: GO
- Dota 2
In addition, there are eSports games such as Overwatch, Hearthstone and Rocket League that are frequently found at bookmakers. Games like FIFA or Fortnite are at least as popular among gambling enthusiasts.
Counter-Strike is not only one of the most popular PC games, also eSports related events can be found in the program of almost every online betting provider. The game is a so-called online tactical shooter, where two teams of mainly 5 players compete against each other. The most popular mode, Defusion Mode, involves one team (Terrorists) planting a bomb (or alternatively holding a hostage) while another team (Counter Terrorists) tries to defuse it (or free the hostages). The winner is the team that either achieves the objective or eliminates all opponents.
Dota 2 belongs to the genre of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Here, there are also two competing factions called Dire and Radiant. Usually, each team consists of five human players. The goal is to destroy the enemy base (Ancient). Easier said than done, because in addition to many obstacles like defense towers, each faction gets computer-controlled additional units to take part in the battle.
Unlike Counter-Strike, character development plays a role here. There are a total of 115 characters available, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that can be improved by eliminating enemy players and buildings. The game is free to play, by the way.
Similar to Dota 2, in the classic game two teams of 5 players fight against each other and their goal is to destroy the main building opposite (Nexus). However, before it can be attacked, several defenses must first be disabled on one of the three-stage routes, also called Stripes. There is also a focus on character development. This is achieved by diligently collecting experience points. Like Dota 2, LoL is also free to play. League of Legends betting is available at almost all bookmakers participating in the program.
Starcraft 2, unlike Dota or LoL, is not a pure fantasy game, but rather belongs to the science fiction genre. First it is important to create a base. and then recruit an army; This is done by obtaining raw materials. This is where players can take the first crucial step. In the second part, the previously assembled army is sent into battle.
It all comes down to reaction speed and tactical flair in the first place, as the game allows for many different tactical approaches. Due to the enormous speed, especially in multiplayer mode, and also due to the fact that some special knowledge about the "races" and planets present in the game is required, the game is usually considered not easy for beginners.
The FIFA football simulator plays a rather minor role for bookmakers compared to classic football betting. However, due to the great popularity of this game, especially in the private sector, you can find more and more important and serious tournaments at the bookmakers.
The free game Fortnite is enormously popular, especially with young players, but also with many professional footballers such as Antoine Griezmann, who even copied his goal cheer from the game. The game is mainly characterized by its unusual comic book look, where the gameplay resembles a classic shooter like Counter-Strike, only much friendlier and without explicit violent images.
The goal is to eliminate all enemies. However, the weapon must first be collected. The game is particularly attractive because the game map constantly gets smaller in a round, which avoids lengthy elimination battles.
For outsiders, it is often difficult to assess who or which team is currently particularly good in a game. So if you want to bet on eSports without playing the games yourself or following the respective game titles permanently, you should get some tips and information beforehand.
If you want to be successful at eSports betting, you need to know the absolute essential information. In the end, it's all about knowing who is the favorite or the loser. Therefore, information about the eSports teams and individual players is especially important. In eSports betting, it is all about estimating as accurately as possible in advance who can actually be the winner. As a beginner, you will only get this information if you inform yourself sufficiently.
For example, have there been reports of a player being kicked off a team? Then, of course, that can change everything. Are there statistics about whether the two teams have met before and how that meeting went? If the betting provider provides this information, you should of course use it as a beginner for your eSports betting.
Tip: Even if you don't find any information about the team and the performances on the bookmaker's website, there is of course all the information you need on the internet: Most teams now have their own website where they provide information about the team, the current training and the current performances.
The popularity of eSports often changes faster than the popularity of many classic sports. This is mainly due to the rapid development of new games. When a sequel appears in a game like Call of Duty or StarCraft, it doesn't mean that the game has a completely different gameplay. As a result, eSports pros often switch to a newer version and usually continue playing at the top. The biggest changes are often found in graphics and multiplayer updates that make matchmaking more engaging and/or easier.
Version 1.6 of the tactical shooter Counter-Strike was an exception for a long time: years after its release, it was able to keep up with many new shooters because its balanced gameplay kept players interested for a long time. Even direct successors of Counter-Strike like CS:CZ could not keep up. It wasn't until the current version that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was able to replace its predecessors and bring the game into the 21st century graphically.
The leagues promoted by the competition organizers are, especially in Germany and Europe, the eSports League, which attracted millions of active players with its leagues and tournaments at the beginning of eSports. For a long time, the ESL Pro Series was a major league alongside international individual tournaments; it became known as a kind of Bundesliga for eSports players.
With the increasing professionalization and internationalization, tournaments like the World Cyber Games, have become a kind of Olympic Games for eSports players. In addition, the eSports World Championship has been added. Other professional eSports leagues and organizers include Major League Gaming Championship, ELEAGUE, DreamHack, eSports Championship Series and GCS.
The gaming business in Germany is growing steadily, as is eSports. There are over 30 million gamers in Germany. However, the necessary steps to bring digital sports into society are still missing. Politicians are forced to act. As eSports develops important skills that are not only significant in the digital world, but also require training and sports structures, the authorities will have to fully recognise eSports as a sport in its own right in the future. Club and federation legislation and support will be helpful in creating an Olympic perspective.
But when will this become a reality? In 2020/21 in particular, it became clear that the social value of gaming and eSports as an entertainment medium is far more than just a niche. Another benefit is that online formats are often not tied to a specific venue.
With the launch of the Olympic Virtual Series (OSV), even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken the first big step into the world of eSports. The 2021 Summer Olympics also featured eSports competitions for the first time. By adding the Olympic Virtual Series to the Olympic Games, it seeks to mobilize virtual sports, eSports and gaming enthusiasts around the world. As a result, a new Olympic audience is expected to be reached. The president of the eSport-Bund Deutschland (ESBD), Daniel Luther also highlights the diversity of eSports variations and sees new exciting points of contact, such as shooter, sports game or strategy. The ESBD would like to see more prestigious eSports titles added in the future.