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Video Game Betting: The Rise of E-sports and Novelty Gaming Markets

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Although betting on sports has existed for several years now, the emergence of organized video gaming – also known as e-sports – has created a new avenue for betting in the recent past. From professional e-sports competitions and leagues to more exotic novelty markets on events such as video game launches, US betting sites are gradually extending their offerings, targeting video game enthusiasts and players.

Let’s dive deeper into the topic of the e-sports markets on the US betting sites and other gaming-related markets that have emerged.

E-sports Betting Basics

E-sports bets are very similar to standard sports bets, especially in more popular games and competitions. E-sports will have match betting lines for professional games and tournaments in popular games. There are match-winner bets, where players can bet on which of the two teams will win the match; outright bets, which are bets placed on which team will triumph in a tournament; map or game handicaps, where betters can wager on the number of maps or games a team will take; and map or game totals, where betters can bet on the total number of maps or games that will be won by both teams combined.

Several reports online have shown that e-sports betting alone enabled over $12 billion in total wagers in 2021.

The most bet-on esports games include:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Dota 2
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty
  • Overwatch
  • StarCraft II

Major tournaments like the League of Legends World Championship, The International (for Dota 2), and the CS: The Call of Duty World League events and the GO Majors define the highest level of e-sports betting each year.

Other bets you can place include futures bets on the overall winners of the leagues/tournaments and e-sports player props and statistical bets. Traditional online sports betting platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and many others currently have e-sports betting categories.

Console E-sports and Betting on Xbox Games

Although shooters and MOBAs are most popular in professional e-sports, console games on Xbox and PlayStation also have competitive gaming and betting options.

Some of the most popular and bet-on esports titles on Xbox include:

Halo Infinite

Halo is one of the most prominent Xbox-exclusive titles with a developed e-sports scene. Competitions such as the Halo World Championship offer large cash rewards, and the fans place their bets on them. Halo Infinite is the series’s latest installment that features an active professional scene.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty is a cross-platform game involved in the professional tour on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. Events such as the Call of Duty League Championship garner considerable wagers from the betting population.

Rocket League

The vehicular soccer game has emerged as a rather popular game in the e-sports space across both the console and the PC gaming. The Rocket League Championship Series is a popular event among all the tournaments.

However, in recent years, sportsbooks have not only focused on e-sports matchups and tournament bets but have also introduced more exotic gaming betting markets. These range from novelty props to bets on game development milestones and sales performances:

Game Release Date Betting

Creating excitement and buzz around releasing a new game is a marketing strategy many publishers utilize. A few online sports betting centers now have markets on a game’s potential launch date or time frame; the odds are offered concerning whether development occurs on time. For instance, odds were provided on whether the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion remaster would be released before or after December 13, 2022.

First weekend/first-month sales betting

There are now pre-order expectations in the form of betting lines on how fast a newly released big title can sell. These include over/under bets on factors such as opening weekend downloads/sales or the first month sales for the large AAA titles from leading publishers.

Review Score Betting

Regarding the sales performance of a game, some bookmakers allow bettors to bet on the potential review scoring ranges that critics may assign (Metacritic and others). Incorporating an over/under line or stratified betting pool for different potential review score ranges can create buzz around launch periods.

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