What is eSports?
When you look at it from really far away, you will find that eSports is really just people playing against each other in certain video games that are either designed for or are conducive to competitive matches. All of the glitz and glamour that you see when you look at the eSports of today is the result of years, if not decades of growth and support from the community of gamers who kept their favourite games alive.
Now, there is much more to the story of eSports than our simple explanation could ever cover, so if you are interested in learning more about the history of eSports and how it grew from grassroots gaming communities in Canada and around the world, we have a separate article that goes much deeper into the subject.
Since we are only really focusing on eSports from the betting perspective, though, everything you need to know about eSports is that it is an umbrella term that refers to all of the individual leagues and tournaments organized for many different competitive video games at various levels of both player skill and financial backing.
Sports Betting vs. eSports Betting
Since eSports entered the mainstream consciousness, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the question of whether or not eSports should be considered actual sports, as the paradigms on both sides are vastly different from each other in many ways but similar in a few specific points.
Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, though, we can tell you that eSports betting and traditional sports betting have much more in common than you might think. In fact, many of the top eSports betting sites used for CA casinos are the same as that of traditional sports, just that they have expanded their betting catalogue to include these new events.
How to Bet on eSports
So how do you actually bet on eSports? The general process is honestly pretty simple, and only takes a few steps:
Create an account at an eSports betting site of your choice.
Choose the game or game event that you want to bet on.
Make your predictions and place your bets.
Watch the event unfold and see what happens!
Of course, if you want to actually win in your bets, you will need a bit more info about what you’re betting on going in. With that, let’s dive deeper into the factors and considerations you need to be aware of when betting on eSports.
First off, it’s important to be aware of what you can actually bet on when you get into eSports betting. Thankfully, there are quite a few for you to choose from. We’ve listed some of the most common eSports bets you can make below:
These are the bread and butter of all event betting, and simply bets on which team wins at the end of a game.This is probably the place to get started on if you’re completely new to sports betting.
These bets try to guess which team will win the entire event rather than just a single match. Since they do look further into the future than simple match-winner bets, they do have the potential for much bigger wins; however, you will need quite a bit more foresight and game knowledge to make the right calls.
Some eSports betting sites will have special smaller-scale bets that allow you to wager on specific conditions that are unique to the gameplay of that particular eSport title. For instance, you can try to wager on which team in a MOBA match could achieve a map objective first, or which player earns the most kills in an FPS game.
At the core of the eSports industry is, of course, the games. Compared to the typical video games that you play with to pass the time, the video games that are most associated with eSports are built from the ground up to encourage competition, mainly by the fact that these games pit you and your team against another team of human players as opposed to computer-controlled enemies.
With so many competitive video games out nowadays, it can be quite difficult to keep track of them when we look at them individually. Thankfully, many of these games happen to fall into one of a few distinct genres that tend to share a majority of its core gameplay mechanics, and we have listed the most popular ones being played in eSports tournaments down below.
Mutiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) Tournaments
Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas or MOBAs are widely considered to be the largest eSports genre, both in terms of the number of players actively playing the game and the amount of money that goes into each tournament.
In these games, two teams of five players each battle it out in a vast arena to destroy a key structure located in the opposing team’s base. Each player takes control of a character of their choice from a vast roster, which has its own set of unique abilities. The team must work together to effectively complete minor objectives on the map (such as destroying defence towers protecting the enemy base) and eliminate the opposing team as they work towards completing the main objective.
At the moment, two games currently sit at the top of the heap when it comes to MOBAs: DOTA 2 and League of Legends. While those two games dominate the PC market with their multi-million-dollar tournaments like LoL Worlds and The International, there have been a variety of games that are competing to become the most popular MOBA, such as Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor, and Vainglory.
First Person Shooter (FPS) Tournaments
Moving away from the MOBA, we have the first person shooter or FPS. As the name suggests, the general interface of fps games lets players take control of a character from the first person perspective, encouraging players to hold their depth perception and object recognition abilities to identify and eliminate opponents quickly and accurately.
The reason why we open this section with a description of the games’ perspective is that FPS titles played in eSports vary quite a bit in terms of their pace, theme, and objective. On the one hand you have first person shooters like Counter-Strike Global Offensive (or CS:GO) and VALORANT, which have a slower gameplay pace that encourages precise aim and strong team strategy, while on the other, there are titles like Overwatch and Paladins that feature flashier moves and a more frantic game pace.
Battle Royale Tournaments
The third and last eSports genre we will be covering for this eSports betting guide is the battle royale genre. This is a variation of the shooter game genre that has players controlling their characters from either a first-person or a third-person perspective depending on their preference.
Inspired by the Japanese cult classic thriller film, the general gameplay of battle royale games place a large pool of players (typically 100) into a large island arena. Players must scavenge for weapons, armor, and tools which are strewn randomly across the map and make use of the terrain to eliminate and hide from other players in order to become the last player standing.
Arguably the most popular battle royale title in the eSports world is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, more commonly known by its shortened form, PUBG. As the genre exploded in popularity, though, newer titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends have become full-fledged eSports games in their own right.
As we mentioned earlier, most eSports betting systems are not that much different from traditional sports betting, so any experience that you already have from betting on traditional sports will carry over here. However, the actual events are a bit different from regular sports depending on the nature of the game and the decisions made by its organizers.
Unlike traditional sports, the governing body that establishes and enforces the rules of eSports games - in other words, the developers of the games - are not always the same governing body that organizes tournaments. In fact, for a lot of the earliest titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, competitive eSports tournaments were wholly organized by members of the community without the direct oversight and approval of the developers.
As such, you will find that a lot of today’s eSports tournaments, especially for games like CS:GO, are run by companies that are unrelated to the game’s developers. Some notable examples of these companies include Dreamhack and ESL, who organize the Dreamhack Open and Intel Extreme Masters, two of the largest CS:GO competitions in the world.
Meanwhile, some of the more recent eSports titles like Overwatch and VALORANT do have the full financial backing of the developers in organizing full-on eSports leagues, which is closer to what one might be used to seeing in traditional sports. Events like the Overwatch League and the VALORANT Champions Tour are purpose-built to get the most out of the games as eSports titles, with multiple tournament stages that lead up to the world championships so players and fans alike always have something to look forward to throughout the year.
eSports Betting Tips
Now that we have all of the basic context behind eSports betting in Canada, we’ve compiled a few tips that you can use to get the most out of your wagers.
- Track eSports odds. If you have already participated in a season of traditional sports betting, you probably already know what to do here. Looking at odds from eSports bookmakers can really help give you a more solid grasp of the situation.
- Learn the games. With information being such an important aspect of making strong eSports bets, it can help a lot to learn the mechanics of the games that you will be putting your hard-earned money on. This is especially important as, unlike most sports, eSports constantly undergo changes through updates made to the game, which can tilt the balance of certain game mechanics and by extension, the potential win rate of certain players and teams.
- Keep an eye on your bankroll. This tip applies to Canadian gamblers of all kinds, not just in eSports betting, especially when one starts to enact more complex wagers. Before you start making your wagering plan, remember to play responsibly. Set aside a budget for all of your bets and stick to it. This will help to greatly mitigate the sting of a loss and should keep the betting fun.
Final Thoughts on eSports
By most accounts, Canada is one of the fastest-growing gambling markets in the world and things will only continue to look up from here for the country’s betting scene. It should be no surprise, then, that eSports betting has gained a significant foothold here in Canada, with many of the world’s best betting sites looking to cash in on this massive market.
eSport Betting FAQs
What is eSports betting?
Esports betting is a relatively new form of event betting in which punters wager on the outcomes of competitive video game events. This is functionally similar to traditional sports betting but incorporates many of the additional complexity brought about by the video games that are being played.
Is betting on eSports legal in Canada?
At the time of writing in 2022, betting on eSports is legal in Canada. However, the main reason why this is so is that eSports betting still sits in a bit of a grey area in Canadian gambling laws. In other words, eSports betting is legal in the country because there is no law that explicitly states it is illegal.
How do you win an eSports bet?
One can win an eSports bet by making the correct prediction of the outcome of an eSports match and betting on the team that wins the event.