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A Brief History of Online eSports Betting

The development of internet technologies brought about many changes in the world. One of them was definitely online play, which propelled games to a whole new level in terms of popularity and design philosophy. There were gaming competitions even back in the 70s’ but compared to those events eSports is really a beast in terms of size and revenue. Whenever we have a sports event, sports betting is typically close to following, and the same goes for eSports.  Here we will go over a brief history of betting on gaming competitions. 

First Gaming Tournament

The first video games competitions were relatively small events, usually held at a mall and players were competing on the old-school titles like space invaders, donkey kong, etc. As far as betting is concerned it wasn’t like the one we have today. First and foremost iGaming industry wasn’t as big, and the whole video game tournament did not have major coverage. There were betting opportunities there on the spot probably, but it wasn’t done through a regulated sportsbook platform.

eSports Betting

The moment when eSports started to take off was definitely LAN play. Infrastructure for global online play was still on the way, but it was easy to connect multiple PCs and allow players to compete. We saw this with the first DOTA game, Counter-Strike, and Quake. However, at that time also league of legends was released and the first eSports superstars started to emerge. Being a pro gamer slowly but surely was becoming a solid career choice, and many young people are aspired nowadays to pursue this vocation.

Those online sportsbooks that were aware of this potential began to add eSports as a betting category. Nowadays, it’s pretty standard to see both eSports and Virtual sports betting options, but during those early days, it was rare. Today you can go to an online casino with $5 minimum deposit, and see slots games with themes that resemble popular eSports games. Moreover, some of them even offer sports betting options so you can even bet on your favorite eSports matches.

Betting with In-game Content

One of the most monetized digital content nowadays is in-game cosmetics in online multi-player games. Some games, however, allowed players to change these skins among themselves which then created an opportunity for gambling. Players would invest their skins or cosmetics features and either gamble with them or trade for real money. This caused a lot of problems for game devs and hosting services since they were basically maintaining a gambling website without a license. This also made people realize that there is a big audience interested in eSports betting so they created platforms fully dedicated to placing wagers on main events.


Compared to the situation from 20 years ago, eSports betting is now huge. It’s also a lot more accessible and it’s easier for first-timers or new fans to get into it. This is because betting platforms are better with more responsive customer support and the audience in general consists of digital natives.

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