esports fans

The state of gambling and video games in 2023

By William Davis


Dec 31, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

From the perspective of betting operators, video games and gambling are a match made in heaven. The new competitive field opens up a brand new audience for the gambling industry, while betting opportunities give esports fans a new way to enjoy their favorite titles. However, gamers who have no experience in the sportsbook may not entirely understand what’s going on. Here’s a brief look at the state of both industries and what esports fans should know before 

Not all video games have broken into gambling

Casual gaming fans may be surprised to learn that their favorite titles aren’t available at all in any sportsbooks. Games that don’t center around player-versus-player competition, such as Grand Theft Auto V or Elden Ring, won’t get betting lines no matter how popular they become. There are some minor exceptions, such as speedrunning or raid racing in MMORPGs, but even many games that feature online competition, like Clash of Clans and Lost Ark, are difficult to find odds for.

This is because gambling operators almost exclusively operate in tandem with the esports industry. Competitive gaming has exploded over the past decade, and dozens of titles can now confidently call themselves esports. Whether it’s storied international scenes like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or regional favorites like Valor of Kings, games must have consistent tournament schedules with real prize money and sponsors for bookies to take notice.

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Because of this, casual gaming fans may feel somewhat confused upon opening a sportsbook to games they don’t recognize. However, there’s still considerable overlap between the casual and competitive scenes of many games. Titles like Rocket League, Call of Duty, and League of Legends are household names in both serious and relaxed gaming.

Europe leads the charge for esports gambling legality

Several countries in the new world are just now starting to legalize gambling, and esports is often cited in legislation as a major driving point. In the case of the United States, several states and territories have opened up betting markets partially because of the esports craze. However, complex gambling laws in places like Puerto Rico and Canada can still make gambling dubious. A lot of it has to do with gambling licensing, which is a complex topic that is most often tackled by European lawmakers.

Gambling on traditional sports has been legal in the majority of Europe for decades, and certain counties like the United Kingdom and Germany have effectively normalized the practice. These attitudes easily transfer to esports, and it’s no coincidence that European teams dominate several of the most popular esports titles. Preexisting laws and open attitudes about gaming have helped the continent become the primary market for esports, betting included, in the western world. However, generalizing the whole continent could potentially lead to legal trouble for bettors.

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Even in Europe, where gambling legality is years or decades ahead of other regions, there are still complex laws that vary greatly from country to country. Laws on licensing can also get complex, but you can visit this page, or a similar one, for starters.

What should esports fans know before gambling?

Assuming that they already have some particular video games in mind for gambling, novice esports bettors still need to be careful about keeping themselves safe. There are several bad actors in the betting space looking to take advantage of novice punters. The need for knowledge also extends to the actual betting process. Always double-check every bet to make sure it’s exactly what you want, and never hesitate to back out of a bet if you suspect your bet slip doesn’t match your intentions.

Therefore, the most important thing to learn is the legality of your preferred betting site. Make sure to check their licensing and the list of countries where the bookie can legally operate. If this information is difficult to find or doesn’t match up with your research, there’s always another site to check out. Safety is always paramount. Start slow and build experience with $1 bets, and once you’re comfortable, you can start making larger wagers with confidence.


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