Esports is the fastest-growing segment of sports in terms of both viewing and betting action. That means an almost constant string of new sites appearing. So how do you know which ones are worth your time?
Below, you’ll find our hand-picked list of the best new esports betting sites. Want to know what makes these sites the best? Read on to learn how we evaluate new sites and to get some tips on what to look for before you put your money down on the latest epic Rocket League clash or Fortnite tilt.
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New Esports Betting Laws and Territories
The biggest recent news in esports betting is the gradual roll-out of legal sports betting across the United States. Long limited to just the state of Nevada, there is now potential for esports betting to become legal in any state.
It’s important for bettors looking for new markets to understand exactly how this works, however. Sports betting has not been legalized at the federal level in the country, and the Wire Act still makes it illegal for bets to be placed across state lines. The current status is that states are now allowed to decide for themselves if they want to allow sports betting within their borders. If they do allow it, you are only allowed to wager at state betting sites and casinos while you are physically within that state’s borders.
Only some of the states have opted to allow esports betting, with others still working out legislation. A few are very unlikely to ever legalize due to their demographics.
While these new American betting sites represent some great new esports betting opportunities, it’s important to be aware that they employ sophisticated checks to verify that the player is actually inside the state when they attempt to access their account.
Types of New Esports Betting Sites
The esports betting market has split up into three basic categories of site: sportsbooks, live betting markets, and fantasy sports.
A sportsbook is the traditional format of sports betting. The house (the betting site or casino) uses their oddsmakers to put out wagers and lines on esports matches, and you play directly against them.
Live (or “in-play”) betting markets are a new type of esports wagering that matches players directly against each other, with the betting site merely acting as a facilitator. You’ll see traditional sportsbooks offer live betting options as well, but the key difference is that the platforms that specialize in live betting are matching player wagers to another player with an opposite wager rather than it being player vs. bookie.
Fantasy sports sites allow you to form teams and rosters of your favorite esports athletes and compete based on the points they earn in their actual play. Single-match competitions are available as well as leagues that span entire seasons of a particular esport.
Some sites combine elements of two or three of these formats, but for the most part, we’re seeing betting sites stick to one of these core models for most of their action.
How Do We Choose the Best New Esports Betting Sites?
Our top new esports betting sites combine all of the factors listed below. We expect them to perform at a certain level of excellence in each category and to really stand apart from the crowd in at least one or two areas.
Licensing and Regulation of New Esports Betting Sites
Player safety and security is always the #1 concern, but this can be a little more tricky than usual with a brand-new esports betting site. The fact that a site is established and has a long reputation of fair play is one of the major factors in determining whether or not it is safe.
That doesn’t mean that you should take a pass on all new esports betting sites just because they’re new, however. New sites are often hungry to quickly establish a customer base and will offer great promotions and more favorable odds than usual to do that. There are some great opportunities out there that you don’t want to miss.
There are some good ways to evaluate the safety of a new betting site. One of the best is their licensing and regulation status. Are they licensed by a reputable gaming control board of some sort? Are they based in a territory known for good online esports betting regulation? Do they have clear player dispute and arbitration arrangements in place?
As far as reputation goes, sometimes the newest esports betting sites are actually being offered by established gaming industry heavyweights. It’s a reassuring factor if the company behind the site has a history of running other good sites; chances are they aren’t going to put their whole business network at risk by failing to pay or honor the terms of some esports bets at a new site under their umbrella.
Esports Betting Options
After security and fair terms, the next most important thing about one of our top-rated esports betting sites is the action they are offering right out of the gate.
The best of the new esports betting sites take some chances by offering more action and more favorable odds than their competitors. Many traditional sportsbooks are hesitant to offer a good range of esports betting options because they aren’t as confident in their predictions as they are with long-established sports that they have been working for decades.
We look for new sites that are doing all of the following:
- Regularly offering bets on most of the major esports (Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO, and so on)
- At a minimum, offering coverage of all the major tournaments (like The International, Overwatch League Championships, and the League of Legends World Championship)
- Bonus points for offering wagers on smaller competitions, as well as season-long action in esports such as Overwatch
- In addition to traditional moneylines, they offer interesting prop bets and in-play (live) betting options – for example, the player with the most kills in League of Legends betting
We also look for sites that consistently offer good odds on matches. What’s the point of betting if the odds are never appealing?
Bonus Offers at New Esports Betting Sites
While bonus offers aren’t completely necessary for a new esports betting site to be good, they do a lot to help its standing. Priority is given to new sites that have bonus offers that are particularly valuable to esports bettors.
What are some of the common bonus types you’ll see that are tailored to bettors who focus on esports? Perhaps the most common one is the “free bet.” Often offered as a bonus when creating a new account, you’ll get a risk-free wager in some amount in return for meeting a minimum deposit requirement.
You might also be offered a matching bonus on your first deposit. At esports betting sites, this is usually an offer of an amount of free play equal to 100% of your initial deposit amount. You can use this free play to place esports bets, but be aware that the deposit amount or winnings from it are usually subject to a wagering requirement.
A few sites even offer a significant amount of free play up front, regardless of how small your first deposit is. The catch is that there is a wagering requirement, plus you usually must place a certain amount of specific types of bets – for example, a few parlays or treble bets.
Sometimes sites also roll in other types of bonuses with their esports offers. As an example, they might offer some free spins at the slot machines or free entries to table game tournaments.
These bonuses need to be useful to esports bettors, but they also need to have fair terms. Players shouldn’t be subject to extremely restrictive cash-out rules or have other types of play restricted while the bonus is active, for example.
Device Support and Usability
New esports betting sites need to support the devices that people are using. With every passing day, more and more people are using their smartphones as their primary internet device. A lot of people also prefer the convenience of playing on a tablet rather than finding a place to fold out a laptop or getting to their desktop setup.
It’s still important for new esports betting sites to run well on laptop and desktop computers, of course. But we also want to see them offer a good Android and iOS app option. Alternately, a site might offer its full range of esports betting in a “no download” web browser format, which means you don’t have to download any apps or software (and a much wider range of devices is supported).
TThe sites we recommend also have a good interface no matter which version you are using. They are appealing to the eye, have a layout that is easy to understand, and make it clear what every button you click on or tap does. They also have a good “help” feature to clear up any points of confusion without any delay. And though glitches and technical hiccups will happen once in a while with even the best esports betting sites, they should not be a regular occurrence.
New Esports Betting Site Payment Options
There are certain standard deposit and withdrawal options that we expect new esports betting sites to have in place right away. These include major credit cards, e-wallet services, and bank transfers.
It’s nice to see new sites embrace newer payment options, however, and they definitely get some bonus points for doing so. Though sites that require you to only use a certain form of cryptocurrency are often suspicious, adding major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to the standard range of payment options is a nice bonus.
Keeping Up with New Esports Betting Sites
We’ll always keep you informed of the latest and best developments in the esports betting scene, but hopefully you’re coming away from this article with a better knowledge of how to evaluate any new esports betting sites that you come across.