We’re all risk-takers. Whether it’s a young entrepreneur who’s willing to put his entire net worth on a business venture, an investment banker weighing the chances of their investment to rise rapidly, or a gambler counting on his poker skills to win, we all love the thrill that comes with risk.
We’re also competitive by nature. That’s why there are so many people playing competitive sports, both professionally and as amateurs, and people betting on sports. While sports betting is a part of the culture surrounding sports like soccer, football, and other major sports, it’s not the only thing people bet on. There are all sorts of things you can wager on, including the United States election of 2023!
It’s no wonder then that if you read a casino review or any other one, you’ll find that a lot of people also bet on esports. How is that possible? Esports are essentially competitive video games, and people have been betting on competitive games for millennia.
If you’re not up to date with the news of the world of esports gambling, here are four games that people bet on the most in 2023.
Admit it, even if you’re not a big fan of this game, you have probably played it. Dota, or Defence of the Ancients, started out as a player modification of Warcraft 3. It quickly grew from a custom map to a game mode enjoyed by thousands upon thousands of people.
The reason behind this rise in popularity is that this genre that is now known as MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) improved upon its donor, an RTS game. An RTS game like Warcraft is a 1v1 standoff where two players command dozens upon dozens of units, making the multitasking almost unmanageable. In a MOBA game like Dota or LoL, it’s teams of 5 players who oppose each other, commanding only one unit.
This combination of manageable controls and skill requirements launched Dota right to first place on this list with over 1.9 million views on the latest Dota 2 championship, The International. Along with that one, there are dozens of smaller tournaments since The International popularized this hit game even more. This leaves the betting scene for Dota 2 a very diverse place.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
This esports discipline also started out not as a separate game but as a player modification for another game, Half-Life. Just like Dota, it introduced a 5v5 competitive mode to the game and it quickly became a hit. Half-Life on its own was a smashing success both in terms of gameplay and the storytelling, and a mode that added competitiveness to the game only made it more appealing.
Since 1999 when the original game came out, there were multiple versions of Counter-Strike right up until Valve made it into a separate online multiplayer game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, CS: GO for short.
Since 2001 when the first Counter-Strike tournament was held, the scene has only grown. 15 years later, CS: GO built on its predecessor’s success and gathered an online crowd measuring no less than 1.6 million people. In 2023, there are dozens of tournaments both big and small in all parts of the world, so there’s plenty of choice for those who want to see athletes compete and those who want to place a couple of bets on their favorites.
League of Legends
At the first glance, League of Legends looks like a Chinese Dota rip-off. But that’s only for those gamblers who are unaware of this game’s history and those who do not hold the old 2009 LoL dear.
Indeed, it was inspired by the original Dota mod, but it came out two years before Valve started making Dota 2, the game that’s now played at the tournaments and worldwide. It filled the vacuum in the times Dota fans needed something more than a Warcraft 3 mod and gave them something even bigger than a game. It gave them a community.
This is why this game became the favorite pastime for hundreds of thousands of people. This game allowed you to be creative with your friends and have a good laugh playing. To be completely honest, it changed quite a bit from what it was in 2009. Now LoL feels so serious that new players feel compelled to learn the “right” plays from pros and even hire coaches to perfect their performance.
Apart from the nagging of an old League of Legends gamer, this game and the company that created it, Riot Games, are doing better than ever. Back in 2011 when the first tournament aired online, 1.7 million people watched it, which was phenomenal at that time. Now? The latest world championship gathered over 100 million people to watch.
That huge event gathered thousands of people willing to put money on their projected winner. Since the game is still hugely popular, there are dozens upon dozens of other, smaller tournaments that cyber sports enthusiasts bet on.
Valorant is another Riot game on this list. Coincidence? Not so much. Having a rich history in esports with the MOBA League of Legends, Riot decided to launch a competitor to CS: GO. In essence, Valorant is Riot’s attempt to steal the first-person shooter esports market with an Overwatch-CS: GO hybrid.
As of late, it didn’t come close to stealing the first place from Counter-Strike. The game only released in July of this year and the first event of First Strike, the tournament announced by Riot, was held in October, but it didn’t gather more than 30,000 viewers. Things may change in the future, but it seems it won’t break LoL’s record at its first tournament’s viewership.
Why then both cyber athletes and gamblers are attracted to Valorant? The answer is simple. Even if the audiences don’t catch up with the game, Riot is still going to pour money into it so Valorant is going to have a lot of esports events for years to come. The competitive players are going to win some prize money and bettors are going to try and leverage their knowledge of the players to win a quick buck.
A few words to conclude
It’s a really weird place to talk about the 2023 pandemic here, but we’re going to do this nonetheless. It was tough, traumatic even. But if you were to search for a positive side in anything, you’d find that thanks to the nation-wide lockdowns, millions of people were exposed to video games and esports as a mode of entertainment. So much so that video game sales surged and gambling on the outcomes of the tournaments did as well.
With no end of this in sight in the near future, it’s safe to assume the industry is going to bloom even faster than it was doing before. Hopefully, new creative minds will come to the scene to us, gamers, even more content to consume!