While this means that the esports betting market is no longer soundly dominated by one single Dota 2 event, it’s sad to see the richest tournament in esports pass us by for another year.
Congratulations to China’s Wings Gaming, who take home $9.1 million for a 3-1 victory over Digital Chaos. We’re sure the DC guys won’t be too disappointed, since they came to the tournament as rank underdogs and scooped a $3.4 million runner-up prize.
Now, on to the world of esports betting for the week.
What are the options at the esports bookmakers?
CS:GO is back to headlining the top of Betway’s esports betting roster now that The International is done and dusted. The ESL Pro League tops the table ahead of Heroes of the Storm’s Gold Series matches and upcoming League of Legends Summer Split games.
At SkyBet, CS:GO is also back on top of the betting with a wealth of match and map bets.
The amount of betting options available for esports matches is really impressive these days, with 45 different lines available on this week’s H2K versus Fnatic showdown.
The site may be specialized toward esports, but it’s getting to the point of thinking that Unikrn might have to step up its game to keep up with the big boys in the world of bookmaking.
Its selection of game markets is always very solid and Unikrn has cornered a niche or two, but more markets would be really nice to see from these guys.
Bet365 have a really strong focus on League of Legends, with a really nice selection of bets for the playoffs, European and North American games.
There’s a nice amount of over/under bets on top of the usual match and map bets, which is a great touch.
The O.G. of the esports betting world have yet to surprise us with anything new despite its large head start on the market.
The new esports betting page layout at Pinnacle is very slick, though, and it’s super easy to find your game of choice. If anything, it’s a great excuse for the site to add more markets and games since there’s no chance of the page being cluttered now.
PaddyPower, Coral and Ladbrokes
For consecutive weeks that we’ve lost count of, there’s nothing to report from Coral on the esports front.
Ladbrokes and PaddyPower still have reasonably solid selections to peruse.
The week in esports events
The Dota 2 world is taking something of a deep breath this week. The International saw $20.7 million in prize money awarded to the world’s top teams, which is a pretty staggering amount by any sport’s standards, let alone a relatively fledgling one.[show-table name=betway]
League of Legends
Move over, Dota 2.
The League of Legends World Championships will be kicking off in San Francisco next month, which means that the Summer Split is wrapping up. The quarter-finals took place last week, with the tournament coming to a climax at the end of August.
Fans of Counter-Strike are still crying out for their own version of The International, and there’s no arguing against the popularity of the game. Right now, though, they’re settling for the Esports Entertainment Association (ESEA) League, which is currently underway.
Heroes of the Storm
Last week we made a great joke about “the calm before the Heroes of the Storm” but unfortunately for us (and fortunately for Heroes of the Storm fans) we can’t do it again. The Global Circuit has pulled players back into action with online qualifiers to the Fall Regionals underway.
While the release of the latest patch to Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void has players excited, there aren’t any major upcoming fixtures for Starcraft fans to cut their teeth on this week.
Blizzard’s latest addictive substance is getting a new competition in the shape of the Overwatch Open, sponsored by ELEAGUE and FACEIT.
The grand final winners will be netting a tasty $100,000 with eight qualifiers (four from North America and four from Europe) duking it out.
There’s naught but tumbleweed in the world of Hearthstone tournaments this week, potentially because all the organizers are too busy playing One Night in Karazhan. This new release might add some spice to the Hearthstone world soon enough.
Esports enthusiasts in Québec, Canada now have the opportunity to lay bets on their favorite esports after the state-regulated online gambling provider Loto-Québec launched a new service last week.
The first event where esports betting was offered was the Dreamhack Montreál, which took place over the weekend, August 11 to August 14. Loto-Québec promises that betting will be available for other “international caliber” competitions such as The International.
The service is provided via a new tab on the Mise‑o‑jeu sports betting site.
Louis Beaudet, director of sports and entertainment betting, commented:
“With the increasing popularity of e‑sports, there is more and more demand for opportunities to bet on this type of competition. With Mise‑o‑jeu, Loto‑Québec is filling the gap by offering a secure and honest environment for placing bets. A new E‑Sports category has now been activated on our platforms. We will continue to track interest in this type of betting over the coming months.”
Esports betting in the security of a regulated environment
Loto-Québec states that the Mise‑o‑jeu offering is the “first legal, honest and secure gaming environment for placing bets on electronic sports in Québec. Many video gaming fans are already interested in this type of bet, but offerings on the international scene are often via illegal or poorly‑regulated channels.”
In Canada, the federal law is ambiguous with regard to the legality of online gambling provided by offshore operators. Canadian provinces have the right to regulate their own online gambling, and Loto-Québec is the monopoly licensed provider authorized by the government.
Loto‑Québec wants to support local esports and video game developers
Québec has a major interest in online gaming. Amaya, the owner of PokerStars, is based in Montreal, as is Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), which was just sold to a Chinese group for $4.4 billion.
Montreal has an efficient internet and business support infrastructure for the internet gaming industry which has proved attractive to international companies.
In support of the industry, Loto-Québec offered a dozen independent local gaming studios the opportunity to showcase their work by giving them free space at their Indie Zone exhibition.
The press statement explained that:
“Loto‑Québec is committed to helping up‑and‑coming video game creators cultivate their talent for a Québec speciality that deserves to be more widely known. Loto‑Québec’s Indie Zone is meeting that objective at Dreamhack Montréal.”
Loto‑Québec wants to innovate but as yet doesn’t offer DFS
For a state monopoly operator to adopt esports betting at this stage in the industry’s development is unusual and impressive.
Corporate Director, Strategy, Innovation and Branding Nathalie Rajotte said:
“At Loto‑Québec, we are passionate about gaming in all its forms. There’s a natural link between our teams and local creators, communities, studios and talented developers. Video gaming is a major source of innovation and pushes the limits of creativity in a whole range of sectors, including ours.”
All of which looks to be true, but it is surprising that Loto‑Québec has adopted exports betting while it still offers no daily fantasy sports (DFS) option.
ISP blocking for offshore operators
In a controversial move earlier this year, the Québec government passed new legislation requiring internet service providers (ISP) to block access to unlicensed offshore gambling providers.
The decision was taken as part of the budget process, and was designed to consolidate Loto-Québec’s monopoly position and prevent the loss of tax income from players using offshore sites.
Whether the legislation will survive legal challenge is a moot point.
The ISPs complain that it is technically difficult to enforce restrictions that only apply to residents in Québec; the civil rights lobbyists complain that banning access to the internet is an abuse of free speech, and there is a good case that the law exceeds Québec’s powers since the federal government is responsible for regulating the internet.
Nonetheless, the Québec government’s intent is clear. It wants to ensure a safe and well-regulated online gambling environment, and that now includes esports betting.