Navigating the eSports betting laws in the USA can be confusing for newcomers to the latest boom in online wagering. Some states have regulated esports betting sites and sportsbooks, while others are still betting with offshore betting companies. Our guide to US eSports betting should be bookmarked by any serious punters with our daily predictions articles written by experts in their games and our news coverage honing in on the important events to eSports bettors. The top US eSports betting sites in 2021 are:
Best eSports betting sites USA
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An introduction to esports betting in the USA
Esports betting in the United States is one of the fastest-growing sports betting pursuits, with both legal and illegal sportsbooks taking bets on professional video gaming right across the country. With only a handful of US states featuring regulated sports betting and only a few them approving esports betting, it seems some time away when US sportsbooks all offer the extensive markets that overseas bookmakers have, even on our very own events. Despite this, millions of Americans use unlicensed betting sites like BetOnline and Bovada, although they have stopped accepting customers from states that have licensed there very own betting sites.
The United States of America is the world’s most popular and profitable region for all things eSports. It’s also the second largest video gaming market in the world, with annual game sales reaching a record $43.4 billion in 2018. With major global esports tournaments such as The International hosted in the US and many of the best players and teams home-grown, American fans have it best when it comes to attending, following and betting on their favourite pro gaming events. If you live in the USA and want to bet on both local and international esports tournaments, this guide is for you.
We cover a range of different esports betting sites legally catering to American punters and the US Dollar, along with the best and safest deposit options to use when placing bets on your favourite players and teams online. All of the sportsbooks we recommended and review offer betting markets for the world’s most popular esports tournaments, so if you love watching and betting on pro gaming events of Call of Duty, Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and other titles, we’ll make sure you find the best value. Keep this page bookmarked as we keep you updated on the latest changes in USA esports betting.
Regulated sports betting in the USA
The USA is in the midst of a sports betting revolution after New Jersey successfully repelled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This has opened the doors for states to legalize, regulate and most importantly launch their very own betting sites. This process is not instantaneous across all US states with it a process that must be approved at several levels of each states government. But lawmakers int the USA now see the benefit in getting their share of the sports betting pie, meaning it is likley in the coming years every state will have their own sportsbooks and online gambling industry.
Esports betting in New Jersey
Esports betting in New Jersey is legal and there are a number of sportsbooks that are licensed to operate here. Like all US states, esports betting is still in its infancy at regulated betting sites, which means you won’t find the depth of markets that you would find at an offshore betting site that doesn’t need approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Esports betting in Iowa
Iowa became the latest US state to allow sports betting when it passed a bill, although this movement has been stunted by the legislation not coming in until January 2021. When online sports betting does come into action in Iowa, it’s likely to be some time until esports betting becomes a mainstay. Rest assured, esports betting operators will be pushing for the legalization of this betting medium, with it incredibly popular with the youth in the USA. More about Iowa esports betting.
eSports betting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has regulated sports betting, but is yet to condone esports betting, with lawmakers worried about several aspects, including that it traditionally lures a younger crowd. Chief spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Doug Harbach admitted the laws surrounding the legality of esports betting the state was murky: “Esports is not specifically authorized in PA under the Gaming Expansion Act,” he said Harbach. “Sports wagering in PA is defined as ‘wagering on the outcome of an athletic event or the statistical performance of an athlete within an event (i.e., a game or a match)'”. ESB will update our information when there are changes surrounding online esports betting laws in Pennsylvania. Read our guide to esports betting in Pennsylvania for more information.
Arkansas esports betting
Arkansas is among the US states to have regulated sports betting, but it is restricted to retail wagering, although lawmakers are agitating to launch betting apps in the not too distant future. Even if online betting becomes legal in Arkansas, it will take esports to be added as an “athletic” pursuit for legal wagering to take place. The Arkansas Racing Commission regulates betting in the state and it appears more likely that further legislation will be rolled out to encompass esports betting. The best esports betting sites in Arkansas are likely to include some of the bigger brands like FanDuel and DraftKings in the future, with these brands knowing the value of the tax take
Top legal USA betting sites 2021
In this section we’ll break down the best legal USA betting sites:
888Sports: One of the most visible brands in the USA, 888 Sports has grown exceedingly popular in states with regulated sports betting. There is a slightly different process to join 888Sports, depending on which state you are in, but rest assured the online betting offered is first-rate. 888Sport review.
Pointsbet: Founded in Australia, Pointsbet has quickly emerged as an online betting force in the USA. Expanding as more US states begin to accept legal bets, Pointsbet is renowned for their compettiive moneylines and outstanding offers to new and old players. PointsBet also has great betting apps available. Pointsbet review.
William Hill US: Another strong option for those looking to bet online from the USA is William Hill. This brand was founded in the United Kingdom and has been around for close to 100 years, after starting as a retail bookmaker. William Hill, as you would expect of such a big global company, has got some great free bet offers and outstanding apps to download. William Hill review.
bet365 US: The World Favourite bet365 has entered the US market, although they have not been as aggressive as you may have thought. This online betting company is renowned globally for their huge esports offering, and we expect more of the same when pro games are more readily found at these betting companies. Boasting both Android and iOS apps, bet365 sits comfortably among the top sportsbooks in the USA. bet365 USA review.
FoxBet: Boasting a partnership with Fox Sports, this is one of the newer betting companies online. Their high-profile endorsements have quickly seen FoxBet gain traction in some US states, while in our limited testing to date, we have found their betting apps to be first rate. You can bet online with FoxBet confidently. FoxBet review.
DraftKings: Probably the biggest sportsbook in the USA, DraftKings has some nice differences to their competitors, including tournament betting. DraftKings operates in all US states with legal betting and sits comfortably at the top of the tree in terms of recognition. DraftKings free bet bonus offers and other promotions are another reason to join this top betting site. DraftKings US review.
BetMGM: A huge betting company in the USA, BETMGM is renowned for having great depth in their sports betting markets. They have also dipped their toes into esports in several states, indicating they will have plenty of markets in the future. BETMGM sits comfortably among the top esports betting sites in the USA. BETMGM review.
Esports betting sites accepting players from the USA
EsportBet.com recommends the following offshore real money sports betting sites for North American players due to their licensing, regulation and wide range of esports betting markets with best possible odds, including straight bets (winner), exotics, futures, line bets, first blood, map winner and more variants (dependent on the game).
One of the best esports betting options for North American players, BetOnline is US-facing, takes all bets in US Dollars (or Bitcoin) and accepts customers from all 50 states. It has an easy-to-navigate betting interface with a dedicated esports section so users can easily find the latest leagues and tournaments they wish to place a bet on. BetOnline often post up early markets for every match with low mark-up on the odds, and offer additional value in their easy to claim bonuses and promotions, both ongoing and one-off.
A popular online sportsbook with casino, racing and sporting markets in addition to esports betting options. Great reputation due to its Bodog roots, with heaps of Bitcoin and USD bonuses you can put towards your esports wagering on CS:GO, Dota, Overwatch and more. Safe and recommended for North American customers.
Is from the same people that successfully run BetOnline which automatically gives them some credibility. The eSports section at this sportsbook is extensive with markets on the all the major events held in North America, and many of the bigger events right around the world. Counterstrike, Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch and Starcraft all feature prominently. One of the biggest drawcards is that they accept punters from every state in United States.
The esports betting sites we recommend for US pro gaming fans are based and licensed overseas due to strict online gambling laws which vary state-by-state and restrict what local online esports sportsbooks can offer. They often carry superior welcome bonuses and promotions which grant additional value to signing up and regular play. For North Americans who prefer to bet with bitcoin cryptocurrency especially, there are some seriously great exclusive bonus deals presently offered to all of our readers who sign up through our provided links.
USA esports fans can find out how to claim free bets and bonuses for esports betting in our provided guide.
Popular esports to bet on in the USA
In this section of US esports betting guide we will break down some of the most popular competitive games.
GAME: DOTA 2
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
Console/PC: Microsoft Xbox, linux, OS X
First release: 9th July, 2013(windows) 18th July, 2013 (OS X, Linux)
Dota 2 features five-on-five on a MOBA map and is similar to other esports games like LOL. Dota 2 features attractive graphics and a more strategic and less mechanical concentrated game play. The selection of over 110 divergent heroes and five different competitive roles makes the game different to LOL. Despite a comparatively smaller number of competitions, Dota 2 still has the highest prize money. this is paid annually at the annual International Championships, which features thousands of pros. Covid-19 is hindering this year’s The International, Dota 2 saw a colossal drop off from 2019 as expected. After giving out a great pull last year that almost reached $50M, 2020 came in at a moderately small $8.87M.
Genre: Battle Royale
Console/PC: Microsoft Xbox and Sony’s Playstation
First release: 25.07.2017
Publicity from the release of the Battle Royale Shooter “Fortnite” was huge when it came out and has still not reduced. The game concept is simple. The competition consists of a total number of 100 players on a big map. The last man standing wins. Fortnite has a particular focus on obtaining various materials and building structures. These can create a strategic advantage in the fight against other contenders or provide cover. The total of 4,367 professional contenders make the young Battle Royale Game the third most admired eSports game at the moment. Epic Games’ popular battle royale championship dropped from 2019 top slot to No. 4 in 2020 in large because of the absence of the Fortnite World Cup in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic globally. Most notably, the Fortnite esports scene made national attention when a $3 million prize pool was awarded to then 16-year-old champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.
Call of Duty
GAME: Call of Duty (COD)
Console/PC: Sony’s Playstation, Microsoft XBox
Year Released: October 29, 2003
With the launch of the newly geo-located and concession of Call of Duty League in 2020, the game held on to its ranking in 2020 as compared to 2019, with a increase of three slots and only a insignificant downtick in reward payout. Unlike the Overwatch League, the Call of Duty League committed to maintaining a tournament-style format similar to its pre-franchise model. This means that for every weekly competition prize money is paid out in addition to the $4.6M Activision Blizzard doled out for the maiden CDL championship. In another break from OWL, Activision Blizzard also dedicated notable resources to an open semi-pro ecosystem for Call of Duty to run side by side to the CDL. The biggest of these competitions paid out $250K.
League of Legends
GAME: League of Legends
Console/PC: Microsoft windows, MacOS
Initial release: 27 October 2009
The world’s most admired esport by viewership criterion was able to be largely kept going through the pandemic. Even though it was played mostly online,League of Legends saw a significant movement of its ranking in 2020 because it didn’t see a major drip-off in prize money. After doling out $9M in 2019, League only saw a small drop to $8M in 2020. League of Legends is one of the only esports where, in spite of the big spoils shared, prize money mostly takes a back row to the prestige of competition. Arguably the biggest LOL prize each year is the Summoner’s Cup Trophy give at the World Championship, while its beneficiary quietly collects over $100K.
Console/PC: Playstation, Xbox, Personal computers(PC)
Year Released: 15th December, 1993
FIFA is a sequence of association football sports video games created and released yearly by electronic arts under the EA Sports label. The Guardian has called the series “the well organised, most polished and by far the most admired football game around”. In 2011, the FIFA franchise has been created into over 18 differnet languages and is accessible in 51 countries. By 2021, the FIFA sequence had sold more than 325 million copies. The latest version is FIFA 20. Like many other of the games forerunners, FIFA 20 pays attention to a series of different challenges and style based around football matches. This varies from traditional 11v11 matches to small-sided street, and futsal games. FIFA is a good choice for those that have mastered the art of the game and are trying to get involved with esports. The game has a real focused player base, so there are always open online qualifying competitions that can be found on different esports platforms
eSports sportsbook deposit options
The online sportsbooks we recommend to North American esports bettors tend to have a smaller range of available payment methods than in other countries, due to the USA’s restrictive online gambling laws which prevent local residents from processing payments using traditional methods like direct bank transfers. However, US-based esports fans shouldn’t stress too much, as many sites still accept and support globally trusted and secure payment methods like bitcoin, credit card, debit card, and virtual wallets.
Using MasterCard, Maestro and Visa-branded credit cards is supported at some offshore sportsbooks accepting USA players. Usually it is the safest way to deposit money to bet on your chosen esports betting markets due to the worldwide reputation and proven security that comes with using credit. It’s also the fastest way to deposit betting money, with payments processed instantly. Withdrawals are equally as fast, usually within 72 hours. American Express is not accepted at any online sportsbook we recommend at this time.
Bitcoin and Litecoin are all the rage at the moment with many savvy Internet users and it’s becoming more and more mainstream to use them for online betting thanks to increased support from the world’s best betting sites. Esports sportsbooks are now offering huge bonuses to entice new sign-ups into using bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, and with zero deposit or withdrawal fees compared to other payment methods and it’s easy to see why it’s preferable for many – not even taking into account the anonymity and privacy.
Gift card and prepaid card:
MasterCard and Visa-branded gift cards and prepaid cards are usually supported at esports betting sites accepting American sign-ups, but they are only accepted if you make sure it is specifically allowed to be used for ‘International and online purchases’ prior to buying the card and loading it with funds.
Also called virtual wallets and web wallets, digital payment services like Neteller act as a middle-man between your personal banking accounts and esports betting accounts. You simply create a free acount with the service, link a funding method (bank account or card) and load up with how much you intend to bet with. Then you transfer the money in your e-wallet account into your account at your preferred online sportsbook. With the pro’s of anonymity and increased privacy comes a few con’s, such as added fees for withdrawals or transfers.
For more in-depth information on how to deposit money at esports betting sites and which payment services best suit your country, make sure to check out our various guides linked to on this page.
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Is it legal to bet on esports in the United States?
All that our North American esports readers need to know is this: You can 100% bet on esports online at certain sites, you just have to make sure to do extra homework on which payment services you can use to deposit and withdraw your betting money.
For those seeking a more detailed answer: To say online gambling and online sports betting laws in the USA is complicated would be a severe understatement. To properly breakdown and outline the legality of esports betting would require intimate knowledge of local, state and federal legislation, which makes following which state has legalised which form of betting all the more difficult.
For many years, esports betting was covered by a nationwide ban on all sports wagering under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Under PASPA, it was illegal for anyone in the United States to make, offer, or accept wagers on single-game sporting events. The only exceptions were the states of Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, which had existing sports betting laws grandfathered in. Of those four, only NV ever had an active wagering industry while PASPA was in effect.
Everything changed in May 2018, when the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA after a lengthy campaign led by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. That landmark ruling brought an end to the sports betting ban and gave every US state the right the regulate gambling on sports as they saw fit. Dozens of US states have since followed NJ’s lead and legalised sports betting, including Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Washington DC.
While regulated sports betting is catching on like wildfire across the US, it is a slightly different story for esports betting. Sport and esport are not always recognised as one and the same in state gambling legislation, which means there are several states where sports betting is legal and esports betting is not. The most prominent example is New Jersey, where sports wagering is flourishing but gambling on esports is tightly restricted.
If you are not sure about the legality of esports betting in your state, you can always take your business abroad. There are dozens of licensed international betting operators that accept customers from the United States, including several of ESB’s top-ranked esports betting sites.
How popular are esports and video games in the USA?
North America is without a doubt the world’s largest esports market. According to consumer insights from NewZoo, there were over 23 million recorded esports enthusiasts living in the United States of America in 2017. The region produces the most revenue per esports enthusiast and has the highest direct spend globally. Esports are nearly as popular as ice hockey, with 14% of North Americans aged 21-35 identifying as esports fans, and 18% of the group also enthusiasts of ice hockey.
A report from games and interactive media intelligence group SuperData, ‘Esports Courtside: Playmakers of 2017‘, revealed Twitch remains the most popular live-streaming platform for watching major esports tournaments for enthusiasts living in North America, with 87% of US esports fans using the service. Youtube has picked up steam since, with 77% of US esports fans using the world’s most popular video-sharing site to watch esports curated content. In terms of US esports viewership split, 20% watch on Twitch only, 11% watch on YouTube only, and 67% watch esports on both. In the same research, the most anticipated esports video game among pro gaming enthusiasts living in the United States was found to be Overwatch.
The latest reported revenues from esports in the United States are at $257 million generated in 2017, with estimates of growth over $600 million by 2020. The majority of said revenues are from sponsorships for US-based professional teams and the fact the world’s biggest comps, leagues and tournaments are based in the country – analysts predict this figure will total over $110 million for 2017.
The 2017 Global Esports Market Report by NewZoo reports North American esports fans were responsible for 44% of the $32 million in total ticket revenue earned from major esports events held in 2016 (around USD $14,080,000) and 28% of competitive gaming events held around the world (out of 424) that year with prize-pools above $5,000, the majority in both categories.
The biggest esports tournament in the world, such as The International and the League of Legends World Championships were held in North America, offering more than $25 million in prize money between them. With the many other pro gaming events held throughout the country, the US accounted for 56% of the total recorded $93.3 million in major event prize money handed out to esports winners globally in 2016 (around USD$52,248,000).
The editorial team at eSportBet.com can only see the USA’s esports industry continue to skyrocket, especially with the re-structuring of The International and the many Dota 2 qualifiers along with the upcoming Overwatch League which looks set to be the next big thing.