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Competitive gaming has grown to become one of the defining trends of the 21st century. Although millions of people are more than happy to simply watch the gaming action unfold via streaming services such as Twitch, a growing number are now seeking to bet on esports.

A report published in 2018 stated that esports betting had a value of $6.7 billion, and this number is expected to grow rapidly. Thanks to the growing profile of tournaments like the Fortnite World Cup, and the trend towards the deregulation of online gambling worldwide, it seems that wagering on esports is set to grow significantly.

Betting on esports works just in the same way as it would for traditional sports such as football, basketball and tennis. As a result, many sports bookmakers have sought to include odds for esports alongside their regular odds, and there has been the emergence of many specialist esports betting sites too.

Although esports has only been with us for less than two decades, it has already grown from being a niche activity into gradually finding its way into the mainstream. Thanks to forward-thinking broadcasters like ESPN, it’s now relatively simple for even the most casual gamer to get up to speed with the action.

Big tournaments such as The International and the League of Legends Worlds competition now regularly have viewing audiences that eclipse those of traditional sporting events such as The SuperBowl. As a result, betting sites have been quick to try and cater to this growing audience by offering odds for the biggest esports tournaments.

Esports tournaments are where gamers get to see the world’s best players in action. From the likes of ESL’s contests to recent breakthroughs like the Fortnite World Cup, there’s an entire year’s worth of top esports tournaments to enjoy.

If you check out the esports odds here, you will see how a standard betting resource will feature over 100 betting markets for iconic games like Counter Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch and much more. Such resources are able to gather together esports odds from a huge variety of bookmakers in one place to allow the customer an easy way to see who is offering the best price for a particular esports tournament.

Esports used to be a fairly teenage activity, but as gamers have matured, there is a growing audience who will now be seeking to bet on esports in the same way that they bet on regular sports.

Before established bookmakers jumped on the esports bandwagon, there were plenty of unregulated esports betting sites who offered odds on competitive gaming, but could promise very little in the way of customer protection. There were fears that as many of these sites used skins for gambling, they could open the doorway to underage gambling, and there was little a customer could do to protect their deposits and personal data.

But with the introduction of officially licensed esport betting sites, customers can now place bets on a variety of prematch and in-play esports markets safe in the knowledge that they will be able to wager on fair and transparent odds.

Similarly, as esports has grown to produce famous teams and players there is a much more reliable database of statistics that can be used to produce odds. Although there were a few issues with match-fixing in the infancy of esports, respected bodies such as the Esports Integrity Coalition have helped stamp out such problems.

But it’s the sheer popularity of esports in 2019 that could make it the biggest year for esports betting yet. Many newspaper headlines were generated as a result of the fact that the Fortnite World Cup was won by an American teenager who walked away with millions in prize winnings. Plus this August will see the arrival of The International 2019 that already has a prize pool in excess of $30 million and is set to be the biggest esports tournament of all time.

Such exposure will undoubtedly boost the profile of professional gaming tournaments, and in turn, there will be a growing number of fans who want to bet on the action. So whilst esports betting is still a new phenomenon, it seems to be in for its biggest year yet.