SURE, we’ve all had a punt on the footy, soccer and cricket, but did you know you can bet on video games?
Remember sitting in front of the computer or television for hours, playing NBA Jam, Golden Eye or Call of Duty?. Maybe some of you still do?
Well, you can take that love of gaming to the next level by wagering a little hard-earned on the best gamers in the world.
These are organised teams, competing in huge tournaments to be crowned the best of the best.
They are set up just like a typical US competitive sport league.
Take the League of Legends Championships, for example.
They are played across the world and their divisions reflect that.
The game is a multi player online battle arena and real time strategy game that has nearly 70 million players per month.
Currently, the Spring Split in the LOL Champions Series has kicked off, with teams battling it out in the European, North American and Legends Master Series.
The teams have fantastic names, like Liquid, who are $3.45 outsiders with Sportsbet.com.au to take out the Immortals in the NA LCS Spring Split, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
If LOL isn’t your cup of tea, there are many other games and championships to look out for.
The Global Starcraft II League has two leagues, the Code S (major) and Code A (minor) and is broadcast online from Wednesday to Friday each week.
Players wage war across the galaxy in a military science fiction real time video game, with players utilising three different species.
If you like a little Starcraft, there are two games on Friday, both involving heavy favourites up against lesser lights. sportsbet.com.au has Zest at $1.22 to knock off Taeja at $4, while Dear is $1.25 to beat Losira, at $3.70.
These eSports are enormous, with millions of people across the world tuning in to watch gamers battle it out – conservative estimates put the number of viewers at a remarkable 200 million last year.
And it’s not Mickey Mouse stuff either. The best players are professionals, devoting their lives to perfecting their chosen video games, and the prize pulls are remarkable.
Some of the packets for winnings titles are in the millions of dollars.
That’s right, a million bucks for playing games that you would do sitting in front of the TV or computer at home.
Some estimates put the eSports’ sector’s global revenue at more than $620 million.
It is a massive and fast growing industry.
To give you an idea, the League of Legends Championship sold out the Los Angeles Lakers home stadium, Staples Centre in 2013 and had more than 27 million viewers – more than the final round of the Masters of Golf.
You will even find some of the tournaments broadcast on ESPN, with the commentators putting their typical hyperactive American schtick on the event.
Here is something that will make you laugh – performance enhancing drugs are a thing in eSports.
That’s right, some gamers get on the gear in an attempt to make them perform better.
Stimulants like ADHD drug Ritalin are common place because they help boost concentration and fight off fatigue. A former executive in the gaming world even once claimed that participants in some competitions would take up to three different drugs before they compete.
Sportsbet appears to be the leading online bookie in Australia, offering odds on eSports events almost daily.
DOTA 2 appears to be the big daddy of all tournaments, with its prize packet of $5 million for the winner rivalling that of the Super Bowl champion.
Defence of the Ancients pits two five player teams against each other, using mystical creatures in a bid to destroy their opponents ancient building.
Tonight’s Dota 2 SL i-League Invitational has Alliance at $3.60 as favourites to win, with OG next at $4.50.
It might be massive business, but there is an obvious too and fro between its lovers and its detractors.
It’s called eSports, but is it really a sport when the players sit behind a desk with a head set on and don’t show one iota of athletic prowess? We suppose they call chess a sport, right?
eSports Heaven’s Vas Roberts says: “Using the term sport always causes argument because so many people have their own broadly defined interpretations of what a sport actually is. But the skill and dedication the professionals put in deserves respect.”
It can be a minefield, trying to follow all the games and work out who you should bet on, so you have to know your stuff. The competitive scene is made up of countries leagues and games, with pro players located all over the world.
But if you have a keen eye for the game of your choice, there is big money to be won.