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Dec 9, 2014
Dec 9, 2014

The Road to 1 Million eSports bets

The 1st bet - Where it all began

Sponsoring a Dota Tournament

The Road to 1 Million eSports bets

Our Head of Sportsbook is an avid eSports gamer. Back in early 2010, convinced of the huge betting potential it presented, he decided to post Pinnacle’s first ever eSports market. Find out how we got from that first bet to be on the verge of 1 million eSports bets.

For dedicated eSports content visit our eSports hub.

The 1st bet - Where it all began

eSports was as credible as any other emerging professional sport, and it already had a huge and growing fan base. In general, where the popularity of a sport grows there is a natural interest in speculating on outcomes; why should eSports be any different?

Many eSports sites were offering non-cash betting, but its virtual context meant that this was new ground for Pinnacle – one of the world biggest online bookmakers for mainstream sports. Despite his reservations, our Head of Sportsbook followed his heart and in February 2010, Pinnacle offered its first ever eSports betting market.

“We started offering eSports betting as an experiment, but it has expanded in popularity way beyond our expectations,” commented Pinnacle’s Head of Sportsbook, a huge LoL fan. “We are very proud of hitting the 1 million bet milestone, but from what we have seen, we think this really is only the tip of the iceberg”

Pinnacle has a reputation for being the sharpest oddsmaker in the business, but our Trading Team had no real clue whether eSports would take off, and even less of an idea of how to accurately set the odds.

Simon from Canada showed there was a demand among Pinnacle’s customers for eSports betting, he placed the first ever bet – on StarCraft2 -  and as our timeline shows, the rest is history.

eSport Betting Timeline

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By May 2010 we added Dota 2 and StarCraft 2, encouraged by the interest shown. A period of consolidation and learning followed – Pinnacle is known for welcoming winners and using sharp customers to help shape lines, this was especially true in the development of our eSports markets.

By September 2011 we pushed boundaries further accepting live betting – we updated odds within matchups between Maps.

League of Legends followed in January 2012, and by June 2012 we had taken over 100,000 eSports bets; as a result eSports Trading Team expanded. At this point it was clear that eSports was no longer an experiment.

We continued to offer live betting on big events, and by September 2012 in-play LoL was added.

By October 2013 we reached half a million bets, and we added Hearthstone in November, broadening our portfolio further. At this point the internal recognition of eSports was also changing and there was a real appetite to put our name behind a big eSports event.

Sponsoring a Dota Tournament

Though we knew there was a huge appetite for eSports betting, we didn’t assume that the wider eSports community would necessarily be welcoming. To test the water we did a Reddit AMA, and the overwhelmingly positive responses encouraged us that our sponsorship of the Dota 2 Pro AM in January 2014 – in partnership with Join DOTA – would be a success. Determined to offer something unique, we ran a competition offering our players the chance to take on the Pros. The result was a riot, watch for yourself here.

When staff aren’t trading many are gaming - so we can field a half-decent team, if there are any takers out there.

It may just seem like a marketing message - but eSports is firmly part of Pinnacle’s culture. When staff aren’t trading many are gaming. Skill levels range from one Diamond level player, several Platinum down to Bronze, so we can field a half-decent team, if there are any takers out there.

By July 2014 we took our first ever Live Dota 2 bet, and – following a lot of requests - the first ever wager on Counter Strike: Global Offensive was struck in September. Heroes of the Storm is fast on its way to becoming an established eSports title, and to celebrate, Pinnacle offered lines on the first official HotS tournament, held at BlizzCon 2014.

Not long after the LoL World Championships, in mid-October 2014, we did an interview for NBC on the growth of eSports, and as we got together data for our responses we realized that 1 million bets would soon be reached. We couldn’t let that milestone pass without doing something special. See what we have planned for our 1 million eSports bet giveaway promotion.

We hope this is only just the beginning of Pinnacle's involvement with eSports betting; there are so many exciting things happening within the scene. We are constantly listening, so if you have requests send them to [email protected].

Win with our 1 millionth eSports bet giveaway

In the coming days we will pass an amazing eSports milestone - our 1 millionth bet . To celebrate reaching this landmark we’re giving away cash and cool prizes, click here to learn more.

Betting Resources - Empowering your betting

Pinnacle’s Betting Resources is one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice anywhere online. Catering to all experience levels our aim is simply to empower bettors to become more knowledgeable.