Sports betting is one of the oldest forms of gambling known to mankind, dating as far back as the cavemen days when wagering a handful of berries on who could toss a boulder the furthest was surely one of the most popular pastimes. Technology has progressed much farther than the wheel these days, where eSports betting on massive multi-player online (MMO) video games is one of the newest ways to make (or lose) a buck.
Similar to traditional wagers on sporting events, eSports betting takes place when viewers of an online video game contest bet on which participant or team will come out on top. Team-based shoot’em up games likeCounter Strike, League of Legends and the expansive Call of Duty series are among the most current favorites.
With eSports rapidly growing in popularity, Quebec’s gaming regulators, Loto-Quebec, announced on Friday that it’s added this new type of gambling to the line-up of existing sports betting options on its Mise-o-Jeu website. For gaming enthusiasts in the province, that means they can finally enjoy a wholly legal, regulated form of eSports betting, albeit a somewhat restrictive one.
Loto-Quebec has a monopoly on all forms of gambling in the province, being the only authorized regulator in the region. Gamblers have always been able to access offshore websites for online casino, poker and sports wagering purposes, but those sites are not regulated, therefore player accounts are not protected under the laws of Quebec.
eSports Betting by Loto-Quebec
Having just launched the new eSports betting feature on its website, the range of markets is still rather small. However, some of the most popular MMOs are available. There are 4 game titles currently on the list:
League of Legends
All competitions are team based, with Mise-o-Jeu creating odds for each team based on past performances at Live eSports competitions. Like traditional sporting events, all matches have scheduled starting times, with betting open until the competition begins.
Punters can place eSports bets in one of two ways – online via the Mise-o-Jeu website, or at any participating Loto-Quebec retailer. Tabs for Retailer and Online betting are both presented on the website, but as the operator explains, the odds aren’t always the same.
“The Mise-o-jeu tab presents the regular offer of Mise-o-jeu avaible [sic] at Loto-Québec’s retailer. The Mise-o-jeu+ tab presents the Mise-o-jeu+ offer avaible [sic] online only. Online odds are higher.”
Perfect Time for eSports Betting Launch
The launch of Loto-Quebec’s eSports betting offering on Friday couldn’t have been timed any better. It occurred just one day prior to the kick-off of DreamHack Open: Montreal, part of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Summer Circuit Championship, that took place Saturday and Sunday, attracting an estimated 10,000 visitors.
Loto-Quebec’s Espacejeux took full advantage of its new partnership with DreamHack, offering markets on 13 WCS events over the weekend.
Louis Beaudet, Director of Sports and Entertainment Betting at Loto-Quebec, described the addition of eSports betting as an opportunity to provide a service that’s in growing demand. The gaming regulator is “filling the gap by offering a secure and honest environment for placing bets,” said Beaudet.
Over in the Canadian province of British Columbia, regulators have been offering eSports betting via Playnow.com for some time now, with markets including Dota 2, League of Legends, StarCraft 2 and others.