You might be sitting there thinking that the transition from land-based to online betting platforms has been the most breathtaking transformation of gambling for centuries.
But, when you consider that the internet is only 25 years old and that a whole new betting genre has hit our screens during this short period, it is worth considering whether NZ eSports betting is the most revolutionary development in punting history.
Video games are not new. The 1970s saw an explosion of Space Invaders and Pac-Man units in arcades worldwide, and the development of use at home consoles designed by Sega, Atari, and Nintendo accelerated rapidly.
But these games were all primarily intended for individuals to play in isolation from others. All this has now changed. The connectivity capabilities displayed by the Playstation and XBOX range of consoles allows players to collaborate and directly compete against others within a community resource.
These factors mean that codified video games tournaments can take place for the very first time. This formalisation has been an excellent development for all who love to personalise your valorant crosshair when playing League of Legends, Call of Duty, or Fortnite.
Not only this, but it has instantly created a new sport for punters in New Zealand to bet on. A sport that has helped prop up several betting companies during the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
At casinos.win, we like to keep in touch with the most significant technological advancements. Progress is continual. Therefore, we aim to keep pace with it. If you are an eSports fanatic or a complete newb, producing a guide on NZ eSports betting is of great value. After all, which events should you be looking to bet, where should you be placing your cash, and more importantly, which gambling site is most likely to act in your best interests. We find out so that you can make the most appropriate choices.
History of ESports
For those of you who first came across eSports as a betting opportunity during lengthy pandemic lockdowns, it may surprise you to hear that eSports gamers have been plying their trade for half a century. Indeed, when the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics was initiated in 1972, there was little to suggest that a multi-billion dollar industry was being born.
However, eSports pioneers would still have recognised the format of eSports competitions until the turn of the 21st. Until that point, the performance of gamers was determined in isolation from one another. Technology only allowed one, two, or four-player games to take place on individual games consoles. However, the rise of the internet ensured that these restrictions would not quell the ambitions of eSports enthusiasts for long.
The 2000s saw a period of massive expansion in the gaming industry. One of the by-products of this boom was the creation of a codified eSports calendar and with it the chance to bet on eSports outcomes for the very first time.
Broadcasting the biggest online eSports events began to be a regular occurrence in a number of tech-leading countries, meaning that eSports events gained recognition among an ever-widening pool of the global population.
South Korea – Ongamenet and MCBGame were launched. These around the clock cable TV channels were dedicated to broadcasting the latest eSports events. For the first time tournaments on games such as Warcraft III and Starcraft were accessible to all.
The United States – The mighty ESPN broadcasting corporation even got in on the act. From 2005 to 2008, the Madden Nation show brought Madden NFL eSports content to the masses weekly.
However, this revolution would soon be surpassed.
The 2010s has seen the rise of streaming platforms that allows all gamers to broadcast their own eSports exploits at any time they choose to do so. The rise of operators such as Twitch saw the streaming of First-Person Shooters and MOBAs become embedded into popular culture. Fanaticism surrounding popular multiplayer titles such as Call of Duty, League of Legends and Fortnite quickly followed. The newfound fame of the eSports niche saw business interests take this sector increasingly serious, with the conclusion that huge sums of money could be generated by developing and streaming action from international leagues and global one-off tournaments from top eSports variants.
Popular NZ eSports
Defining a popular NZ eSport is something that is difficult to do. Just as there are Rugby League, Rugby Union, Cricket, and Soccer fans, there are also First-Person Shooter, MOBA, Real-Time Strategy, and Fighting Game supporters. So, let us take a look at the defining features of each of these that rank highly with eSports gamers in New Zealand.
For such a modern product, First-Person Shooter eSports titles hark back to history. After all, did Roman Gladiators, medieval Knights, and duellists from the Wild West not also gain a thrill from getting the upper hand over their would-be assassins? Of course, they did. So, it is not surprising the 21st-century iteration of the fight to the death has gained such levels of popularity.
In a technical sense, First-Person Shooter games are also ridiculously easy to learn. A number of First-Person Shooters have gained almost mythical status among enthusiasts with CS:GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite and Overwatch being notable names.
For the uninitiated, MOBA means, of course, Multi Online Battle Arena, and it is this format of the game that continues to drive the eSports gaming industry forward at a rapid rate. MOBAs effectively take you from the battlefield frontline and places you smack bang into operational HQ. A strategic mind and the ability to quickly pick up key details are essential if you are ever going to truly master any of the top MOBA titles that currently proliferate the eSports NZ market. MOBAs, like League of Legends and Dota 2, require a significant amount of teamwork as you combine elements of role-playing with a collective of like-minded individuals to overcome a team of foes. The mental energy required to become a pro in this type of game is not to be underestimated, but so too is the satisfaction from developing the vital logic-based skills that are needed to propel you into the upper echelons of players in this genre.
Real-Time Strategy Games
At this time there is an almost inexhaustible list of top-class Real-Time Strategy Games for you to seek to master. Whether your tipple is Age of Empires 2, Starcraft 2, or Warcraft 3, there are plenty of opportunities available in the world of eSports for you to put your strategic abilities to the test. These games are not dissimilar to their MOBA counterparts. However, most of the top titles in this selection are played on an individual rather than a team basis. For this fact more than any, Real-Time Strategy Games have had less exposure in recent times.
Fighting Games are where it all began for many of today’s top-draw eSports names. Who couldn’t be taken in by the adrenalin-inducing interaction that was required to eliminate your opponent in a Tekken, Street Fighter, or Mortal Kombat battle? Technological advancements may have ensured that these titles are considered to be a little bit niche in today’s market, but a touch of nostalgia can be a big draw and a money maker for those who market tournaments on these examples.
I may be the only one, but every time I powered up my betting site during lockdown I was met with a plethora of FIFA 21 games to bet on. FIFA eSports tournaments have now become big business, so much so that many professional sports teams now fund eSports spin-offs. Wellington Pheonix FC employs the services of @airbrn__ and @bainsey__ to represent the soccer club in eSports soccer events throughout Asia.
The Most Popular NZ eSports Leagues
League of Legends World Championships
The 2022 League of Legends season is in full swing, with many of the world’s top LOL eSports teams battling it out for a spot at the upcoming League of Legends world championships. The twelfth professional season for top players of the MOBA game has delivered many of the thrills that have been observed in recent years with LNG Esports and EDward Gaming going into the sixth week of action unbeaten in this year’s event.
The Electronic Sports League
ESL for short, the Electronic Sports League is a magnet for the world’s best players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, ESL R6S, Warcraft III, and Starcraft II.
The true scale is immense. This sense is underlined by the figures involved in upcoming events in the ESL. The IEM Katowice tournament in February 2022 promises a US$1 million prize pot to be shared among the 24 participating teams at one of the world’s greatest CS:GO events. While the IEM Cologne event in July offers similar terms.
The E League is the home of all the very best eSports sports events action. Several events are upcoming in 2022 that are likely to prove popular betting attractions for Kiwi eSports bettors.
The FIFA 21 Global Series and The Rocket League Championship Series X (RLCS X), will shortly appear on the Turner Sports ELeague cable channel in the United States. Mainstream coverage of such events shows just how far professional participants have progressed eSports, so much so that virtual sports are receiving similar levels of media coverage as their more physical peers.
Best NZ eSports Software Providers
Casino fans can also tell one top software provider from others. When it comes to slots and table games, aficionados understand the difference between a Microgaming, Merkur, Pragmatic, Evolution, NetEnt, Rival, Yggdrasil, or Quickspin game. But, just who are the firms that provide the eSports action that many Kiwis now like to bet on?
Respawning is a term that you will hear regularly whenever you are observing any eSports stream of a first-person shooter event. So, the name of Respawn Entertainment is entirely appropriate. As it is, Respawn Entertainment’s biggest claim to fame is the Titanfall shooter series of games and the battle royale style offer, Apex Legends. Respawn Entertainment was founded in 2010, supports a workforce of over 300, and was purchased by Electronic Arts in 2017.
Valve Corporation has been in the business of bringing eSports content to the masses since 1996. To date, the highest profile product ever developed by the Valve team is Dota 2. Dota 2 is perfect for largescale online eSports events. This MOBA-style offer pits two five-player teams against one another with each team attempting to occupy and defend a strategic site on each game map. Valve Corporation employs 360 operatives and is valued at around US$10 Billion.
Bandai Namco Games
Bandai Namco Games brings a Japanese influence to the eSports network. Bandai Namco have an illustrious history of bringing exhilarating content to a series of platforms, Pac-Man, Tekken, The Idolmaster, and Dark Souls have all been developed by Bandai Namco. For those of you who wish to find eSport betting opportunities, markets on Mortal Kombat and Final Fantasy tournaments can be located on several leading NZ eSports betting sites.
Epic Games is the home of Fortnite. The Fortnite World Cup in 2019 was one of the biggest eSports tournaments ever staged. With a prize pool of $30 million, the first-person shooter is entered popular culture as one of the world’s biggest multiple-player battle royale events. Such is the popularity of this title, that over 40 million Fortnite players entered pre-qualifying tournaments with the aim of reaching the global shoot-out that was staged at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in New York. Epic Games was founded in 1991 and has a workforce in excess of 1000 technicians.
SNK Corporation is another video games giant that hails from Japan. Founded in 1978, SNK Corporation has been making content for arcades, consoles, and PCs ever since. Among popular eSports titles from the SNK vaults, The King of Fighters is regarded as being one of the best. First developed in 1994, The King of Fighters is available on multiple platforms, allowing large-scale tournaments to be initiated.
Riot Games has a back-catalogue that is the envy of most other software providers. Home to League of Legends, Valorant, and Teamfight Tactics, Riot Games (as part of the Tencent Group) have the eyes of the world on them as the League of Legends League World Championship unfolds and the Valorant Champions Tour takes place. For those of you who are yet to come across League of Legends, where have you been?
League of Legends (LoL), is the 2009 blockbuster that takes multiplayer online battle arena gaming to the next level. Two teams of five players battle against each other to defend half of the game map. The 2019 World Championships garnered the largest ever level of online interest. Proceedings were viewed online on over 100 million separate occasions. The position of Riot Games is unshakable at this time, although such is the pace of change in the eSports sector that this position not guaranteed eternally.
Blizzard Entertainment has been in the business of creating memories for thirty-one years. Blizzard have put this experience to good use in recent times with the release of the Starcraft, Warcraft, and Hearthstone series of games. Since 2008, Activision Blizzard has been the name of the business, with Activision executives deciding that Blizzard Entertainment was well worth investing in. Starcraft and Warcraft are fine examples of the Real-time strategy genre, with millions of eSports gamers playing these titles regularly on an annual basis.
Popular NZ eSports Gamers
You now know about some of the top eSports leagues to bet on and some of the software providers that deliver the top First-Person Shooter, MOBA, Real-Time Strategy, Role Play Games that you should keep an eye out for, but who are the local heroes that you should be rooting for when the next eSports tournament takes place.
Under the game alias, Gratisfaction, Sean Kaiwai has become New Zealands top eSports participant. Has a player for Australian-based Counter Strike team, Renegades, Kaiwai is estimated to have earned well over NZ$100,000 from his eSports exploits. The Regenades are stalwarts at IEM events, so the opening up of the global economy can only be good news for Kaiwai and his esteemed teammates.
Abdullah Khudeish has built up his own fortunes on a first-person shooter, but in this case Khudeish has been a crack shot on the Epic Games classic, Fortnite. Parpy, has his fans in the world of eSports more commonly know him, is a regular high placer at Fortnite Champion Cash Cup Events. Also a Valorant expert, Parpy continues to fly the flag for all New Zealand eSports enthusiasts as the sports most prestigious events.
Cameron Ingram is a top player when it comes to the popular eSport game, Rocket League. Kamii, has he is known in these circles, has built up a prize pot of close to NZ$100,000 from his recent exploits. This makes Cameron Ingram the highest earning Kiwi from this version of the eSports range.
Best NZ eSports Betting Sites
Several betting sites in New Zealand understand that eSports markets are now important to advertise on their platforms. Not only does doing this attract new customers from the eSports community, but it also adds a new potential revenue stream for these platforms. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted how betting providers cannot always rely on traditional sports for income. Most eSports can be played in a socially distanced manner so few restrictions were placed on the eSports calendar at this time.
Some of the biggest betting sites in New Zealand are now NZ eSports betting sites offering attractive sign-up bonuses and regular offers.
|Betting Site||Offer||Wagering Terms|
|Royal Panda||100% Welcome Offer up to $1,000||35x Deposit & Wager|
|Mr Play Sport||Welcome Bonus 100% up to $100 Bonus||Minimum Odds of 2.00|
|Mr Green||Two $10 Free Bets and 100 Free Spins||Minimum Odds of 2.00|
|10 Bet||50% up to $50 welcome bons||8x wagering and Minimum Odds of 1.80|
|Karamba||Get $10 – Bet $20||Minimum Odds of 2.00|
For the population of NZ, eSports betting is the new kid on the block. The 2003 Gambling Act that was passed by the New Zealand parliament did little to support the new growth industry of online casinos and it said even less about eSports. This is not a surprise, after all the boom in the NZ eSports industry did not even take place to the 2010s. But, there is much to like about eSports. Many of the best eSports tournaments provide edge of the seat entertainment and are delivered by highly intelligent and marketable gamers. By adding eSports as a betting product, NZ betting sites are also future proofing their profits. There is little chance of the eSports bubble bursting at any time soon. More of the world’s population is moving online and this shift will undoubtedly lead to new fans of first-player-shooter, MOBA, Real-Time Strategy, and Fighting Games. The growth of eSports for decades to come is, therefore, guaranteed and the more far-sighted NZ betting sites are also realising this.
Can you bet on eSports at major NZ betting sites?
Absolutely. All of the top eSports tournaments including, The League of Legends (LOL) World Championships, the Fortnite World Cup, and the Electronic Sports League can bet on at a selection of the top NZ betting sites.
Is Betting on eSports in New Zealand legal?
It is. New Zealander’s can bet on casino and sports betting products that are imported from abroad. The only restriction that the New Zealand Government places on this content, is that New Zealander’s cannot bet on eSports betting content that is delivered from sources that are based in mainland New Zealand.
Is eSports betting similar to betting on other sports events?
Essentially, yes. Many eSports events are based on league formats that are common in sports like Soccer and Rugby League. Teams of the best eSports players are formed to play off against rivals. This means that many bets that are allowed on regular sports can also be placed on eSports.