The Counter-Strike franchise is known for two things: its popularity and the very steady pace of advancement. Although its latest entry, Counter-Strike 2, can seem like just a cosmetic lift on the surface, it's a huge leap for the franchise, bigger than anything the game has seen since the original Counter-Strike as in its gameplay, but also in Counter-Strike betting experience.
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The basics of the Counter-Strike gameplay are unchanged - after all, you can't improve on the perfection. Two teams battle over two halves to achieve victory in the game, using tactical equipment and weapons to force their opponents out.
|CS2 Betting Changes
|For those who are interested in CS2 betting, the changes to the game's Round system would be more interesting. The decrease in total rounds in a match from 30 to 24 noticeably shakes up the CS2 betting scene, bringing it more in line with the most recent tactical FPS game releases such as Valorant and R6: Siege. Most round-based betting tips are, therefore, outdated with this change - so discard any old info on how many rounds there are!
|CS2 Gameplay Changes
|For any avid Counter-Strike fan, opening CS2 for the first time would feel like a totally new game. The game's visuals are brand new, with updated map layouts and several gameplay mechanics, such as the updated sound system and Smoke grenade mechanics.
Thankfully for veterans and beginners alike, the release of CS2 didn't complicate any of the game's mechanics, keeping its gameplay clean yet sophisticated as always. Like in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the match starts with two teams of five fighting to complete objectives around the map. One team, the Terrorist side, is fighting to either eliminate the second team, the Counter-Terrorists, or to plant a bomb and protect it from being defused. The team winning the map does so by reaching 13-round wins first.
Sounds incredibly simple, doesn't it? However, the game's weaponry, tools (such as grenades, flashbangs, and defuse kits), and different maps (which also enable map betting) make it surprisingly sophisticated.
Betting on CS2 matches may simultaneously look like an unskilled game of luck or an insurmountably complex activity, but in reality, it is neither.
As with all forms of sports betting, you need to be 18+ to wager on CS2 with real money. This legal gambling age is enforced by all licensed esports betting sites via ID verification.
While betting is a skill-based activity, and your Counter-Strike 2 bet accuracy improves with more knowledge, online esports betting is inherently risk-based. Know the risks and never bet any more than you can afford to lose - the core principle of responsible gambling.
Placing bets is easier when utilizing esports betting bonuses. It's always a good idea to check out new bookmakers by using their welcome bonuses to bet risk-free.
For most esports fans, misconceptions about the legality of using CS betting sites are the biggest problem. Despite its growing popularity, some people still believe that esports betting is either illegal or unregulated. In reality, esports betting is legal in many jurisdictions and is subject to the same regulations as traditional sports betting. Not that this can vary depending on where you live, and it's important to do research and understand the local laws and betting sites before deciding to place a bet on a Counter-Strike match.
It would be daunting - and, quite honestly, a very dry read - to list all the legal stuff regarding how CS2 betting works. Instead, we’ll do you one better: equip the readers with the knowledge required to understand the basics and do their own research.
Be Aware of License Strength
The key to understanding what is CS GO gambling legally is being aware of different license operators and the strength of their licenses. This topic is especially important for those who reside in more challenging betting regions such as the United States, which is notorious for banning online bookmaker activity on most of its territory. Let’s rank these licenses from weakest to strongest.
|Government of Curacao
|Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association
|Malta Gaming Authority
|UK Gambling Commission
|The most basic and popular of licensors, the government of Curacao, offers online gambling licenses to online esports betting sites. The downside is their regulatory standards are considered relatively weak compared to other jurisdictions. Curacao-licensed online bookmakers are still subject to some level of regulation, but there are fewer restrictions and requirements compared to other licensing authorities. This license is too weak to be recognized in highly regulated regions such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, etc. If you’re a resident of these countries and you see the word Curacao appear, stay away from that betting site!
|The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) is a regulatory body that oversees online bookmakers based in Gibraltar. While the GBGA is considered to have higher standards than the Government of Curacao, it’s not strong enough to reach the hardest regions of the world, although it works in the UK this time.
|The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a well-respected regulatory body that oversees online bookmakers based in Malta. The MGA has a reputation for being thorough and strict in its licensing requirements and enforcement. Bookmakers licensed by the MGA are generally accepted in most parts of the world, including even the highly regulated jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States!
|The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is widely considered to be one of the strongest regulatory bodies for online bookmakers. The UKGC has strict licensing requirements and enforcement procedures, and bookmakers that are licensed by the UKGC are considered to be among the most reputable and trustworthy in the industry, making it viable pretty much worldwide (exceptions may still apply).
Betting on CS in the US is difficult, as the industry is either heavily regulated or outright banned in most states.
On the other hand, betting on CS2 in the UK is easy, although still safe due to the regulations the country provides.
While looking at the bookie’s license is an awesome way to quickly determine if you can play, exceptions may apply. In this case, a quick look through the bookies' Terms of Service may help clear out any doubts. There might be cases when the CS2 bookie holds no license at all! If this is the case, walk away. Unregulated, unlicensed sites are a major scam risk.
Review the Terms of Service
Just like we’ve mentioned above, it’s very important to carefully review the ToS to find out additional information regarding existing regulations, operator’s policies, and more. This can help avoid any misunderstandings or disputes that may arise in the future. Additionally, the ToS may contain important information about the bookmaker's fees, bonuses, and other policies that can impact the overall experience as a user. By taking the time to review the ToS, it is possible to make a more informed decision about whether to use the bookmaker's services and ensure that you are using the platform in a responsible and compliant manner.
Dedicating some time to learn more about a bookie in general is always a great idea. After you’re sure the site can be trusted legally, make sure to research its features, bonuses, game offers, and even “minor” details, such as the best CS betting app.
Due to its complexity, Counter-Strike has always had tons of different betting markets and esports betting experiences. While the staple options like Match Winner and Tournament Outrights stay as they are and are not affected - at least directly - there are a ton of betting markets that have to change up.
|Round totals are the most popular way to bet on CS2, besides Match Winner and Outrights. It's most commonly done in the Over/Under fashion, where a CS2 bookmaker picks an arbitrary number of rounds and bettors then guess if the Round Total will exceed it or not. Since CS2 lowered the round count to 24, the CS2 bookies refined their algorithms to accurately represent this change.
|The arguably most exciting type of Counter-Strike bet changed up too, now that CS2 is out. The bet's mechanic is fairly simple but has different CS betting odds, most often higher than typical bets - for instance, if Team B is losing by a significant margin, a bettor might wager on whether Team B can win the next 3 or more rounds consecutively. It's a prediction of a turnaround in team performance during a match. Shorter matches will make every round count way more individually, so the favourite/runner-up thresholds in this type of CS2 bet are way different from the previous release.
|This one is fairly obvious with the CS2 changes. In this type of bet, you predict the exact score after a certain number of rounds (usually match end). It's a more specific bet than just predicting the overall match winner - so don't get confused when the total round score doesn't add up to 30 anymore!
|The release of CS2 also affects the Counter-Strike betting experience in more ways than just by changing the number of rounds. The new content for the game also includes new CS2 skins and in-game items players can gamble with - and, since it's possible to earn in-game skins by simply playing the game, it means essentially free bets if you can play enough.
The CS2 release changed up live betting CS options by putting way more impact on each individual round. With matches getting shorter overall, each round has more weight. Learn more about live CS betting via this link.
The CS franchise has been the fan-favourite esports for more than two decades now, so there's little doubt the newest entry will easily uphold this status. Still, if you're new to it, here are some arguments as to why playing and betting on Counter-Strike 2 is a great idea in 2024.
The vast majority of esports bookmakers prioritize putting CS at the forefront of their business, so finding betting opportunities is incredibly easy. Combine it with how many Major tournaments CS2 esports hosts in a year, and you get the most accessible, fair, and fun esports betting experience you can get on the market. This makes it very easy to find top betting sites featuring CS2!
It's always easier to wager on games you're familiar with - and there's no better way to learn the ropes than to simply play the game. CS2 is one of the least hardware-demanding esports games out there, and since it's free to play, it's easily accessible to most PC users. The game is intuitively understandable and easy-to-watch, too, which makes it easier to try and test various CS betting strategies on your own.
Although we've mentioned that CS 2 is one of the easier esports titles to follow, it's still incredibly complex and varied. This "understandable complexity" makes it perfect for match betting as punters can place bets on all the various CS markets - and there are plenty to choose from.
So far, we’ve discussed the factors that depend on the bettor and the bookie when placing a CS bet. However, there’s another crucial part of this CS2 betting guide that is up to esports organizers and professional players themselves: ensuring clear sportsmanship and no conflict of interest.
Betting on low-tier Counter-Strike 2 events is a game of risk that is not recommended for those just starting out. Instead, check out this part of our esports CS GO betting guide to see the list of recommended pro series with crystal clear track records.
ESL Pro League
ESL Pro League has a long history in the Counter-Strike esports scene, with its first season taking place in 2015. Since then, the league has grown substantially, with multiple regional divisions and a global finals event that offers a substantial prize pool and attracts millions of viewers from around the world. Titles like Dota 2, Starcraft 2, and, most importantly, the Counter-Strike franchise all saw play in the event's history. The tournament organizer, Electronic Sports League, hosts Major-tier events watched by thousands worldwide.
The ESL Pro League is an essential part of the CS esports scene. Its prominence also means it's ubiquitous on any CS2 betting site. Not only does the league offer a unique and exciting viewing experience for fans of the game, but it is also an essential series of events for any serious CS betting enthusiast.
Intel Extreme Masters is a world-renowned esports tournament series organized by ESL and Intel. Events that are part of the IEM tour feature some of the best CS2 teams from across the globe competing for large prize pools in front of millions of viewers around the world! Established as far back as 2006, it has since seen huge growth with its exciting formats that are held at several international locations annually.
IEM Katowice is perhaps the most well-known part of IEM series - and CS esports in general. It also features other esports titles in addition to Counter-Strike.
A single Intel Grand Slam season is ten consecutive events organized by the ESL. As such, a Grand Slam season can last up to 2 years - just think of the amount of esports betting that can be done in that timeframe!
To achieve the title of an Intel Grand Slam Season champion, a team must win at least 4 events out of 10 to claim the title as well as a $ 1,000,000 prize money.
DreamHack Masters is one of the largest and most prestigious CS2 esports tournaments in the world, featuring some of the best teams and Counter-Strike players from around the globe. One of the key advantages of betting on DreamHack Masters is the tournament's high level of competition, which ensures that matches are always exciting, even, and fair. The tournament’s massive popularity ensures its appearance on virtually every online bookie.
DreamHack Masters also features top-tier production values - no one ever gets bored when live betting on matches of DreamHack events. DreamHack Masters is an essential part of the CS2 esports calendar and is featured on virtually any and every esports betting site there is.
BLAST Premier is a massive series of events spanning the entire year. Its popularity, high viewerships, and high level of play are perfect for sports betting sites and bettors alike. If you wanna see top teams playing against one another on the highest stage, BLAST Premier is for you. You'll find BLAST Premier events on every betting site worth its salt.
PGL (Professional Gamers League) is a leading esports tournament organizer and production company that has been involved in the Counter-Strike esports scene since its foundation in 2002. The company has organized and produced some of the biggest CS2 events in the world, including the PGL Major Championships, which are among the most prestigious CS tournaments in the world.
And more! There are many other tournament organizers, series, and events in the CS2 esports ecosystem. The two most popular categories for CS2 betting are undoubtedly Minor and Major series-class.
|Major Tournaments are the largest and most prestigious events in the Counter-Strike esports scene - just like the ones we’ve talked about just now. These events always have the best teams and players - and massive prize pools and viewership. One of the key advantages of betting on CS2 matches that are part of a Major-type series is that they offer a high level of competition and top-tier production values, making them as free from bad actors as they get. Most bookies pay special attention to Major tournaments and offer a wide range of related esports betting markets, from simple match-winner bets to more complex proposition bets. The more, the merrier!
|Minor Tournaments are smaller-scale events that have newer teams and players and offer lower competition than major tournaments. Minor events often offer more unpredictable and exciting matches. There’s a downside to this, though: not only are the matches more unpredictable due to skill differences, but unsportsmanlike activity such as match-fixing is also more likely.