While the rest of the world is going forward in the normalization and legalization of esports betting as a cultural practice, the US, sadly, lags behind. However, the most recent developments on the legal level open up new opportunities for esports betting platforms located in the US as well as esports betting fans. Let's review how to bet on esports in the US safely and easily!
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Is Esports Betting Legal in the US?
Of course, we're starting off with the big question on everyone's mind. Unfortunately, there's no simple and quick answer to whether esports betting is legal in the US. US states have historically been targets of restrictively prohibitive legislation regarding esports betting. While the interest in esports betting is nearly on the level of esports betting in Australia, outdated pieces of legislation get in the way. Don't be discouraged, though: this isn't a “no”! It's just a little bit tricky, but it can be legal.
The morally outdated Wire Act of 1961 has been the most significant obstacle for esports betting in USA. While the rest of the world recognizes esports betting as the faster-growing entertainment industry, US federal laws... prohibit passing information regarding betting through electrical wires. Yes, this is in the actual text of the law. Thankfully, a recent decision by US Supreme Court overturned a federal law prohibiting sports betting.
However, not all is lost, as American esports betting regulations vary state-by-state. The best example of this was the historic decision by New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement to legalize esports betting in that state in 2018. The decision came through right in time for one of the biggest events in gaming, the League of Legends Worlds Championship finals. These two decisions have set a powerful precedent that could overturn the Wire Act altogether shortly.
As for now, there are still options for esports betting in the USA. New Jersey, Nevada, Tennessee, Colorado, and West Virginia are the states that have entirely legal esports betting. Residents of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington DC, and Delaware have access to regulated (read: restricted) online esports betting.
This means that the esports betting platforms you might encounter in these states operate in the grey area. This means fewer options regarding esports titles and markets and, most importantly, less user protection in case something goes awry.
|Esports Betting in New Jersey||Legal esports betting is still a relatively new phenomenon in New Jersey. It is a rapidly developing scene, with lawmakers constantly facilitating the industry's growth. New Jersey esports betting fans overwhelmingly pick DraftKings as the betting platform of choice.|
|Esports Betting in Nevada||It is no surprise that the Vegas esports betting scene is very much alive and growing. Las Vegas, and Nevada as a whole, is synonymous with competitive betting, and esports gambling is no exception.|
|Esports Betting in Tennesee||There's a fun fact about esports betting in Tennesee - it's only allowed through digital mediums. Because of this, the esports betting industry in this state is so massively popular.|
|Esports betting in West Virginia||West Virginia legalized sports betting in 2018, but it took more than four years to do the same for esports betting. As of 2022, West Virginia esports betting is fully legal: its residents should have no problems finding legit betting sites for their favorite games.|
|Esports Betting in Colorado||As a result of a referendum, Colorado finally opened the doors to legal esports betting in 2019, making it the fifth of states where esports betting is legal. Esports betting in Colorado is possible both online and offline (although the former method is much more preferred).|
Best Bookies For US Bettors
With the legality explained, let's move on to the best esports betting sites for the region. The competition to be the best esports betting sites in USA is fierce, so we've prepared an online esports betting guide with the top-3 sites based on their area of operation, esports events coverage, odds and bonuses, and many other factors.
BetUS: Face Of Esports Betting Sites Of USA
Such a brand name earns this bookie a top spot on this list. BetUS seems to be all about bringing the best experience to its home audience, operating legally across the US. BetUS is also a great pick even if you're not situated in the US: mainly, its esports bonus section is hands down the best out of all esports bookies we've reviewed. BetUS is more than adequate in all other departments, providing users with a decent selection of esports titles, events, markets to choose from, and high esports betting odds.
Bovada: Safe, Reputable, Convenient
Bovada is one of the pioneers of US esports betting sites, and they've stuck around ever since. Launched in 2011, this sports bookie has an impressive portfolio of available esports titles such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, Valorant, and others. Bovada is also a giant of live esports betting, one of the pioneers in that direction. All in all, everything an esports fan would need!
Bovada is safe, easy to use, and offers newcomers awesome welcome bonuses, making it a great pick for esports betting in Canada and US.
MyBookie: Pioneers of Online Sportsbooks
MyBookie used to have the best esports betting app on the US market. In time, the competitors caught up in this department, but this name stuck and retained its vast fanbase. Nowadays, MyBookie's main strength is its effective and quick customer support. Excellent options regarding esport titles, event coverage, and esports betting markets that go beyond simple esports match betting, too!
MyBookie also has excellent options when it comes to payment operators: esports betting with PayPal, Skrill, and other similar e-wallets and crypto coins are accepted. It's also one of the best crypto bookmakers. Neteller esports betting is also accepted as this wallet is one of the most popular choices of experienced esports bettors.
DraftKings: The OG In Fantasy Esports Betting
Most American punters know DraftKings for its awesome fantasy esports betting platform. Now, DraftKings is a leading digital sports entertainment and gaming company that specializes in more than just daily fantasy sports, but also sports betting, and online casino games. DraftKings is also committed to responsible gaming and maintaining high security and transparency, ensuring safety and fair play for its customers.
Check our more detailed guide on the best sites for esports betting by clicking on this link. By the end, you'll be able to quickly tell a legit and safe bookie worth using from less reliable ones.
Bettor Picks For Esports Titles in the USA
Regulations or not, the USA is a nation of gamers. As the country is packed to the brim with famous game developers like Riot Games, Valve, Activision-Blizzard, etc., it's no wonder gaming is a cultural phenomenon for most Americans. Some esports titles are more beloved than others.
Valorant Betting in the USA
Despite being one of the freshest additions to the esports roster, Valorant has grown immensely in popularity in the past few years. Since it's developed by the creators of one of the most popular esports titles in the world, League of Legends, it's not a big surprise. And, as a bonus, Valorant's pro scene is robust in North America. One of NA's most esteemed gaming organizations, OpTic Gaming, was the grand finalist of VCT Champions 2022.
Valorant's schedule makes it a perfect pick for most esports betting sites. The Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) ensures events are going on at all levels of play year-round - making esports wagering on this title easily available at any time.
League of Legends Betting in the USA
Unsurprisingly, League of Legends is also at the top of this list. The golden horse of esports betting online, League is one of the world's most popular competitive video games. With more than a decade of history, LoL has cemented itself as one of the best esports betting titles for two reasons: its immense fanbase and year-round, months-long regional leagues. Even though it's a multiplayer online battle arena (which are notoriously hard to pick up and follow), the game is immensely popular, with hundreds of millions of esports fans worldwide.
As we've mentioned before, League's cultural status paves the way for state-wide legislation, as the New Jersey esports betting industry has demonstrated. While NA's status in LoL isn't as great as in other titles like Valorant and Dota 2, American bettors are massively interested in international esports events and other regional competitions.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Betting in the USA
The Counter-Strike series have amassed tens of millions of fans worldwide over the last two decades. The North American fanbase is no exception. Counter-Strike is an easy esports title to pick up and follow, which explains its massive popularity and evergreen status. Not to mention the fact that this franchise pioneered the team-based tactical shooter genre as we know it!
Intel Extreme Series is the classic of CS:GO's major esports tournaments. This particular event is beloved by USA esports fans and bookmakers for its stellar production quality, high competitiveness, and large prize pools.
Call of Duty Betting in the USA
This fast-paced First Person Shooter is, without a doubt, a generation-defining piece. Call of Duty has unique significance in the North American region when it comes to esports and esports betting. While the franchise is undoubtedly popular all over the world, that level of love is nowhere close to American fans'. NA's best esports betting sites reflect this love, putting Call of Duty as one of the main games.
Call of Duty League 2020: Playoffs
The largest Call of Duty event in recent years, the CoD League 2020 Playoffs, had a massive prize pool of nearly $5,000,000. With 12 teams attending, the two NA squads (Dallas Empire and Atlante FaZe) squared off against one another, with Dallas taking home the highest trophy.
All the NA-compatible betting sites consider CoD one of the best esports titles for wagering, giving it unique attention compared to bookies in other countries.
Fortnite Betting in the USA
As the popularity of Battle Royale exploded, Fortnite was the first game to provide a polished player experience. The result is astounding: the game instantly skyrocketed in popularity, becoming the fastest-growing online game in decades as it accrued 200 million players by 2018.
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals was a gigantic esports event. With a combined prize pool of over $30,000,000, it is the only esports event to rival Dota 2's The International. Naturally, these kinds of prize pools drive interest in the esports scene like crazy, which makes the game a great option for esports betting on USA sites, as well.
US' Way Of Esports: How is Esports Developing in NA
North America is home to a slew of talents: from engineers at Silicon Valley and game devs in Los Angeles to the esports fans that made this hobby possible and esports athletes that make it all so exciting. While most agree that esports originated in South Korea, the United States pushed it to its limits and popularized it all over the world. After all, South Korea's favorite esports game at the time (StarCraft: Brood War) was made in the US!
The American esports viewership is gigantic. In 2021, it made $300 million in revenue, making it the second-largest esports market in the world. This region is an absolute treasure trove for esports betting sites of all shapes and sizes, as nearly 70% of the country's population describes themselves as gamers.
The outlook for American esports organizations is, on the contrary, not as bright. While many American esports organizations are taking the lead in different esports titles, there's a downward trend in many popular esports like League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Dota 2. The American organizations are still pouring top dollar into the esports industry - it's just that the homegrown talent isn't quite there yet. It may change with time, however!
However, the North American teams dominate at Call of Duty and are making breakthroughs in Valorant and CS:GO.
Best US Esports Teams
As we've mentioned, NA is still a rather competitive region. Multiple brilliant esports orgs emerged in all relevant titles through ups and downs. Let's talk about them in more detail - after all, we need to know which teams to wager on the esports betting sites, right?
OpTic is one of the most famous multi-gaming organizations headquartered in the US. They've made their names known in Call of Duty and then expanded towards other popular esports titles such as Halo, Valorant, and Rocket League.
In 2022, OpTic Gaming was the finalist of VCT Champions - the largest esports event of the year. However, on November 18th, the organization pulled out of Valorant's pro scene. It still remains a powerhouse in the remaining titles.
The legends of CS:GO and League of Legends, Cloud9 is one of the most prolific North American esports organizations. It has teams in LoL, CS:GO, Valorant, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Halo, Hearthstone, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Super Smash Bros., Teamfight Tactics, and World of Warcraft. Not to mention the games they've had rosters in the past, like Overwatch.
With such an impressive number of players under Cloud9 banner, it's no wonder this organization has become the face of North American esports. The org went through a lot of battles, fielding players such as Tarik (CS:GO), TenZ (Valorant), Sneaky (League of Legends), and many others!
EG is another of NA's multi-gaming orgs with a ton of history behind it. Fielding rosters in titles like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Fortnite Battle Royale, Halo, League of Legends, StarCraft II, Rocket League, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, and World of Warcraft.
Evil Geniuses Dota 2 roster is among the few legendary teams to hold the Aegis of the Immortal. The team was brought to victory by their legendary captain, Peter ppd Dager, in The International 2015, forever etching their names on the Aegis - plus winning some $21,500,00.
EG's CS:GO roster is also one of the strongest domestic teams in NA. It hails all the way back from the CS 1.6 days, as the team debuted in 2002, and is still going strong on the regional scene - and sometimes internationally, like in 2019-2020.
Fantasy Esports Betting USA: What's & Why's
For those living in states with particularly restrictive regulations, there's still an opportunity to bet on esports in USA. Although, in this case, it's fantasy esports. Fantasy esports betting is not affected by the Wire Act and prohibitive restrictions, as it is not actually placing bets on sports matches themselves. If you're unfamiliar with fantasy esports, here's a quick rundown.
In fantasy esports, the fans make their own esports rosters out of a pool of active esports players. Then, it's possible to compare the fantasy rosters' performance by measuring their real-life counterparts. Wagering on these fantasy teams is not restricted whatsoever.
Fantasy betting platforms like BettorFantasy come in clutch for the US audience. This bookie is a rapidly growing project aimed at giving their users the best esports betting experience that is completely legal and safe anywhere in the United States - and beyond.
Community Betting in the USA: What's That?
Community betting, or tipping, is another alternative for US esports betting fans. Disclaimer: it only works because this kind of esports betting is entirely free. As there's no money on the line, it's not considered a sports bet business and isn't affected by the Wire Act or any other regulations concerning sports bookies. Therefore, it only works for the players who bet for sport only, not for profit.
Want to learn more? Read our esports betting guide for beginners. We cover everything worth knowing about esports in it: from how to find optimal esports betting sites to different esports tournaments and esports markets.
Although, it wouldn't be fair not to mention that users of real money esports betting sites also can use community betting platforms to their advantage, as these tips appear as publicly visible votes. A quick glance at them can be enough to determine the strongest team before placing esports wagers. By the way, TIPS.GG also has community voting - win rewards if you get your votes right!
Esports Betting in Other Countries
Online esports betting is popular all over the globe - and some countries are way better at doing it than the USA. Check out our guides on different countries' betting industries and find the best esports betting site for that region.
|Australia||Australia is a land of bettors, and things are no different for Australia esports betting scene. Australians outspend any other gambling nation by nearly twice when it comes to betting!|
|Canada||Although Canada esports betting scene is way more liberal than that of US', it's still developing. Thankfully, it's doing so quickly.|
|United Kingdom||The United Kingdom are one of the biggest enjoyers of betting, and esports betting in the UK reflects this sentiment, too. Best international bookies are located there for a reason!|
|Germany||It's possible to bet on esports in Germany - although the laws surrounding the industry are still prohibitive. As such, German esports fans may only use foreign esports betting platforms.|
|Japan||Similarly to Germany, Japan has no homegrown esports bookies due to restrictions. Still, it's possible to bet on esports in Japan by using overseas platforms.|
|Singapore||The situation surrounding esports betting in Singapore is underwhelming, to say the least. Local laws prohibit punters from placing wagers on overseas platforms, but there are no local bookies that would offer sufficient options.|
|Brazil||Betting on esports in Brazil is massively popular. A recent study showed Brazil is the third in esports betting popularity, only behind China and the US. There are movements to legalize domestic betting operators, but, for now, Brazilians are limited to only offshore bookies.|
|Malaysia||Malaysia's esports betting scene has been seriously stifled since the Betting Act of 1953 prohibits any gambling using local platforms. Still, it's possible to access offshore bookies legally.|
|Philippines||Philippines esports betting has experienced significant growth over the past few years, with the industry rapidly gaining traction among avid gamers and bettors.|
US Esports Betting Payment Options
There's an upside to high levels of profiling and regulation - only the best of the best remain. This, of course, includes the full variety of available payment operators that work on American esports betting sites.
Long considered to be an unsafe way of handling finances when betting online, esports betting with MasterCard or Visa is now safe to use thanks to meticulous levels of encryption and customer protection.
E-wallets were synonymous with online betting for as long as they both existed. Bet on esports with Skrill or browse best Neteller esports betting sites with our guides.
PayPal is the most popular e-wallet in the world and deserves a separate mention. Esports betting sites with PayPal used to be a rarity - but never in US.
Pre-paid cards like Paysafecard are an easy way to add an additional layer of security to your esports betting experience. This payment method is widely accepted in both North America and Europe.
Best crypto bookmakers accept players from the US. The practice of using cryptocurrencies to bet on esports is perfectly legal - and offers some nice perks!