Why CS:GO is so popular in esports betting

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CS:GO has captured a fan base in the millions and boasts large tournaments in iconic cities such as Paris and Cologne each year. So why is it so popular – and why has it done so well in betting? 

There are several potential reasons for CS:GO’s dominance in the esports betting space. One is the history of the ecosystem and community of the very game. As discussed in our article with Esports Insider, grey area skin betting and in-game loot boxes have been prevalent in the CS:GO community since their inception. With betting-related activities reaching mainstream acceptance, becoming as ingrained into the community as watching esports matches or playing the game, the acceptance of real-money betting has likely followed suit.

Read more about the difference between VALORANT and CS:GO, in terms of balance and skill cap.

An esports calendar filled with high-tier tournaments

Another reason is the lack of seasonality in the CS:GO competitive calendar. For the ingrained esports fan, CS:GO is the perfect game to follow. The esports scene sees a host of big and small tournaments sprinkled in a relatively even distribution throughout the year. Two majors are played each year, interspersed with IEM tournaments of the same calibre commonly hosted in iconic esports locations such as Katowice and Cologne, along with BLAST and ESL Pro League tournaments. 

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Check out the largest tournaments in CS:GO 2023

Meanwhile, LoL and Dota 2 have their regional leagues during winter, spring and summer that culminates in World Championships each fall. While the regional leagues see enough viewership, they’re nowhere near the popularity of international tournaments such as the World Championships. 

In League of Legends, there’s a notable disparity in skill levels between the regions. While professional players in LCS and LEC are great, their Chinese and Korean counterparts play on an entirely different level. They have consistently won the World Championships for the last couple of years and dominate globally. Hence, fans of League of Legends can only watch the highest tiers of play in some regional leagues and during the World Championships. 

In contrast, the best CS:GO teams worldwide compete year-round in several high-tier tournaments, which increases the suspense of every match and gives fans more chances to root for the best teams and teams from their home region.

The simplicity of following CS:GO 

Abios’ Head of Sales and former professional CS:GO player, Niclas Sundell, tells a different story: “The largest differentiator between CS:GO and MOBAs such as Dota 2 and League of Legends is simplicity. Dota 2 and League of Legends can be daunting for newcomers given all the items, champions and spells they need to grasp. On the contrary, even new viewers of CS:GO can decipher that the game is based on two teams killing the opposing one in the shortest amount of time. 

Niclas Sundell, Head of Sales at Abios and former professional CS:GO player

The simplicity of CS:GO is probably one of the largest reasons for the title’s prowess in betting. CS:GO has been around for a long time, which has created a mature audience. Even if a lot of younger people play the game, I believe there’s a large group of people around 30-40 that watch esports. When there’s an older demographic watching the games, chances are higher they will also place a bet.” (quote taken from article with Esports Insider “Abios’ Niclas Sundell: Betting on CS:GO is ‘s1mple’ “, 9/12/2022)

Betting advertising and sponsorships in CS:GO

The final reason is that Valve Corporation and other tournament organisers in CS:GO allow gambling sponsorships to a larger extent than for Dota 2 and/or LoL. Riot Games, the game publisher behind League of Legends, has imposed a blanket ban on betting-related advertisements, making it more difficult for sportsbooks to reach LoL fans. In CS:GO, sportsbooks have more opportunities to advertise, which makes it easier to build brand recognition among fans. 

With the esports betting market projected to reach a GGR of $ 960 million in 2026, we believe CS:GO will hold an important position in any sportsbook. 

With close to ten years of experience in the esports industry, Abios provides esports data and technology to customers around the globe. Make sure to reach out if you want to add CS:GO odds to your sportsbooks or learn more about esports betting.

Posted by
Kristina Skogvard

Content Marketing Manager

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