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Dota 2 leads the march of eSports betting
The world of eSports may not be as inclusive as regular sports seen on terrestrial TV or subscription sports channels but the millions of players and fans around the world means there is a growing market for those who want to get more involved by by taking part in esports gambling.

Two straight forward elements lend Dota 2 to betting. Firstly there are many tournaments all over the world where teams battle it out against each other with a definitive winner and loser, and, secondly there are large prize pools associated with some of these tournaments. So consequently there are regulations and officials for all professional tournaments. Currently the record prize-pool for any eSports tournament is held by Dota 2, the August 2016 International tournament, which is seen as their world championships, had a record $20.8 million in prize money, $9.1 million of which went to the winning team, Wings Gaming.

So What is Dota 2?
Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Valve as the successor to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). The game is available through Valve's content delivery platform known as Steam. Steam provides players with installation and automatic updates on multiple computers and features like cloud saving and in game voice and chat functions.

Each match is straight heads-up fight between two teams of five players where the object is to destroy the home base of the opposing team known as the “Ancient”. Each player controls one of the 113 playable characters known as heroes, each with different powers. Heroes begin each game with an experience level of one but this increases the longer they last through the game up to a maximum of 25. Each level rise allows them to another fighting ability or increase the potency of one they already have.

In addition to having powers getting stronger during the game, players are able to buy items that provide their own special abilities. Items are not limited to specific heroes, and can be bought by anyone. In order to obtain an item, players must be able to afford it with gold, which is primarily obtained by killing enemy heroes, destroying enemy structures, etc.. Players also gradually get gold over time during play.

What are skins?
There has been a lot of talk in the media about skins for eSports because sites have allowed them to be put up as wagers on the outcome of matches, thus allowing underage people to essentially gamble. Skins are a cosmetic item only and can be purchased to change the appearance of your Heroes in the game. They are purely visual and do not affect the abilities and powers.

Are the teams professionals?
Plenty of professional players as well as teams around the world. Big companies have added themselves to the sponsors list like McDonalds, Gillette and Red Bull who sponsor pro-gamers and treats them like they do other athletes.

How can I bet on Dota 2?
All types of betting occur with eSports and Dota 2 is no exception. Standard bookmakers offer odds on matches and tournaments, exchanges run markets and even daily fantasy sports offer tournaments for all the major eSports including Dota 2. If you want live game action with betting coverage a specialist is best, will give you live video coverage and constantly updated prices.

Where can I watch Dota 2?
The easiest way to watch battles is probably which runs live streams pretty much 24/7 as well as many other eSports games like League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive which is known as CS:GO. Also the site will show major events. ESPN is also a big supporter of eSports and streams big events on their channels and have an eSports section that rivals their coverage of Football or NFL. The finals are also broadcast live on Twitter.

The is no stopping the rise of eSports progamers and other titles will be joining soon.

Professional Status
2013 saw the US Government issue the first P-1 visas to League of Legend players making them officially players in a professional sport. The visa finally stops the inevitable battle to gain entry into the US and gives the holder the right to stay up 5 years and a whole team for a period of 6 months.

The official League of Legends eSports tournament League Championship Series was the first to be recognized as a fully professional eSport by the U.S. State Department. Danny "Shiphtur" Le was the first progamer to receive a visa acknowledging him as an "internationally recognized" athlete. For Le, a native of Canada, the visa allowed him to go to the United States for training ahead of the world championships.

Other eSports players have been granted visas previously, mostly for one-off events, but Le was the first who was able to make a salary during his stay. Convincing the visa bureau of gaming's legitimacy as a pro sport wasn't easy. "We had to get endorsements from participants and prove that this is a consistent, viable career path and people can make a living playing games," Riot Games VP Dustin Beck said.

The P-1 visa is applicable to aliens entering the US to perform in a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognised level of performance.

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