The rise of esports betting has been meteoric, and it shows no signs of slowing down. With the continued growth of competitive gaming, it is likely that even more people will get involved in this activity in the years to come.

Esports matches are often highly competitive and unpredictable making for a thrilling viewing experience, and with lots of information and data available on players, esports might just become your new favourite type of gaming.

For more information on Esports in New Zealand including notable players, events, betting sites (Age 18+ only), and tournament locations read on.

Most Notable Moments in NZ Esports History

Tense moment in gaming competition

While New Zealand’s foray into Esport is new, there have been several exciting moments in its history. Some of the most notable moments include:

  • October 2016. The first New Zealand Esports team are sent to the IESF World Champs in Jakarta. This sees 8 young kiwis represent their country on the international stage in a New Zealand first.
  • February 2019. New Zealander Sean Kaiwai lands in the top 5 world Counter Strike teams as part of the Australian team, Renegades.
  • March 2020, the New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) is officially recognised by Sporting New Zealand as a national sporting organisation.
  • 2022 University of Waikato launches New Zealand’s first Esports qualification.


The New Zealand Esports scene has been growing rapidly in recent years, with more and more people getting involved in competitive gaming.

NZ players & teams

Notable NZ players & teams include:

  • The E Blacks
    New Zealand’s official national Esport team. In 2016 they represented New Zealand in the IESF World Champs in Indonesia and were picked to attend the 2022 Commonwealth games in Birmingham as part of a pilot esports competition.
    The current captains of the E Blacks teams are:
  • 5 ½ Kiwis
    This team won the nationally televised broadcast Commonwealth games qualifier in Dota 2 without losing a single match, earning their way to New Zealand’s 2022 national team.
  • Sean Kaiwai, known by his gamertag of “Gratisfaction” is New Zealand’s top esport earner. Aged only 26 he has earned over $120,000 over his professional esport career, specializing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
  • Ashleigh Dougal or “Minxy”. Part of the team “Shadownet”, and one of the few female captains in the community. Dougal is widely regarded as a top-level player in Rainbow Six Siege tournaments.

With the continued growth of esports in New Zealand and the talented pool of gamers available, it’s only a matter of time before we see even more top-level players and teams emerge from this corner of the world.

Esports Centres

Esports in New Zealand is still in its early developmental stages with few established clubs or tournaments. However, this is beginning to change with the formation of several new esports arenas and centres dedicated to competitive gaming.

Currently available is:

Esports CentreAddress
OMEN Esports Arena – Waikato
Waikato University is the very first New Zealand to establish an eSports arena. The institution houses 12 cutting-edge OMEN gaming computers, a racing simulator, and console space. This arena is used for team training, competitions, socializing, and more.
OMEN Esports Arena - Waikato
The Station, 164 Hillcrest Road, Hamilton
Respawn Esports Centre – Wellington
Respawn hosts weekly, monthly, and annual events to ensure that video game communities have the space, time, and resources to play in larger-scale venues.
Respawn Esports Centre – Wellington
9 Manners Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Rainbow Playlab – Auckland
Rainbow PlayLab is structured for tables of ten players. The space is perfect for gaming with friends and can be booked privately.
Rainbow Playlab – Auckland
2 Clist Crescent, Manukau City Centre, Auckland 2104, New Zealand
Esports Arena – University of Auckland 
Free for students and currently only taking bookings for consoles, the University of Auckland’s high-spec gaming lab provides PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, plus OMEN gaming systems.
Esports Arena - University of Auckland
74 Epsom Avenue, Epsom, Auckland 1023, New Zealand
Esports Gaming Whangarei 
Kit out with 15 purpose-built PC’s and a large games library, this venue can be booked by competitive or casual players and is suitable for all ages.
Esports Gaming Whangarei
2 Reyburn Street, Whangārei 0110, New Zealand


hype gaming event live

Esports events and tournaments aren’t just for the players. Many gaming enthusiasts spectate at both live and online events, and some sports television channels will even showcase large tournaments. Visit or stream to view expert players battling it out in competition.

Upcoming Esports Events in New Zealand are:

  • NZ High School Esports Championship – Fortnite 30th October
  • South Auckland Esports tournament 2022 30th Nov
  • Oceania Esport VALORANT TOURNAMENT 2022 11th December
  • Oceania Esport LOL TOURNAMENT 2022 10th December

Top 10 Highest-Paid NZ Esports players

New Zealand’s top esports players are raking in the cash, with some taking home salaries of more than $100,000 a year!

Here are NZ’s top 10 highest paid Esports stars:

RankPlayer NamePlayer IDEstimated EarningsHighest Paying Game
1Sean KaiwaiGratisfaction $123,890.93Counter-Strike:
Global Offensive
2Cameron IngramKamii$120,205.83Rocket League
3Ethan “Link”Link$99,638.80Fortnite
4Abdullah KhudeishParpy$98,453.80Fortnite
5Reihana GreenSlaya$83,258.20Fortnite
6Richard SimpsonMes$79,141.67World of WarCraft
7Simon WilliamsSico$73,314.02Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
8Chélan Shermanzoreh$70,113.80Fortnite
9Sam PearsonTwizz$59,538.80Fortnite
10Chris HuntCoverH$59,238.80Fortnite
Reference: October 2022

Best Sites to bet on Esports players

Esports betting is a rapidly growing industry with immense potential. The global esports market is currently exceeding 2.4 billion NZD and continuing to rise. So, there’s no doubt esports betting will continue to grow along with it. Online casinos and sports betting NZ know that esports is an essential addition to their gaming roster.

Here are just some of the sites you can lay your bets.


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Claim up to NZ$1000 in Bonus Cash at Betway Casino

Betway extensively covers CSGO, Dota 2, LoL major tournaments on an extremely user friendly, easy to navigate website. Users have access to iOS & android sports betting apps to make betting even easier.


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Enjoy Huge Collection of Games and up to $250 Bonus at 22Bet Casino

22Bet provides a huge range of esports to choose from. They have all the usual Esports games plus several under the radar choices, making 22Bet one of the most fun and varied places to play.


A well-known international betting site. New accounts have access to a generous deposit matching promotion. Primarily a regular sports betting site, they also have a good range of esport options.


This site is dedicated entirely to esports betting by running comparisons between other betting sites. This means you can pick and choose the best games from across the internet on one convenient site.


🎮 What is Esport?

Esports, also known as electronic sports, refers to the competitive playing of video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer gaming competitions, particularly between professional players. These competitions can be held in person or online, and they can take place at the local, national, or international level.

🕹️ What are some popular esports games?

There are a variety of different types of esports games that people compete in.

Some of the most played games include:

  • First-person shooters (FPS)
  • Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
  • Real-time strategy (RTS)
  • Fighting games.

Some of the most well-known FPS games are Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Halo, and Overwatch; while RTS games include Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, & Age of Empires.

Some of the more popular MOBA games are Heroes of the Storm, Dota 2, and League of Legends (LoL).

🆚 What is the difference between casual and competitive gaming?

Casual and competitive gaming both have their own unique appeal. For casual gamers, they play for fun and typically don’t take the game too seriously. They might not invest as much time into learning all the game’s mechanics and may be more likely to play with friends just for laughs.

On the other hand, competitive gamers are usually more focused on winning. They tend to spend more time practicing and honing their skills so they can perform at their best during tournaments or matches. For them, gaming is more than just a hobby – it’s a way to test their abilities and see how far they can push themselves.

❓ Is Esports a sport in New Zealand?

New Zealanders say yes!!

In 2020, Sport NZ formally recognized the New Zealand Esports Federation as the official national organisation for esports.

However, prior to 2020, the answer was not so clear cut, and today there are still some people who don’t agree.

New Zealand has always been a country with a strong sporting culture and the question of whether esports was an actual sport was one that came up frequently.

People argued that esports doesn’t fit the traditional definition of a sport. It doesn’t involve physical activity, for starters. And with some esport games there’s no clear way to win or lose – it’s not like playing a game of rugby where the team with the most points at the end is the winner.

But others countered this argument by saying esports does fit the definition of a sport. It requires skill and dedication to be successful. Players need to be able to think strategically and react quickly. And just like traditional sports, there are plenty of competitions and tournaments to be involved in.

The recognition of Sport NZ coupled with the fact a New Zealand Esports team has played in the Commonwealth games has since changed a lot of attitudes around the country and garnered more acceptance of Esport as an official sport.

🙋 How do I join Esports?

Getting started in esports can seem daunting, but with a little know-how and some practice, anyone can become a pro. Here are a few tips to get you started on your way:

  1. Find your game.
    There are tons of different games out there, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. Do some research, read reviews, and watch videos to find the perfect match.
  2. Get some practice.
    Once you’ve found your game, it’s time to start practicing. If you want to be competitive, you’ll need to put in the hours and learn everything you can about your chosen game. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you out, including forums, guides, and video tutorials.
  3. Play in tournaments:
    Tournaments are a great way to test your skills and see how you stack up against other players. There are tournaments for all levels of players, so you can find one that’s right for you. Many tournaments offer prize money, so you could even make some money while playing.

By following these steps and a lot of hard work you could be climbing the leader boards in no time. If you prove to be a good player, you may even get the opportunity to join a professional team.

⛔ Is there any age limit for esports?

There is no official age limit for competing in Esport in New Zealand, and the NZEF allows parents to set their own limits for children who wish to play.

Schools around New Zealand have recognized and embraced Esports as a sporting option, with many colleges creating and hosting their own events.

🎮 Does esports count as a sport?

Kiwi gamers certainly believe so!
A staggering 75% of New Zealanders play games classified as video games and over 86% of Kiwi gamers would like play or watch esports if it were more widely available.

Large sports organisations are getting on board too.

Not only has the Commonwealth games committee embraced Esports, but the International Olympic Committee is also discussing the logistics of including it as an Olympic level sport. Once this is approved, Esport will likely skyrocket into the general public’s awareness like no other sport before.

Esport has been flying under the radar of traditional sport enthusiasts for some time. But it’s getting harder to ignore its popularity with reports of 256 million global viewers & a global value of 2.4 billion NZ dollars.

You can join in on Esports action by competing, or simply watching as the professionals play. Maybe you’ll even place a few bets on your favourite teams and players. No matter what you decide you can be a part of the new and thrilling world of Esports in New Zealand!