eSports Betting and eWagering Gets Official Go-ahead in Growing Number of States

More states allowed eSports in 2021- a trend that is expected to continue all through 2022. New Jersey became the first state in the country to legalize eSports bets in the country. On November 8th, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an esports betting bill that had been proposed by Assemblyman Ron Dancer.

As a result, sports wagering in New Jersey was expanded to also include esports competitions that feature the majority of players that are over 18. The Esports genre has exploded exponentially in the last 5 years and gained momentum especially in the early days of the government-sanctioned lockdowns of 2019.

The esports bill paved the way for esports wagers in one of the most successful sports betting markets in not just North America, but the rest of the world. According to New Jersey legislators, esports had attained considerable growth over the last year or so, and legalizing a competitive gaming environment presented a wonderful revenue-generating opportunity for  the state, especially as New York punters will no longer be reliant on New Jersey online casinos.

The esports betting bill in New Jersey was previously introduced in March and it sent waves across many states. During the legislative process, the bill faced little to no opposition. It finally received final approval in July before it was sent off for approval by the governor who then passed the draft into law.


Connecticut wants to join the race

And it’s not just the Garden State that is looking to reap the benefits of esports betting. Connecticut has also expressed its interest to expand its betting laws so that it can also include esports wagering. Based on a report done by a local gambling editorial, esports betting legislation, in the form of HB 6451, is expected to legalize esports as a sporting event that is officially recognized.

Legislators in Connecticut all appear to agree that esports does indeed constitute a viable wagering opportunity and revenue earner for the state. However, it appears that the legislators are still yet to agree on whether esports constitutes a type of athletic competition such as the NFL or NHL.

Connecticut describes esports in HB 6451 as an official contest that residents can wager on, which is going to go a long way in helping to add a layer of credibility for the operators in the state. Competitive video gaming has been growing steadily not just in America but across the world, which has proven its growth potential and lasting power.

When HB 6451 is approved into law, this means that punters in Connecticut will be able to wager on official contests and competitions. These include Dota 2, as well as the League of Legends world championships, as well as many more future opportunities. 

Connecticut hopes to join other states like New Jersey and Nevada that found a way to capitalize on the growth of esports games during the pandemic. At the time, all major sports had been shut down as a means of curbing the spread of the virus. Besides this, the rest of the world has been betting on esports for years- long before the advent of the pandemic.

For example, in Europe, regulators soon started licensing individual esports events on a case-to-case basis. Numerous sports lovers that had become accustomed to wagering on sports quickly switched to placing wagers on NBA2K and FIFA to pass away the time in lockdown, as well as try and fill the gaping hole that had been left by the worldwide sports shutdown.

Despite the potential for growth that esports exhibits, there still many states that are yet to legalize esports betting. Once the bill is finalized, Connecticut legislators expect the various operators that have licenses to establish individual esports wagering platforms, as well as supply their customers with a wide array of titles and esports markets to choose from. Connecticut state that it is going to limit the scope of esports wagering, which means that intercollegiate wagering is also up for grabs.


Betting fans find value in esports

Most of the esports action is founded on 3 primary titles, namely Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, as well as League of Legends. Some sports fans also like smaller tiered games such as placing wagers on peripheral manufacturer HyperX Electronic Arts games such as FIFA and NBA2K simulators. 

Apart from Connecticut and New Jersey, Nevada and Tennessee have also legalized esports betting in the state. Vegas has always had a long history with competitive video gaming. For instance, peripheral manufacturer HyperX already has an inbuilt esports arena in the Luxor Hotel that regularly hosts competitions in the state to sold-out audiences.

Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board agrees that esports has a lot of potential, it is yet to legalize esports. In the state, several restrictions exist:

Only the head to head wagers and outrights are given the green light

All bets on esports must be made before the competition in question kicks off

These restrictions have unfortunately impacted the betting rate in the state negatively. Because of these rules, locals cannot participate in live or in-game wagers. Conditional wagers that traditional punters have become accustomed to are also out of the question. Despite these stipulations though, bettors in Nevada have not been discouraged from taking part in esports betting.

The good news is that the legalization of esports betting in the state is imminent. Why? Like many other states in the country, Nevada took quite a hit during the pandemic and is yet to stabilize its economic status. Nevada was one of the hardest-hit states in the country by the pandemic as it relies heavily on the hospitality industry that was dealt a blow by the ongoing pandemic.


Final Thoughts

It is clear that the growth of esports has only just started and is not going to slow down moving forward. As technology advances and more people have access to affordable internet solutions, more and more people will continue tuning in to esports.

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