Sunday July 3,2016 : NEVADA-REGULATED E-SPORTS BETTING NOW POSSIBLE
Gambling firms see new revenue possibilities in burgeoning vertical.
Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas, stands ready to embrace the burgeoning eSports vertical beyond mere hosting of its events…gambling groups are reportedly seeing the potential of regulated and licensed betting on the video-gaming contests that have so captured millennial demographic attention.
The publication CDC Gaming reported over the weekend that eSports involvement may soon spread to sports books, pending further direction from state regulators and policymakers.
A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told the publication that the discussion had focused on a simple question: Do e-sports competitions constitute “athletic events?” If so, sports books could start accepting wagers on them right away. If the answer is no, Burnett said, books could still apply for regulatory permission to offer bets on the competitions.
CDC says the state Gaming Policy Committee discussed the eSports issue in May this year and will return to the subject to iron out what Burnett described as "nuances", which he does not believe pose significant obstacles.
“I’m sure that e-sports betting will be up and running in Nevada within the next couple of months, unless the Gaming Policy Committee were to say, no, we think it’s a bad thing, or we think it’s a bad idea to allow wagering on it,” Burnett said.
“The impression I get is that everybody understands it, everyone agrees that the books should be allowed to take bets on it, and we’ll probably move forward.”
Regulators would treat eSports the same way they do other athletic events, according to Burnett.
Wagering on e-sports has become a popular activity in line with the rapid growth of the genre; CDC quotes respected gaming industry analyst Chris Grove who says that this year alone, some 8 million unique players will wager more than $8 billion on international eSports, comparing this with wagers on traditional sports at Nevada sports books, which exceeded $4.2 billion last year.
These numbers include cash betting and wagers using "skins" as currency that can subsequently be converted back to cash in secondary markets outside the operator-developer environment; "skins" are virtual weapons and other items that players can use within a game.
Grove predicts a bright future for eSports betting, which he says is set for substantial growth to $29.8 billion from 15.4 million punters by 2020.
“What we’re going to do is really look hard at whoever is offering the [eSports] tournament or the championship, and assess whether it’s something our books should be able to take bets on or not,” Burnett said. “While we may not allow bets on every single e-sports event, I can certainly think of a couple.”