New Jersey Lawmakers Keen to Expand Wagering on Esports

  • Bipartisan bill added to the New Jersey State House would legalize esports gambling
  • Wagers would be accepted as long as competitors were at least 18 years old
  • Definition of what types of non-traditional sports contests can be bet on deemed unclear
  • New Jersey sportsbooks trialed esports gambling over one weekend in 2019
Counter Strike: Global Offensive esports event
Lawmakers are set to discuss a bipartisan bill added to the New Jersey State House that would expand wagering on esports. [Image:]

Bill added for consideration

Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering legislation that would result in the state’s sportsbooks being allowed to accept wagers on esports events. Under these proposals, there will be little to no restrictions in place.

A bipartisan bill was added to the New Jersey State House on January 28 calling for wagering on esports to be legalized. One of the bill’s restrictions is that no wagers can be placed on esports events involving competitors under the age of 18.

bipartisan bill was added to the New Jersey State House on January 28

The bill also states that no wagers would be allowed on events organized by high schools. This set of proposals is very similar to those in place for the existing sports betting sector in the state.

Response to bipartisan bill

Discussions for this bipartisan bill proposal took place during a Tourism, Gaming & Arts Committee meeting. With the esports sector rapidly growing, lawmakers want to ensure that New Jersey gains a strong foothold in the market.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said: “With online sports betting now legal in our state and a rapidly expanding esports industry already in existence, the time is right for New Jersey to expand legal wagering beyond traditional sports.”

He went on to speak about how video game events are now a very large part of skill-based competitions these days.

Inspecting the finer details

There were a few other minor aspects of this bill proposal that do not directly relate to esports. The bill includes a call for an expansion to the rules of what classifies an event as a sporting contest. 

The legislation calls for a more broad definition that will see the immediate allowance for betting on

any skill-based attraction, including awards competitions and competitive eating contests.”

The responsibility of ensuring that these types of non-traditional sporting events have proper systems in place to protect the integrity of these contests will be given to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

This authority has the ability to enforce a max bet limit of $100 or a win limit of $500 if these types of protective systems are not properly in place.

Esports betting trial was a success

New Jersey sportsbooks have already enjoyed a trial period that allowed wagering on a popular esports event.

Sportsbooks in the state were given permission to accept wagers on the 2019 League of Legends Worlds Championships. A max bet of $1,000 was enforced and no live markets were allowed.

With the exception of Nevada, none of the other states in the US with legal sports betting currently offers esports betting. However, it is a part of most major European sportsbook offerings. While revenue from esports gambling is relatively small compared to other markets, there has been a massive growth in the number of people placing bets on these events.

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