Esports Betting Expands In US Beyond Nevada For First Time

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Esports betting is officially live in New Jersey, although sportsbooks have only taken action on one event so far: the League of Legends World Championship Final.

The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement notified sports betting operators that they could accept bets on the event. FunPlus Phoenix beat G2 Esports on Sunday.

EGR North America first reported the news.

MGM Resorts’ Borgata officially took the first land-based bet on Thursday. FanDuel Sportsbook became the first sportsbook to offer esports betting, the company said.

FanDuel’s esports offering extends beyond New Jersey to Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well.

BetMGM, 888 Sport, Resorts Digital and Unibet all accepted bets online in New Jersey as well.

There will likely be more events approved, including the potential for the ones that take place in the state. Atlantic City will play host to an Overwatch tournament in June at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

Will esports matter to sportsbooks?

It’s still unclear how much of an impact esports betting will have on overall sports betting figures.

For instance, Nevada allows betting on esports, but that doesn’t mean there’s demand. In fact, just three events have been approved for betting in the state over the last two years.

But there’s no doubt esports is a lucrative market. The research firm Newzoo reported in February esports revenue should surpass $1 billion for the first time this year. North America should account for $400 million of that, according to the report.

Newzoo forecasts revenue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% through 2022.

Integrity concerns for esports

One of the issues with esports is its history of match-fixing.

John Holden detailed some of the more notorious examples for Legal Sports Report, including one example from earlier this summer involving six Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players in Australia.

But it isn’t just match-fixing that can be a concern. In September, there was a fairly high-profile issue concerning a member of the NBA’s 2K League. 

Basil “24K Dropoff” Rose was banned from the league after he provided inside information to a person he knew was gambling on NBA 2K League games.