Nevada Sportsbooks Cleared to Offer Esports Odds Without Receiving Event Approval

Posted on: October 20, 2023, 07:57h. 

Last updated on: October 20, 2023, 11:41h.

Nevada sportsbooks no longer have to petition state gaming regulators on an event-by-event basis to include esports on their boards.

Nevada sportsbooks esports betting
The inside of the HyperX esports arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada sportsbooks can now more easily include esports odds on sanctioned tournaments. (Image: Allied Sports)

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday approved regulations developed by the state’s Esports Technical Advisory Committee and recommended by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

The regulation, formally 2022-07R, “explicitly” includes esports within other sporting events. The rule allows sportsbooks to accept wagers on esports in the same manner as traditional sporting events.

The sports betting expansion of permissible events assumes each licensed sportsbook will “fulfill certain due diligence requirements” as mandated as a condition of its holding of a sports wagering license.

“The regulations are very important to our industry,” said NGCB member Dr. Brittnie Watkins. “These amendments have been a long time in coming, and it’s my belief they will help promote and increase the volume of wagers. They’re in line with our policy goals of promoting the success of gaming.”

The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) unanimously adopted 2022-07R on Thursday after the three-member agency made a small adjustment to the regulation.

Doping Component Ditched

Prior to the NGC approving the esports betting regulation, oddsmakers wishing to include wagering on an event like the “League of Legends World Championship” had to file a request for inclusion with state gaming regulators. Those requests required man-hours from sportsbooks and added unnecessary workloads, the Esports Technical Advisory Committee determined.

Now, Nevada sportsbooks can swiftly place a sanctioned esports tournament on their boards.

The NGC agreed with the NGCB and the state’s esports experts in thinking that oddsmakers are adequately skilled in determining if an esports event meets the criteria for legal betting. The commission, however, didn’t agree to include a recommended provision on doping.

The NGCB had suggested that sportsbooks be required to reach out to an esports organizer to ensure that the tournament has doping provisions in place. The commission believed that requirement, which would keep sportsbook staff occupied with busy work in communicating with event organizers, could result in fewer esports events going on the books, and would therefore repress betting.

“It’s a nice idea, but logistically, financially, and practically, it’s very difficult,” said Commission Chair Jennifer Togliatti.

Esports By the Numbers

Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a big industry in the U.S., and is only forecast to balloon in the coming years.

Chicago-based Cognitive Market Research concluded earlier this year that the esports market will grow from about $1.5 billion to nearly $4.5 billion by 20230, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) surging about 18% during that time frame.

Researchers cited major esports players like Microsoft’s Xbox “entering into partnerships in order to support and expand their operations in the esports business” as a reason for the lofty projections. New technology that allows esports to be played on additional products is also expected to grow the market.

Over the last few years, there has been a rapid increase in smart device adoption and internet penetration. Smart devices offer flexibility to customers on a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. With these devices, users are simply able to access several esports through apps and websites,” the research report detailed.

“As online gaming and associated activities gain traction, the esports market is expected to see a considerable increase in income. The popularity of these games has surged with the introduction of various applications and websites. People are attracted to esports attributed to various reasons. The primary reason for this is that players can win real money. Some players even make a full-time career by joining competitions. Similarly, key players are participating in a variety of measures to increase player numbers,” the study added.