Gov. Brian Sandoval Signs into Law a Nevada eSports Betting Bill

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently signed an electronic sports bill that legalizes eSports betting events in the state. The bill extends the current Nevada sports wagering laws to include eSports betting events. The new law takes effect on July 1.

Senate Bill 240 passed in the Nevada legislature by wide margins. SB 240 amends Nevada statutes which deal with pari-mutuel betting systems having to do with a wide variety of “competitive gaming”, including proposition bets on pop culture events like the Academy Awards.

Becky Harris Sponsored Esports Bill

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Becky Harris. Nevada Senate searings were held on March 23 to discuss the potential new law. Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, an eSports competitor (FPS champion) and notable entrepreneur, was called as a reference for the eSports community. In the hearings, Johnathan Wendel described his training regimen for the eSports, which helped establish that electronic sports competitions deserve to be considered alongside other athletic competitions, according to Focus Gaming News.

Though “eSports” is not mentioned specifically in SB 240, the gaming media has taken to calling the new law “the eSports betting bill”. The only reference to electronic sports is the term “other events”, which describes a wide range of activities, including horse racing, dog racing, and athletic sporting events.

Senate Bill 240’s Policies

Under terms of the law, the Nevada Gaming Commission can issue a gaming license permitting pari-mutuel wagering, as well as off-track peri-mutual wagering, to new potential license holders. Regulators have the authority to appoint a special panel, an 11-person “Off-Track Pari-Mutuel Wagering Committee“, to provide oversight and licensing to these new off-track pari-mutuel wagering outfits.

License applicants might be required to be fingerprinted. Also, they’ll need to pass a background check, to determine they have the proper character, habits, and “antecedents” (associations). The statute says, “The Nevada Gaming Commission shall, and it is granted the power to, demand access to and inspect all books and records of any person licensed pursuant to this chapter pertaining to and affecting the subject of the license.

Previously, Nevada’s lawmakers had made it legal to bet on organized video game competitions while inside Nevada casinos’ sportsbooks. Gov. Sandoval’s signature on the new law expands eSports gambling to off-track pari-mutuel betting venues throughout the state, which is a major victory for eSports websites like Unikrn in the state. Betting on eSports remains illegal everywhere in the United States except Nevada, though.

Esports Events in T-Mobile Arena

A.G. Burnett, the current chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said he would like to see eSports competitions held at T-Mobile Arena, the site of UFC fights, major concerts, and the expansion NHL franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Esports competitions are held in arenas throughout the world, especially in China, with thousands of fans attending and cheering on the competitors.

These events are live streamed on Twitch and later posted to YouTube, collecting a wide audience on both platforms. Broadcasts have all the earmarks of sports programming, from play-by-play announcers, color commentators, and expert pre-game and post-game analysis from a studio crew.

Popular eSports Betting Sites

In the United Kingdom, it is legal to wager on organized eSports tournaments. The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Gambling Commission, testifying to the integrity of such games. Dedicated eSports-only betting sites like Tipbet, GG.Bet, #OneHash, and Arcanebet exist for gamblers. Also, traditional gaming sites like Bet365, Unibet, LeoVegas, Betway, Betsson, and Mr Green allow eSports betting on their sites.

William Hill plc partnered with Downtown Grand Casino in November 2016 to build an eSports studio in the Las Vegas casino. At the time, the Downtown Grand was the only sportsbook with eSports in the United States. It would appear others are likely to appear in Nevada, while William Hill USA is certain to include eSports gambling in its 108 locations across Nevada

Why Bet on eSports?

Already, other eSports betting pavilions are being built in the Las Vegas area. Gaming analysts believe eSports betting will appeal to millennial gamblers more than other forms of sports betting, because millennials can put their years of electronic gaming expertise to use. For a generation who grew up playing games on smartphones, laptops, and video game consoles, eSports is a more natural and entertaining way to bet.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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