Esports Law: New Jersey Says Yay To Traditional Sports Betting But Not Esports Betting

Jun 25, 2018

sports betting law in NJ may exclude esports The eSports betting saga continues. We’re in the third act, yet things remain ambiguous. How did we get here and what do we know so far?  Spoilers ahead.

SCOTUS Overturns Sports Betting Bill, But Esports May Lose Out

The Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which effectively banned sports gambling. Esports betting sites could practically taste the profits. But, as it turns out, for them, this was only a battle; the war is not yet won.

You see, gambling-friendly New Jersey had several legislators on standby with a bill to legalize sports betting in the event SCOTUS killed PASPA.   But on the eve of the ruling, those very legislators made a last minute alteration to the bill: exclude esports betting outfits.

Last Minute Change To NJ Sports Betting Bill Clobbers Esports Betting

The section now reads: “A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants.”

New Jersey legislators have yet to comment on the law’s new wording.  It does, however, leave some wiggle room for esports betting companies.  Many leagues have international teams with players over 18.  For example, the League of Legends Championship participants must be at least 17, plus it’s an international event. So, despite the bill’s provision, people will likely find a loophole.

Esports Rising Globally May Force The Issue Stateside

Esports are on the rise.  Analysts predict it will be a $1.65 billion industry within a few short years.  Viewership numbers are expected to double that of the NFL; and as such, esports betting is inevitable.

Besides, online bookmakers out of the UK now have esports sections that allow for in-play tournament wagers for Overwatch, League of Legends, and Dota 2.

Don’t forget: legalized gambling often translates into profits and economic growth. So, if the rest of the world starts cashing in, stateside lawmakers may need to re-evaluate how certain policies are corroding the country’s competitive edge when it comes to emerging digital industries.

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Gordon Law Group works with teams, athletes, sponsors, and esports-adjacent businesses on everything from contract negotiations to intellectual property matters. We also assist with compliance matters, and, if need be, litigation.

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