Sports betting is such a success in the state of New Jersey that lawmakers are seeking to expand the offering. A new bill tabbed A 637 is looking to welcome esports betting in NJ, which is wagering on electronic video game tournaments.
The bill has been unanimously approved by the seven-member Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee. It will go to the Assembly speaker for evaluation.
Esports betting in NJ is on the rise
If betting on video games seems like a foreign concept, take note of how much of a hunger there is worldwide for not only esports but esports betting. It’s one of the fastest-growing segments of the “sports” market. Tournaments for League of Legends, Fortnite and NBA 2K are massive.
Take the Overwatch League, for example, which now has a prize pool of $5 million or the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, which is at $300,000.
There’s a significant appetite from viewers to watch the action.
While it may have started with Twitch, and other online streaming sites, where viewers can watch expert players cut through games, this is now a billion-dollar business. The Luxor in Las Vegas even built an esports stadium.
New Jersey bill pitches esports as skill-based game
Bill A 637 is sponsored by assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), who view this as a skill-based competition that should be available for betting. The goal is to merely expand the current sports betting laws, which makes sense.
After all, it could simply be filed as a new section in sportsbooks. Some books in the US are already offering limited betting on esports. Last year, the Division of Gaming Enforcement allowed wagering on the League of Legends World Championship, though that was a one-time opportunity.
The goal with this bill is to revise current sports betting permits to expand esports fully.
It’ll be interesting to see what the restrictions on esports betting are if and when it is legalized. We’re likely to see some sportsbooks offer up lines but keep the limits low. They probably won’t offer in-game betting either, although that’s something they might work on down the road.
Esports betting in NJ not going anywhere
In New Jersey specifically, there are 17 online and mobile sports betting options for customers to choose from, and they would all likely add esports betting to the menu if lawmakers clear it. For now, the next step is to see what the speaker says, but hopefully, today’s actions bring us closer to esports betting in the Garden State.