New Jersey Puts $200,000 on Turning AC into Esports Epicenter

New Jersey is looking to expand into esports with the state’s blessing as the competitive video gaming industry presents new opportunities for the economy.

New Jersey Wants to Transform Into a National Hub for Esports 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has greenlighted a $200,000 payment to the Stockton University for a new Esports Innovation Center. The initiative targets Atlantic City as a future “epicenter” and a national hub for esports through various initiatives and economic opportunities.

As per the memorandum of understanding signed with the university on Tuesday, NJEDA will provide the funding and secure additional staffing resources as a way to back the initiative. The Esports Innovation Center itself will focus on a range of matters, including the standardization of the esports betting industry in the Garden State.

Esports has been a viable betting market in other states, such as Nevada, but events have been mostly controlled by the NGCB. The gaming regulator has been particular as to what events may be bet on and what may not. In a similar vein, the New Jersey project will aim to help the watchdog identify viable markets. There has been some movement on legalizing esports betting in New Jersey already, though.

Beyond esports betting, the project will seek to promote technological innovation, assist with workforce development and close gender inequality in the industry, a problem that has persisted for some time. It will also work for greater inclusion of all social groups into esports. The DGE will assist the Esports Innovation Center by working on policies that can be then put into a regulatory framework.

Fresh Opportunities for Esports Jobs

The goal behind the Esports Innovation Center is not just to regulate esports betting, though. The approach is much more comprehensive, and the NJEDA hopes to bring around economic development resulting from esports. Essentially, the state expects to see the creation of new high-quality and well-paying jobs for anyone from software engineers to any associated jobs that go with esports. 

Esports’ footprint in the Garden State can benefit from academic support, says Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, who believes in the economic potential that esports bring along with them. The $200,000 allocated to the project will be allocated to the director, who will be responsible for making the facility successful, and to supporting operating costs.

Whoever steps to the helm of the facility will have to give it a further push. The center will operate as a not-for-profit organization and, as such, it will need to meet certain standards. A board of directions will be appointed so as to make calls on important decisions that concern the development of the esports ecosystem in Atlantic City and New Jersey as a whole. 

New Jersey Continues to Elicit Esports Investment

The Esports Innovation Center is not the first time that companies and the state have invested in the local esports ecosystem. Numerous companies have been pushing for more exposure in New Jersey and Esports Entertainment Group secured a license to enter the state earlier this year. Stockton University also hopes to introduce more companies as partners to the Esports Innovation Center and involve them in the activities supported by the facility. 

More investment has come from the likes of Twitch and G3 Esports, all pushing for a more sustainable local ecosystem. The esports jobs market has been growing as well, with a lot of the jobs located in the Garden State, according to Hitmarker, a platform that tracks esports career opportunities.

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