Esports betting is coming to New Jersey. If the bill pushes through, it expands the betting opportunities available to NJ players and can help boost state coffers.
The New Jersey gambling industry is considered one of the most liberal in the United States. With the legalization of in-person and online sports betting in 2018, the state opened up betting and casino games to the general population. It also paved the way for a highly lucrative business which boosted state coffers. Today’s gambling industry is worth $4.58 billion (2019), and the majority of the amount is wagered online.
Now, the industry is expected to get a boost thanks to a new plan to legalize betting on esports tournaments. Sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), it calls for legal esports betting under the state’s 2018 sports-gaming law. And because it has partisan support, it’s only a matter of time before New Jersey welcomes esports games to its fold.
Betting on the ‘Next Best Thing’
Esports, and particularly betting on League of Legends, is on the rise, and it is changing the way enthusiasts place their bets. And the majority of the stakeholders in the state are looking to tap into the emerging popularity of esports competitions. According to Caputo, they’re trying to bring esports into the mainstream just like what they did to sports betting.
He further added that by acting on this trend, New Jersey will retain its leadership in the highly fluid sports betting industry. Esports and betting are ‘the next big thing’ in the business, and now is the best time to codify the rules according to Caputo.
New Jersey Explored Bets on League of Legends in 2019
This is not the first time that the state dabbled in esports betting. Last year, state sportsbooks accepted bets thanks to the one-time waiver given by the DGE, New Jersey’s gambling regulator. During this time, sportsbooks offered odds for the League of Legends World Championship final between G2 esports and FunPlus. Under the arrangement, bettors could bet up to $1,000 with no in-play bets arranged. During this one-time esports betting event, FPX won the championship with a score of 3-0 thus cementing their reputation as the best team in the world.
Esports betting is rare and not
yet fully accepted in the US. Although
bets are placed in Nevada, the majority of the
sportsbooks have hesitated in providing odds for many tournaments. And if the
bill gets certified, New Jersey becomes the first jurisdiction, other than Nevada, to
offer to bets for esports.
A bipartisan bill that compliments existing state gambling policies
The bill is set to be discussed in the State House this week and it’s expected to follow the general guidelines specified in the 2018 sports gambling law. For this bill to pass, it should comply with the standards set forth by the DGE. Also, the bill requires that no bets from underage players are accepted and esports tournaments managed by high schools are not included.
While no votes were taken, there’s a bipartisan support for the measure. State House members are keen on continuing the leadership role of New Jersey in sports betting and in the words of Assemblyman Caputo, ‘the time is right to expand legal wagering beyond traditional sports’.