Senator Drafts a Bill to Create First US Esports Regulatory Body

Republican lawmaker Ben Kieckhefer has introduced a bill to create a body regulating the rapidly emerging esports industry.

Executive Director and Three Members in the Commission

Senator Ben Kieckhefer has introduced a bill to create the Nevada Esports Commission, which will regulate esports events with prizes of more than $1000. Thus, Nevada could become the first state to create a governing body for the flourishing esports market under the proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 165 has been heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the authority is yet to take action on the bill. The document defines the term “Esports” as a contest of multiple players using video games. Kieckhefer’s ambition is the new governing body to go beyond the state’s borders and to regulate all video game titles.

The Nevada Esports Commission would be similar to the Nevada Athletic Commission, which governs boxing and mixed martial arts, and would consist of three members and an executive director appointed by the governor. The new authority would be created within the Nevada Department of Business and Industry.

Nevada Could Become US Leader in Esports

Players will be obliged to register before participating in any event with a reward exceeding $1,000. If the bill is approved, it will come into effect as of January 1, 2022.

“We can work with the industry to help them solve their problems and create a stable foundation for them to feel safe and happy in Las Vegas. I want them to know that the government here respects them, wants them to be here so that they set up shop here, operate here, create jobs in our community.”

The global esports industry features more than $1 billion in terms of revenue and an audience of above 443 million people, according to Forbes. If esports maintains its growth pace, it might become the number-one market in the world.

Although the bill does not deal with gambling, Milo Ocampo, founder of 8-Bit Esports, says that the regulatory body is a step toward standardized esports betting.

Former Gaming Control Board chair A.G. Burnett was the first one to propose the creation of an esports regulatory body to state government officials a few years ago. However, it did not gain much attention at that time.

Afterward, he discussed the idea with Kieckhefer, who is also the director of client relations at Nevada-based business law firm McDonald Carano, where Burnett is a partner. Both have agreed the proposal seems more plausible now as a way to revive the economy of Las Vegas in a post-pandemic world.

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