The US state of New Jersey has taken a major step to integrate the burgeoning eSports industry into its vibrant betting market. The Garden State’s legislature voted to pass a bipartisan bill (A637) which would legalize eSports betting within New Jersey’s regulated industry. The A637 bill was unofficially known among eSports professionals and NJ-based sportsbooks as the eSports Betting Bill.
The eSports Betting Bill has generated a wealth of interest and excitement among the US eSports sector since the bill was revealed back in January 2020. The bill is a revision and an expansion of New Jersey’s existing legislation on licensed sports betting, including eSports as a new ‘sport’ that can be wagered on and offline by NJ-based residents.
The New Jersey Assembly passed the A637 bill unanimously last summer, with the bill making its way to the Senate earlier this month. The eSports Betting Bill was roundly approved by the Senate too, granting sportsbook operators authorization to accept wagers on all kinds of eSports markets and events. It’s a seismic move for the US sports betting scene, having sought to follow suit with the regulated UK sports betting market which has permitted eSports wagering for some time. Bet365, which is one of the recommended operators for sign-up promotions in the UK market, regularly live streams eSports events for its customers.
As of now, sportsbooks serving the New Jersey sports betting market will be permitted to accept wagers of up to $100, with maximum potential winnings of $500. Although this might seem like an unnecessarily strict ceiling, this could be extended or even removed depending on the view of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
Prior to the A637 bill, sportsbooks located in New Jersey were allowed to take bets on eSports, but only with state regulatory approval. The DGE first approved legal eSports betting in the fall of 2019, when Atlantic City-based Borgata Casino took the state’s first licensed eSports wagers after running a book for the League of Legends World Championship finals. The Garden State went further still to accelerate the economic potential for eSports betting in New Jersey thanks to the collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Since 2020, the NJEDA has worked in tandem with stakeholders within the NJ-based sports betting industry to promote eSports activity and betting.
Where else can you legally bet on eSports in the US?
Following the repeal of the PASPA, New Jersey has become one of several US states to fully legalize eSports betting markets. Unsurprisingly, Nevada – home to the “Sin City” of Las Vegas – has deemed eSports betting to be legal, as have the states of Tennessee and West Virginia. Further states such as Maine are also discussing new legislation to specifically permit eSports…
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