Recently, New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo introduced legislation that would allow New Jersey sportsbooks, on a permanent basis, to take bets on esports events. The sports betting operators in the Garden State would be allowed to take wagers on esports events, but they will have to get permission to do so on a case-by-case basis from the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
New Jersey was proactive in bringing esports into the betting fold, taking wagers on the November 2019 League of Legends World Championship Final.
Caputo is under the belief that the opportunity for expansion is there in terms of esports betting and New Jersey sportsbooks. He stated, “With online sports betting now legal in our state and a rapidly expanding esports industry already in existence, the time is right for New Jersey to expand legal wagering beyond traditional sports,”
Caputo is the chair of the Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, which recently had a session about Bill A637, which has the language of esports in it. At the session, Caputo said, “I would say esports are the ‘next big thing’ when it comes to sporting events, but the fact of the matter is that video game tournaments are already a prominent form of skill-based competition.”
He went onto say, “Throughout the country and the world, video game enthusiasts are flocking to see expert players compete in all kinds of digital games. Whether they follow along online or in person, hundreds of millions of people watch esports each year – and that number is only growing.”
Bill A637 Information
Bill A637 is not solely about esports but allows for legal betting in New Jersey on other types of events where it is still involved. In terms of skill, there are even competitive eating contests, which would be covered by the bill.
It is a requirement of the Division of Gaming Enforcement that it constructs a regulatory framework for events such as esports. However, the bill does specify that there is a place-over rule that bets for that event have a $100 limit or a $500 limit win.
Wagering on any esports event where most of the players are under 18 years old would be illegal.
Esports Betting Demand
In terms of the November 2019 League of Legends Tournament, the handle that New Jersey sportsbooks took in was not significant. However, there was very short notice that the books would be taking wagers for that event, and there seems to be a demand for bettors to make wagers on esports.
Newzoo is a research firm, and it reported in 2019, the revenue from esports should be in excess of $1 billion for the first time this year. According to the report, the United States would earn the lion’s share of that revenue to the tune of $400 million. Newzoo also forecasted that esports revenue would have a yearly increase of nine percent through 2022.
The Sky Is The Limit In The US
Quintin Martin is the COO of Luckbox, which is a sports wagering operator that is based in the Isle of Man, and he stated that the wagering for esports in the United States could be huge.
He said, “The US is a huge percentage of the global esports market, and with so many fans residing there, it is inevitable that betting will grow.” He added, “My favorite stat is that 18- to 25-year-olds watch more computer games than traditional sports. This is the future.”
How Will The New Jersey Bill For Esports Unfold?
Bill Pascrell is a lobbyist with Princeton Public Affairs Group, and he recently came out and stated that support for the esports bill was there, and he liked the chances of that bill being passed in New Jersey in 2020. He said, “New Jersey will continue to be the lead on this, just as it was with online poker, casino and sports betting.”
It was 2019 when sports betting was legal in New Jersey for the first full year. The handle for sports betting in the state last year was in excess of $550 million, and with the rapidly growing esports industry possibly added to the fray, that will only increase sports betting revenue in the Garden State.