Nevada Esports Betting Event Changes Cleared

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Nevada’s sportsbooks have been given the green light to offer esports odds. They can now do so without needing to seek event approval from state gaming regulators.

This week, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved regulations developed by the state’s Esports Technical Advisory Committee and recommended by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

Esports events now consider Las Vegas a prime destination for events, and even the famous Nevada casino venues of the Las Vegas Strip have been getting in on the act. The Luxor casino resort opened the HyperX Arena Las Vegas (pictured) in 2019, and it has regularly hosted high-profile esports gaming tournaments since then.

The new regulation, formally known as 2022-07R, explicitly includes esports within other sporting events. This means that Nevada retail sportsbooks can now offer esports betting in the same manner as traditional sporting events. That’s provided they fulfill certain due diligence requirements as mandated by their sports wagering license.

“These amendments have been a long time in coming, and it’s my belief they will help promote and increase the volume of wagers. They’re in line with our policy goals of promoting the success of gaming,” said NGCB representative Dr. Brittnie Watkins, speaking at the meeting on Tuesday.

Doping Component Ditched

Interestingly, the Nevada Gaming Commission decided not to include a recommended provision on doping. The NGCB had suggested that sportsbooks be required to reach out to esports organizers to ensure that the tournament has doping provisions in place. However, the commission believed that this requirement could result in fewer esports events being offered for betting.

This point was made before the Commission by esports trade association representatives from the Entertainment Software Association.

“The antidoping requirement is both unnecessary and will have the effect of making most esports tournaments ineligible for wagering, as most event operators see antidoping measures to be cost prohibitive,” said Tara Ryan, vice president of the Association.

Some regulatory figures had suggested that Adderall, the stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD, may be of a concern to the esports industry. However, the lack of studies into the matter to determine how much of a problem it is means many esports event organizers consider it a low priority.

“There is a lack of empirical evidence that any particular substance confers a material performance enhancing benefit to esports players,” Ryan said. “Absent such a showing, it is unnecessary to impose programmatic requirements related to those substances.”

Esports Still a Growing Market

Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a rapidly growing industry in the U.S., with projections indicating that the market will grow from about $1.5 billion to nearly $4.5 billion by 2030.

Some 240 million people follow at least one esport globally, and esports betting remains popular – if not as huge as some were predicting pre-pandemic.

Major esports players like Microsoft’s Xbox are entering into partnerships to support and expand their operations in the esports business, and other Las Vegas venues have expressed interest in holding esports events. Sphere Entertainment, the operator behind Sin City’s latest marvel, The Las Vegas Sphere, has said it may include esports events in its calendar in 2024.

Related: The best online sportsbooks in Nevada, rated and reviewed

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