A Nevada lawmaker is drafting a bill that could create the country’s first regulatory body for esports.
The Republican Senator envisions a “light touch” state oversight group like the Nevada Athletic Commission, which oversees combat sports such as mixed martial arts and boxing through licensure and sanctions. Following the NAC example, Kieckhefer wants to create “clean and fair” competitions, besides bringing untapped revenue opportunities for the state. However, the bill is not made public as the Senator said the draft will be ready to present during the ongoing session, which began February 1. The deadline to file the bill is in mid-March.
According to the lawmaker, the Silver State has the chance to become a global leader in esports. “I think the general consensus now is that the time has arrived for something like this,” Kieckhefer said.
The Senator’s plan is big, and the proposed legislation would create a body with jurisdiction beyond state borders, regulating competitive video gaming across all titles and everywhere in the country. Esports regulation could offer “greater stability and security” for the new industry, which is already popular in the US. The lawmaker believes the move will attract esports leagues to host their competitions in Las Vegas, drawing thousands as they did during the pre-pandemic times.
While reiterating the significance of the bill, Kieckhefer said the athletic commission’s “success stories with UFC”, as well as other events, exemplify the value of a “friendly regulatory agency” in order to provide greater stability and security.
No New Idea
Though Kieckhefer extended a striking idea, he was not the first one to do so. Before him, the idea was presented by former Gaming Control Board chair A.G. Burnett not so long ago. Burnett too believed that regulated esports could pull tourism for the state as it would help legitimize the industry, besides helping with visas and travel. In addition, the regulatory body would host various esports events. However, when the idea was first floated a few years back, it did not receive much attention.
Since proposing the idea himself, Burnett passed the thought on to Kieckhefer. It makes sense to reexplore the idea in order to bring visitors back to the Sin City in a post-pandemic world, Burnett said. Creating a regulatory commission that registers players, formulates competitive rules, and levels the playing field would further legitimize and regulate esports as an industry, Burnet added.
Vegas to Become Esports Capital
Although Kieckhefer asserts that the bill wouldn’t touch gambling, Milo Ocampo, founder of 8-Bit Esports, considers a regulatory commission as “the best possible step” for standardizing esports betting. Ocampo believes the potential for betting could potentially make Las Vegas the “esports capital of North America.”
While reiterating his stance, Ocampo said he truly believes Vegas, with its rich history, would be the only city that makes sense. He referred to Allegiant Stadium, a 65,000-seat venue, as a “missing piece” of infrastructure capable of holding huge events like the League of Legends World Championships. Ocampo asserted that a commission would give Sin City its biggest advantage yet, as no other state has one.
Esports targets young demographics specifically with lots of quick income, which Nevada wants due to its economic downturn.