In a state that’s constantly looking for new things to bet on, Esports may become New Jersey’s next biggest gambling market after lawmakers table bill to legalize betting on Esports events.
New Jersey is a Mid-Atlantic state and shares its borders with New York City. The state is known for its beautiful beaches, lush farms and is home to major pharmaceutical and telecommunications firms in the USA. But that’s not all, New Jersey is also famous for its Atlantic City Boardwalk, the first and longest boardwalk in the world.
Today, several casinos lie along the Atlantic City Boardwalk making it the next biggest gambling hub after Los Angles. Since its legalization, gambling has grown significantly in the state. In 2013 the state passed a bill that allowed casinos to offer gambling services online, and since then there are legal online casinos in New Jersey.
In the month of January, New Jersey recorded a staggering $540 Million worth of bets in sports, highest since the 2018 rule by the Supreme Court that struck down the federal law and legalized betting in sports. New Jersey’s love for gambling has since grown significantly and the state has become the sports betting capital of the USA. Witnessing the growth of gambling in sports it was in the state’s interest to look for more avenues to expand gambling, so now New Jersey is looking to expand into Esports.
Last year Esports raked in over $1 billion in revenues globally with over 640 million viewers worldwide and many experts even claiming the revenue to double within 3 years. The esports market is very lucrative and is relatively new. New Jersey’s pitch to legalize gambling in Esports events will make it the world’s first and the only state to legalize betting in Esports.
New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, And Arts Committee
The New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee had unanimously approved legislation that would permanently allow legal betting on Esports events. The bill now moves to the Speaker for consideration and is expected to be passed soon. The bill was backed by several high profiles from Atlantic City, which has been witnessing a drop in yearly revenues.
While speaking with The Press of Atlantic City, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, one the bill’s primary sponsors and chair of the gaming committee, 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. 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.”
Atlantic City has hosted several Esports tournaments in recent years such as the Gears of War Pro Circuit 2017 and Rainbow Six Siege Pro League event in 2018. In 2019, Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall partnered with INGAME Esports and Caesars Entertainment to hold the Ultimate Gaming Championships Halo Classic tournament, and in June the venue was host to an Overwatch tournament.
The new bill would still prohibit anyone from betting on Esports tournaments that involve high schools but would allow it on college-level teams, similar to the prohibitions that apply to wager on the state’s football, basketball, and other athletic teams.