The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended the approval of regulatory amendments that would permit the public to bet on esports video game competitions. Recommendation came on Wednesday through a 2-0 vote. The board was down a member.
The regulation now goes to the Nevada Gaming Commission for final approval. Should the Commission vote in favor when it meets on January 26, the amendments would take effect immediately, reports Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The rules approved this week are amendments to Regulation 22 – the guidelines for traditional sports wagering. The amendments tweak the regulation to incorporate betting on esports, with sportsbook managers responsible for monitoring and reporting betting irregularities to Control Board authorities.
Just like it does with traditional sports betting, the esports regulation prohibits players, coaches, managers and agents of teams from placing bets. And as expected, sportsbooks also will be required to watch for potential match-fixing patterns.
The regulations were developed by the Esports Technical Advisory Committee, an eight-member panel that began work in March and that delivered proposed amendments to the Control Board in October.
Regulators will monitor how much new wagering business is generated by having esports available to bettors and whether there would be a need for further tweaking the rules, said Wednesday Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela, as reported by Review-Journal.
Further amending could be introduced down the line in regard to the age of competitors and the use of performance-enhancing drugs during competition. The regulations are silent on those topics – some esports teams have players that are younger than 21, the legal age to gamble in Nevada.
While industry leaders and regulators have indicated they aren’t yet sure how much interest esports betting could draw, board member Phil Katsaros said he thought it was good for the state to lead the way in allowing it, being at the forefront of what could be the next gambling trend.
HyperX Arena at Luxor, one of Vegas' esports venues
“What we’re doing here is enacting what I think are responsible and sensible regulations,” Katsaros said, as reported by Review-Journal. “Imagine what Nevada would have looked like if we never availed ourselves of sports betting years ago and only availed ourselves of it in 2018.”
“We would have been flat-footed, a state of 40-plus million visitors a year which would have drawn a lot of focus from other participants in the space. We would have lost all those potential years of experience as well. So I like that we’re not being flat-footed here,” he concluded.
The new regulations come as esports takes hold in Las Vegas, both with regularly scheduled competitions that can be viewed online and tournaments held at venues such as HyperX Arena at Luxor. Other properties, including the MSG Sphere at The Venetian, have indicated a desire to also offer esports competitions.