Nevada: Committee passes regulatory esports betting proposal

Nevada's Esports Technical Advisory Committee has voted to forward a regulatory esports betting proposal to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission. The eight-member committee, tasked with guiding the board on developing regulations for wagering on esports, recommended Monday amendments to Regulation 22, the board’s regulation overseeing race books and sports pools.

If adopted by the board and commission, the amendment would allow bettors in Nevada to wager on a variety of video game competitions staged online or in Nevada venues. The committee has been working since March to draft a regulatory framework to allow sportsbooks to take bets on these events, but decided early on that it preferred to amend the race and sports pools regulation instead of drafting a separate set of rules for esports.

Since its first meeting in March, the committee took testimony from several experts in the field to determine the best way to maintain integrity in competitions. The final draft approved on Monday gives sportsbooks the flexibility to take wagers on events while also giving the Gaming Control Board chairman the ability to step in and prevent books from taking wagers on events that have had “a questionable past,” Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. 

Paul Hamilton, chair of the Esports Technical Advisory Committee.

The amendment grants the chair the authority to issue an interlocutory order prohibiting books from accepting wagers on events conducted by an event operator. It also addresses the building of a list sanctioning organizations. 

“Whether or not a book has notified the chair of the book accepting wagers on events conducted by an event operator, the chair may place an event operator on the list of sanctioning organizations,” it reads. “However, a book shall continue to monitor the integrity of events on which it accepts wagers and continue to follow all other requirements regarding wagers.”

The board is expected to develop a list of sanctioning organizations that have conducted trouble-free events for faster and easier approval of wagering on upcoming tournaments, the cited news source reported.

Brett Abarbanel, Member of the Esports Technical Advisory Committee.

The amendment establishes that “a sportsbook may accept wagers on an esports event without the approval required… if the book obtains complete information about the video game used for the event, including… the publisher of the video game…”

Like wagering on traditional sporting events, esports wagering will require events to be effectively supervised, have effective integrity standards in place, have verifiable outcomes, have outcomes generated by a reliable and independent process, have outcomes unlikely to be affected by any wager placed, and be in compliance with all applicable laws and public policy.

Sportsbooks would be required to maintain records of esports wagering and results as well as send quarterly reports to the Control Board on accepted wagers. The Control Board and commission are expected to consider the amendment at future meetings, possibly in November. Committee members offered to continue to assist the board as the list of sanctioned operators grows. 

The boom around esports could prove to be a profitable endeavor for Las Vegas, with the gambling mecca ready to tap into the potential of this vertical. From a small niche, esports has now developed into a sizeable industry; a billion-dollar business that is now attracting many investors. According to data cited by Uplatform, the sector's rapid growth has seen the worldwide esports audience size reach 474 million viewers, and is projected to gain over 577 million viewers by 2024.

And as the esports market and economy grow, with more fans but also more corporate sponsors and content creators joining the landscape, Las Vegas is starting to realize this opportunity can drive visitors to the destination.

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