So far, one of the biggest sports and gambling stories of the year has been the United States Supreme Court ruling pertaining to the legality of sports betting. By striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the court paved the way for sports betting in the country.
However, while we now know that states are going to have the final say about whether or not to legalize sports betting, even in states where there is a lot of pro-sports betting discussions Esports betting still lingers in limbo. New Jersey has become the first state to speak out on this issue but, unfortunately, the state’s stance on Esports betting is not very reassuring.
The New Jersey state legislature this week introduced a bill that calls for a ban on betting on professional gaming and Esports events. To put this into perspective, the bill’s synopsis says that the law “allows wagering at casinos and racetracks on certain professional and collegiate sports or athletic events,” but it also defines “all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games” as “prohibited sports events.”
On the brighter side, this ban will not apply to international Esports events where half of the participants are over 18. Still, these limitations have caused an immediate reaction from some of the proponents of the competitive electronic video gaming field one of the most vocal being Bryce Blum, an Esports attorney. The ESG Law founding partner took to Twitter to share his concerns:
“NJ’s sports betting law excludes ALL esports events unless they are (1) international and (2) more than 50% of players are over 18.
The law treats esports the same as high school sports, which is actually insane. Obvious problem w/ ppl regulating something they don’t understand. pic.twitter.com/WbzcULETph”
“This is a perfect example of why I fear any form of regulation surrounding esports.
Here are the bill’s sponsors – do they look like esports experts to you?
You cannot effectively regulate what you don’t understand. This could be just the tip of the iceberg. pic.twitter.com/rL8O0qvXm7”
Esports Betting Was Just in the Line of Fire
Apparently, the bill was not specifically meant to target Esports and thus there is a certainty that the topic will be discussed and analyzed explicitly in the coming weeks in order to clear things out. One of the major concerns emanates from the fact that bettors are allowed to bet on overseas events such as League of Legends European LCS, but are prohibited from betting on the outcomes of local Counter-Striker tournaments.
Being at its earlier stages, the bill’s wording is certainly still very vague and its full implications are yet to be fully thought through. As such, with the apparent localization of the bill’s effect and its vague nature, it remains to be seen how exactly it will change the Esports status quo both in New Jersey and the United States as a whole.