Can You Bet On Esports In Las Vegas?

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People have been able to bet on sports in Nevada for longer than every state in the US.

They were even the first state to legalize sports betting back in 1949.

But can you bet on eSports in Las Vegas?

Read on to find out. 

Nevada Esports Betting Laws

Sportsbooks in Nevada can cover a wide range of betting markets, albeit with a few exceptions.

The sportsbooks aren’t legally required to ask permission to take such bets.

But this not the case for eSports.

Sportsbooks in Nevada must gain permission from the state before they can offer eSports betting lines.

After a discussion between former Nevada Gov. Brain Sandoval and a committee on the topic of eSports betting back in 2016, they all agreed to place it into the “other” category.

All bets that fall in the “other” category must gain permission from the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Only then can sportsbooks release the betting lines.

So, in short, sportsbooks in Las Vegas need the all clear before they can allow eSports betting.

Can You Bet On Esports Online In Nevada?

Nevada is very liberal in its approach to gambling in land-based casinos.

You’re spoilt for choice; the number of casinos and sportsbooks is staggering.

But when it comes to betting online, things aren’t quite the same.

Online poker is the only legal form of online gambling in Nevada.

All other forms of online gambling is illegal, including sports betting.

Since online sports betting is illegal, online eSports betting is also considered illegal.

There’s always the option to use unregulated betting sites in Nevada to bet online, but these are not approved by the state government.

Esports Betting Availability

There have only been a few eSports events approved in Nevada.

According to Karle Bennison of the Control Board’s Enforcement Division, the state had approved just three contents.

From this, it seems that the sportsbooks aren’t in a hurry to get eSports betting to their customers.

They rely on more traditional sports like the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc to make their money instead.

To make things more annoying for the people of Las Vegas looking to bet on eSports, there isn’t a neighboring state that can facilitate this need either.

So what’s holding it all back?

Well, several panelists from Nevada’s Gaming Enforcement Division note several factors, one of which being that sportsbooks don’t quite know how to monetize eSports betting.

This comes from Las Vegas attorney Jeff Silver, who said, “The fact of the matter is that the casino people want to know a way to monetize this particular interest that the 19 through 35-year-old customers of the casino might have in this particular activity.”

Another factor is that a good number of eSports fans are under 21 years of age.

Therefore, they are not legally allowed to gamble in the state of Nevada, no matter what they want to bet on.

legal gambling age in las vegas

On the other hand, the hardcore fans of traditional live sports are over 21 years of age.

Further, according to former Gaming Control Board Chair Becky Harris, eSport event sponsors must describe their contests in great detail to ensure the integrity is not compromised.

The Potential Of Esports Betting In Nevada

As you will have noticed, Las Vegas and, generally, the state of Nevada haven’t embraced eSports betting as much as you may have initially thought.

But this could easily change in the future.

As you may have seen from our previous eSports betting for beginners post, reports show that the eSports industry is expected to be worth over $17 billion by the end of 2020.

That’s a lot of money that Vegas would want a piece of.

But Nevada won’t be alone to jump in and take advantage.

When they see other states benefiting from betting on eSports, it won’t be long before they loosen the regulations.

Esports Betting In The US

Sports betting is legal in 18 states as it stands, with bills passed to legalize it in another five.

But some of these states are still cautious when it comes to eSports betting.

There main issue is that some professional eSport players are under 18 years of age.

Betting on minors has never been approved at federal or state level, and it never will.

As such, some states apply the same issue to eSports.

New Jersey was one of these states but they reversed their decision as long as eSports betting met certain conditions:

  1. All operators must gain permission from the state’s gaming regulators before they can make bets on eSports events.
  2. The players in these events must all be at least 18 years old.

Indiana is the only state to date that has completely banned eSports betting.

This came into effect as soon as they legalized sports betting.

Other states like Delaware and New York are waiting to see what happens in other states before making a decision.

Final Words

Esports betting is not that big in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.

But while this is the case right now, it may not be like this forever.

As the industry grows in popularity and value, sportsbooks and lawmakers may want to change their stance so they get a slice of the pie.

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