While sporting calendars continue to decimate across the world, many places that are more attuned to betting on sports have been turning to the esports betting as an alternative, even in places that have long been resistant to the idea of betting on “kids playing games”.
One such place is the familiar neon-lit streets of Las Vegas. Back in September 2019, we reported that despite enjoying huge growth across the globe, esports betting sites were having a tough time breaking into one of the true gambling meccas in the world.
However, in recent weeks, that seems to have changed.
Nevada Gaming Control Board Decision
This switch in attitude from a city whose visitors and inhabitants were more or less unified in their preference for the more typical forms of gambling, such as casino gaming and sports betting, does seem to stem from the current pandemic and a recent decision by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The board approved bets in the state on four different esports series. While that is only a fraction of the esports bets that are available elsewhere, in a state that is (like so many other parts of the world) starved of options for betting of any kind, it was a small but important step.
Currently, the board has approved CS:GO betting on the ESL Pro League Season 11 events taking place in North America and Germany. Additionally, the board also allowed Dota 2 betting on an ESL Dota 2 tournament.
Finally, in this first regulatory move, they also allowed sites in Nevada to accept bets on the eNASCAR series.
30% Rise in Esports Betting Reported
The move certainly seemed to be popular, with many news outlets reporting that some esports betting sites and industry experts had seen a rise of 30% in the number of bets being made on esports over the last few weeks.
As such, the NGCB moved to open up more opportunities for esports betting within the state, including betting on two of the big League of Legends Spring Series events in Europe (LEC) and North America (LCS), as well as Overwatch League betting and the forthcoming Call of Duty League is also available for people to bet on when it gets underway.
One positive note is that for the Nevada Gaming Control Board to approve this many esports bets, then their confidence in the industry, which has been somewhat unconvincing at times, does seem to have improved significantly, even if local casino owners still view esports betting as higher risk product compared to casino gaming or sports betting.
The development of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in 2015, which oversees almost all the top esports tournament organizers, has helped nurture greater confidence in the industry and this has allowed Nevada to offer a greater number of esports than previously.
Whether this will be the start of a change in behavior and esports becoming more mainstream in Las Vegas, or whether its popularity at the moment is simply down to a lack of credible alternatives, remains to be seen.
As with many things, only time will tell.