Nevada Becomes The First US State To Offer Legal Betting On Esports

Published: Nov 21, 2016 - Last Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Las Vegas is another step closer to becoming the US hub for all things esports.

After hosting many esports events in the recent past, the entertainment capital of the world has reached a new milestone: legal betting on esports in the US.

William Hill, Downtown Grand Casino take the first step

A partnership between bookmaker William Hill US and the Downtown Grand Casino paved the way for legal esports betting to become reality in Vegas.

After a meeting of the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, it gave the green light for the first sportsbook with esports.

The desire for legal esports betting has been present for quite some time now.

Following discussions throughout 2016, it was found that under Nevada’s existing gaming regulations, esports could be categorized as an athletic sports event. This made wagering on competitive gaming possible.

Both William Hill and Downtown Grand officials are excited about the decision. Fifth Street Gaming CEO and Downtown Grand Chairman Seth Schorr also recognized Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett as an integral part in making esports wagering possible in Nevada.

Said Schorr:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work closely with Chairman Burnett and the Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee to gain collective support for wagering on esports.

This has been an excellent example of a public/private partnership working together to create a new innovative way of gambling which will have a positive impact on State revenues.

We are proud that the Downtown Grand will be the home to the first regulated esports wager in America. The team at the Downtown Grand has worked hard to establish itself as a truly unique esports destination.”

IEM Oakland provided opportunity for first NV esports bets

William Hill did not hesitate to launch the new service as soon as possible. It opened up wagering on esports during this past weekend’s IEM Oakland, a League of Legends tournament.

Although the news of legal wagering still needs to reach the entire esports community, this weekend’s event offers a glimpse into how popular legal betting on competitive gaming can be.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval shared his thoughts:

“This announcement is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the esports capital of the world. By embracing this unique opportunity and incorporating innovation and technology into our gaming industry, we’re expanding the potential of one of our oldest industries.

Representatives from William Hill and Downtown Grand have been active partners with the Gaming Policy Committee as we examined esports wagering in the State of Nevada. I would like to congratulate them on this approval and commend both companies for their swift work and determination.”

Esports making its way into Las Vegas

Those who’ve worked to bring esports — and esports wagering — to Las Vegas will surely be pleased with this recent development.

Unikrn, for example, has been collaborating with top people in the industry to bridge the gap between esports betting and live casinos.

Others have made use of the entertainment capital for various esports events, including the recent Battle on the Strip and MLG Vegas. These, and similar events, can now feature wagering on matches as well.

Other states may follow Nevada’s lead, but when and if this happens remains to be seen.

Whatever comes next, the first step has been made, and Las Vegas is now an even bigger presence when it comes to esports.

Dejan Zalik

Since: September 12, 2015

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.

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