Americans who enjoy sports betting are likely to be aware of their country’s complex betting laws. In terms of esports, New Jersey is now one of a dozen states where esports betting is welcome and regulated in the U.S.
NJ is home to one of the most all-encompassing betting markets in the United States today. Since 2018, when the state repealed a federal ban on betting and wagering in the state, the first full year of offering sports betting in NJ in 2019 saw NJ sportsbooks make almost $300 million in revenue.
With the new relaxed betting laws, NJ began to explore the potential of offering esports betting alongside its sports betting and after a successful trial run, the state has now legalised esports betting.
Many NJ betting operators have an advantage over a number of other states due to it being able to offer esports alongside sports betting and other forms of gambling entertainment, such as casino gaming.
Legal esports betting sites in New Jersey
The law in New Jersey now allows people to wager a maximum of $100 (with a maximum return of $500) on the state’s approved events list which includes the following:
- League of Legends World Championship Finals & Qualifiers
- Any League of Legends tournament run directly by Riot Games
- eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
- GG CSGO Legend Series
- CSGO Blast Premier League, ESL-Pro League and IEM ESL Events
- Dota 2 ESL Events
- VALORANT tournaments tun and organised by Riot Games
Betting is not permitted on any event, even if it fits the criteria above if the majority of competitors are under the age of 18.
Seeing as you can now wager online on esports in New Jersey, this has certainly made the process much more convenient for users compared to traveling to a casino or race track.
The most popular sites offering esports in New Jersey are:
Some of these sites may also be accessed in other states where esports betting is legal, depending upon your home state.
The likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, Bet365 and Unibet are good choices for both sports and esports betting, with FanDuel and DraftKings also having a heavy fantasy sports (and fantasy esports) element.
Other sites such as Luckbox and Vie.GG are more specialist esports sites and may be of interest to NJ bettors who are keen to explore what esports are available to bet on in the state.
Fantasy Esports with DraftKings:
How New Jersey legalized esports betting
NJ assemblymembers approved Bill A637, which includes esports in the NJ betting market. They proposed a bill after seeing NJ sports betting take in $550 million in its first year. The timeline below details Bill A637’s beginning, up to where it currently sits.
January 2020: Assemblyman, Ralph Caputo, introduced legislation to authorize sportsbooks to accept esports wagers permanently. Caputo saw the opportunity for the state to expand its sports betting options to gain more tax revenue.
March 2020: NJ pitches a bill that categorizes esports as a skill-based game. The assemblymembers made Bill A637 to revise current sports betting permits to expand esports betting entirely.
August 1, 2020: Bill A637 was passed unanimously with everyone in the New Jersey Assembly, agreeing that esports should be included in existing sports betting rules. The assemblymembers sent the bill to the Senate for final voting.
July 2021: NJ Senate unanimously passes the Bill A637 which rubber-stamps New Jersey as being a state which would legally permit esports betting.
December 2021: NJ reports that it took more than $1bn in the month on sports and esports betting, the fourth successive month the state exceeded $1bn in transactions.
January 2022: NJ gets its first dedicated esports betting site Vie.gg, through a license awarded to the Esports Entertainment Group.
With the passing of this bill in July 2021, NJ betting sites were free to offer esports to their betting services.
What the Future Holds
NJ Esports Betting markets may still be young with options like Vie.gg from the Esports Entertainment Group acquiring their license in January 2022, but they are still well ahead of many other states.
Indeed, having seen how popular esports betting has become in Nevada and New Jersey, the feeling is that many other states in the union are now going to be pushing similar legislation through to legalise esports betting in their state.
After the huge rise in interest and revenue during the pandemic from esports, the industry is estimated to generate $205bn in revenue globally by 2027, it is unsurprising that many states are now looking to follow NJ’s example.
That is up from $15bn that was wagered on esports in 2020.
However, one issue is clear. Esports is hear to stay, even now that traditional sports betting options are now available again, with the industry still seeing a rapid expansion in the amount of people and cash being bet on esports events all over the world.
The Size of Esports Betting Markets
The current size of the esports betting market is still very much a fluid number with an increasing number of people from all generations from all parts of the globe starting to see what is on offer within the industry.
How Much Money Goes to Esports Bets?
Back in 2021, OddsMatrix estimated that there were at least 500 million esports fans worldwide. You can assume that this number will have grown significantly since then.
Those who bet on esports represent just a proportion of that number, but industry figures show that esports gamblers can wager larger sums of money, especially on the top esports tournaments and events.
OddsMatrix also reported that the esports betting industry generated around $15bn in 2020 and a revised study reckons that by 2027, that figure will have grown to $205bn.
Another study by Newzoo reckons that Esports Betting will see annual growth of around 9% throughout 2022.
How Quickly is the Esports Market Growing?
Viewership numbers for big esports events have exploded over the past few years, with totals that rival traditional sports leagues. Part of this is due to accessibility. Most esports tournaments are available to watch for free in HD, and many of the games themselves are free to play. The esports industry is more eager than ever to create betting opportunities.
NewZoo estimates that there were 443 million esports fans in 2019 and 495 million in 2020. This presents a year-over-year growth of over 10%. They also believe that the number of esports fans will increase to 646 million by 2023. This year alone, the esports market has generated over 1.1 billion dollars in revenue from media rights, sponsorships and merchandising.
Which Region Bets the most on Esports?
While NJ esports betting is growing more and more popular, some regions have taken to it with more enthusiasm than others. This is due to different laws regarding betting and accessibility and the varying popularity of esports worldwide.
As far as popularity goes, Southeast Asia is the biggest market for competitive gaming. OddsMatrix estimates that 57% of total esports viewership comes from SEA, though other regions are also growing rapidly. NewZoo reports that Latin America and the Middle East are the fastest growing regions in terms of viewership, which will naturally lead to a higher volume of betting from those countries.
Which Esports have the biggest betting Markets?
There are several different video game genres in esports, and not every bettor bets on every game. The most popular esports to bet on generally fall into two categories; sports simulation titles and the Big Three.
Sports simulations like NBA2K, FIFA, and Madden Football have grown increasingly popular in recent years. Sports simulation bets have increased by more than 3500% in 2020. Traditional sports bettors appreciate these titles for their similarity to real sports. They use the same ruleset and oftentimes the same controllable players as their respective sports leagues.
The Big Three refers to a trio of dominant esports titles that make up the esports industry’s core; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends. These games make up almost 90% of non-sports simulation esports bets.
“In NJ, you will also find betting markets on NASCAR iRacing and VALORANT, with the latter proving to be especially popular with bettors in the state in recent times.”
DraftKings Esports Betting
In addition to legal progress, esports betting in New Jersey and beyond is being pushed by several bookmakers. DraftKings is especially enthusiastic when it comes to supporting the esports industry; in November, a firm partially owned by Draftkings invested in Boston-based esports organization Warriors International. Draftkings is primarily a traditional sports betting site, making their foray into esports even more interesting.
Draftkings has a longtime relationship with the esports betting market. DraftKings brings the fun of fantasy sports to the gaming world with offerings for Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Rocket League, League of Legends and eNASCAR fantasy esports betting markets. Their user-friendly mobile site and support for cryptocurrency make them an ideal choice for an esports bettor with fantasy on the mind. Learn more about DraftKings with our official review here.
Bet365 USA Esports Betting
If you’re new to online betting or only have experience with traditional sports, you probably want a more streamlined experience than the fantasy-centric offering at DraftKings. For those who want a simple betting experience for both basketball and Counter-Strike, Bet365 is the ideal website to start with.
Based in the United Kingdom and licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, Bet365 is a common sponsor for physical and virtual sporting competitions. They’re known for excellent customer service, and their wide variety of deposit options is second-to-none. Read our official review to learn why Bet365 is one of our most recommended esports betting sites.
Vie.GG Esports Betting
Vie.GG is EEG’s bespoke esports betting platform which offers NJ customers their first chance to experience a site whose primary focus is esports betting. If you do not have an interest in sports betting, or fantasy sports, and your sole focus is going to be esports betting and as expansive a choice of markets that you can find on it, then Vie.gg is a great choice.
Esports Betting in New Jersey FAQs
- Can I bet on esports in New Jersey?
Esports betting in New Jersey is perfectly legal. Only a small number of states have officially legalized esports wagers, and New Jersey’s laws allow for both in-person esports betting and gambling through esports betting sites.
- Can I make online esports bets in New Jersey?
Yes, you can make an esports bet in New Jersey on any of the approved tournaments on the list and provided that your bet is no more than $100 with no return greater than $500. A list of some sites offering esports bets is shown above.
- Can I gamble at 18 in NJ?
Before 1983, 18-year-olds could gamble in the state of New Jersey. Now, you must be at least 21 to bet in licensed New Jersey casinos. That age limit applies to online bettors in New Jersey as well, even if the site only requires 18 years of age.
- Is DraftKings legal in NJ?
DraftKings is explicitly legal in New Jersey. Thanks to a specific exception in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, fantasy sports do not have to be licensed to continue their business. Understandably, this intentional legal loophole extends to esports betting in New Jersey.
- Is Bet365 legal in NJ?
Bet365 is licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, one of the world’s most respected gambling regulatory groups in the world. Bet365 is particularly suited to esports betting in New Jersey, as the company runs both an online sportsbook and an extensive mobile app available only in the Garden State.
- Is Vie.gg Legal In NJ?
Yes, the Vie.gg platform was granted a license by the state of New Jersey and began operating as an esports specialist betting site in January 2022. The same laws apply to this site as the sports and esports betting sites also available in the state.