Nevada Now Allowing Gamblers To Bet On eSports

Silver State Sees Country’s First Wager On Video Gaming

Last week, a Nevada sports book accepted bets on the video game tournament, Intel Extreme Masters Oakland League of Legends, in what were the first legal wagers ever made on an eSports event in the United States.

ESPN reported that bookmaker William Hill took the bets at the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino. Nevada gaming regulators had previously signed off on the wagering.

“This announcement is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the esports capital of the world,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “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.”

Nevada’s gaming industry wins a little more than $11 billion annually, but it’s been stagnant in recent years. Gaming win grew by less than one percent in 2015.

In 2014, eSports was a $612 million market and 13 percent of all live stream viewers were watching the games. The volume of all sports bets in Nevada is expected to be around $5 billion in 2016, which would be a new record for the Silver State.

Nevada is trying to bolster its sports betting industry at a time when lawmakers on Capitol Hill are likely to look at legalizing the activity on the federal level.

The illegal sports betting market is worth about $145 billion a year, according to the American Gaming Association. Nevada is the only state with traditional sports betting. Delaware has limited sports betting in the form of parlays.

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