Posted on: March 2, 2022, 10:03h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 11:46h.
The Nevada Esports Technical Advisory Committee was formed last year through legislation passed and signed by Governor Steve Sisolak (D). The eight-person committee met for the first time this week to discuss how the state might regulate wagering on the popular video gaming competitions.
Nevada has been wrestling with how to govern esports betting for many years. Then-Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) first encouraged the state’s Gaming Policy Committee to develop esports regulations back in 2016.
Nevada has since approved a smattering of esports betting requests from licensed sportsbooks. But while interest in video gaming tournaments for marquee titles such as Dota 2, CS:GO, and League of Legends continues to soar, betting hasn’t.
Nevada’s Esports Technical Advisory Committee is to meet quarterly to hear testimony from esports experts and industry leaders. The goal is to present the Nevada Gaming Control Board with suggestions on how to best regulate competitive video gaming.
Testimony Addresses Underage, Cheating Concerns
The esports committee’s inaugural meeting welcomed testimony from several people with vast knowledge of the space. A leading concern regarding allowing gambling on esports tournaments is that many of the professional teams include gamers who are underage.
Eric Bowers, vice president of innovation for Boyd Gaming, is eager for the casino company to get in on esports. Bowers says underage involvement shouldn’t be the reason for the state to prohibit betting on esports. He likened it to oddsmakers taking action on college sports, which often involves student-athletes who are under the gambling age of 21.
Las Vegas casinos and the gaming manufacturers they work with have for more than a decade trying to determine how to better attract millennials onto their gaming floors. Bowers believes esports could be a great entryway.
The Boyd executive told the committee that esports bettors would likely be cultivated into iGaming players. And while some underage players compete on esports’ largest stages, Bowers says audience insights show that a large component of the fanbase is over the age of 21.
Another paramount concern regarding esports is its proneness to match-fixing and cheating.
Ian Smith of the nonprofit Esports Integrity Commission says Nevada should embrace a “one and done” policy, where gamers found guilty of throwing a match are forever expelled from competing in Nevada.
Smith also said most esports professionals are committed to the integrity of the industry. He said Nevada should encourage all participants to join his Esports Integrity Commission and pledge to report any suspicion of deceitful play.
Nevada’s gaming industry is the gold standard. The state’s governance of casinos has served as the regulatory blueprint for a slew of other states that have legalized commercial gambling.
Bowers says Nevada should also lead the way in esports betting.
I’d like to see Las Vegas and Nevada where it is in everything else that is gaming related. We should be at the top and doing it right and do things that make everyone proud,” Bowers declared.
Nevada’s esports committee is headed by Paul Hamilton, who is president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures. The firm is dedicated to making the Atlanta area a major esports market that plays host to premier tournaments.