Esports betting legislation passes assembly in New Jersey, heads to senate

Esports and the law have had a somewhat strained relationship at times. Not every set of laws accounted for the unique problems that esports brought with it, especially when it comes to esports betting in the US.

With how many US states have their own state-wide laws, it’s no surprise that, for example, the laws around esports betting in Nevada are completely different from those governing esports betting in New Jersey.

The latter is now working on expanding the definition of esports betting and currently voting on the existing legislation in the state.

Houghtaling, Dancer & Caputo

The bill sponsored (and co-sponsored) by more than five assemblyman has successfully passed the assembly and is next headed to the senate for final voting. The purpose of the bill is to extend what is covered under existing betting laws. So far, New Jersey residents were allowed to bet on a number of sports events. This bill however, extends those definitions to include other skill-based competitions like esports.

In fact, including electronic sports in the regular sports betting industry makes a lot of sense, both for New Jersey and other places. There is a lot of similarity between many esports and ‘real’ sports, as some people call them, and the artificial separation has been slowing down the industry growth.

One of the assemblymen backing the bill said:

“Whether they follow along online or in person, hundreds of millions of people watch eSports each year – and that number is only growing. This bill will amend our existing sports betting law to include eSports and ultimately expand on the industry to make it more successful.”

The process

The bill was passed unanimously this past Thursday, meaning that everyone in the assembly agreed with it, and supported the inclusion of esports in the existing sports betting rulings, as well as the other changes proposed in the bill.

Despite this, the bi-partisan bill is not yet a ‘real’ law. It first needs to be introduced to the senate, reviewed, read out, and eventually voted on. This can take some time, but once the senate has heard the bill, they are the ones who have the final say on it. If the vote passes, the bill becomes law – well, after a few more signatures and steps.

The bill sponsors appear hopeful.

“With online sports betting now legal in New Jersey, a large number of people already interested in this type of gaming and a lack of physical sporting events to bet on right now due to the pandemic, the time is right for us to expand legal wagering beyond traditional sports.” assemblyman Houghtaling stated.

Finally, the inclusion of esports gambling in the US betting market is what esports bookmakers look forward to. Especially since New Jersey and Nevada are setting the betting industry standard the rest of the states follow.

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