Nevada has approved wagering on three more esports events as the state’s bookmakers look for a way to offer new betting options amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) confirmed on Tuesday that licensed betting operators can now take wagers on the Overwatch League, League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC). This marks another massive step forward for the esports betting industry and also serves as a lifeline for bookmakers, who have suffered a severe shortage of markets since the coronavirus crisis resulted in most of the world’s sporting competitions closing down.
The betting menus have been reduced to only a handful of live sporting events that are still taking place around the globe. While many punters are making do with obscure fare such as Belarusian football and Ukrainian table tennis, others have begun exploring the ever-expanding world of professional gaming.
Nevada legalised wagering on Dota2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive last month, so the addition of Overwatch and LoL betting only highlights the growing demand for esports markets at Las Vegas bookmakers. NASCAR’s iRacing series has also been on the books in West Virginia, New Jersey and Nevada. That trend suggests more esports titles could be on the way to US betting sites, such as Call of Duty, Rocket League, and top Asian competitions such as the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK).
Nevada is but one of several US states where esports betting is now gaining traction. New Jersey made a huge step forward in November when the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) allowed all licensed gambling operators to accept bets on the League of Legends World Championship finals between G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix.
Earlier this week, Colorado became the 18th state in the US to launch regulated sports betting. Considering there are not many betting options outside of darts, table tennis and schoolyard-quality soccer, esports might be coming to the Centennial State as well.