Major eSports tournaments featuring games like League of Legends and Overwatch will soon be available for bettors in Nevada to wager on as the rules on what can be bet on at sportsbooks in a world currently without sports continue to expand. While futures bets on the NFL and NFL Draft may remain popular, the actual list of things you can bet on in Vegas remains slim compared to the usual sports-plentiful April calendar, and it seems competitive video games will attempt to fill the need for some.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Nevada Gambling Control has approved betting on three major eSports tournaments, including League Of Legends’ European and North American championships, a major move in an industry that’s struggled to find things to let people wager on as live sports continue to be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After Tuesday’s announcement, Nevada sportsbooks will be allowed to offer wagering on Overwatch League, League of Legends European Championship and the North America League of Legends Championship.
Nine matches in Overwatch League are scheduled this week, featuring teams from Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston, among others. League of Legends events in Europe and North America also take place this week.
The move is perhaps less credited to the continued rise of eSports than the relative dearth of things bettors can actually gamble on in the wake of live sports essentially put on the shelf in the wake of COVID-19 and its spread as a global pandemic.
The story quoted a bookmaker from William Hill as saying “pingpong is the star of the show,” a reference to betting on international table tennis that would be hilarious if not for how clearly it displays the lengths to which sports bettors will go to find wagers. Nevada had already approved wagers on eSports like Dota 2 and Counter Strike, so it makes sense that the rules are expanded as live sports sit on the shelf. Other eSports like NASCAR’s iRacing events have been on the books in Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia, and with other leagues like Call of Duty up and running again ,we may see it considered by books as well.