New Jersey Sports Betting Law Excludes Domestic Esports

Esports will not be part of the deal if New Jersey legalizes sports betting, with a few noteworthy exceptions.

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One of the biggest sports stories of the year so far has been the Supreme Court's decision regarding sports gambling. For those unfamiliar with the story, the SCOTUS ruled 7-2 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which outlawed sports betting in most states. This looks to open the door to legalized gambling for all major sports, but the question has naturally popped up regarding betting in esports.

The Overwatch League (Photo credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

At least one state has already struck down this idea. New Jersey is on the cusp of legalizing sports betting, but the current law, as drafted makes a few notable exceptions. Among them is esports, which the law explicitly prohibits, with few exceptions.

"A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants," reads the official bill from New Jersey's 218th Legislature.

As esports attorney Bryce Blum points out on Twitter, the exceptions to this rule involve international competition and the ages of the competitors. That means there could be an exception waiting in the wings for the Overwatch League, given that all of its competitors are over 18 and three of the League's teams (London Spitfire, Shanghai Dragons, Seoul Dynasty) are based outside the United States. Likewise, competitions like Dota 2's The International and the League of Legends World Championships could eventually become open to betting.

The topic of legalized esports betting is one that's sure to pop up more in the wake of this SCOTUS decision. Shacknews will endeavor to follow this story.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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  • reply
    June 6, 2018 11:25 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, New Jersey Sports Betting Law Excludes Domestic Esports

    • reply
      June 6, 2018 11:50 AM

      "put me down for 700 dollars on the RAMS. OH, and put sideshow Mel down for 2 grand"

    • reply
      June 6, 2018 11:51 AM

      At first I thought that eSports not having to deal with the scandals that come from gambling, but I realized that's already happening and tons of shady sites sponsor many events. Legalizing eSports can only clean it up.

      It's also silly that Valve didn't ban Solo.