Pennsylvania Legislator Calls for the Legalization of Esports Betting

ABC 27 reported that in a letter sent to his fellow legislators, representative Ed Neilson suggested that Pennsylvania should embrace the growing trend of esports and incorporate it into their existing gaming regulations. 

Esports – a Booming Industry Both in Philadelphia and Worldwide

To make his point heard, representative Ed Neilson, highlighted the construction of a multi-million dollar esports arena in Philadelphia, which will host various video game events and tournaments. Even though that project was stalled and since its announcement has been redesigned to a smaller and multi-purpose arena, there is no denying the fast pace with which the esports industry is growing.

The esports gaming sector has been rapidly expanding globally, with a predicted 21.9% compound annual growth rate from 2022 to 2030. The growth is largely attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming platforms like Twitch and a 40% increase in esports sponsorships. The esports industry was estimated to have a market value of $2.5 billion in 2022.

In the local area, there’s a surge in esports businesses, like Nerd Street Gamers, Dignitas, and Futures First Gaming, with millions invested in the sector. Gaming startups, like Regression Games, have raised millions before launching. A former Philadelphia Eagles player even signed with eMLS as a pro gamer.

Gambling Industry Experts Also See the Potential of Esports

At the Casino Esport Conference in Atlantic City in October, experts discussed video games’ potential for the gambling industry and the profits to be gained from offering esports betting products. 

The video game industry has a massive and growing audience, but the gambling industry has yet to tap into this market. The conference offered an opportunity for the two industries to explore this frontier. 

Gaming research leader Newzoo predicts the competitive video gaming audience will grow 8.7% in 2023 to reach 532 million players worldwide, while video games were expected to generate $1.38 billion in global revenue in 2022, with China as the largest contributor.

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Esports Legislation on its Way in Nevada

Representative Ed Neilson also made a point that other US states than Pennsylvania are already mulling esports legislation. 

One such example is Nevada, which is leadin lodi646 g the way in gambling regulation, as the state’s Gaming Control Board has recommended the adoption of legislative changes allowing betting on esports. This recommendation follows a comprehensive study conducted by Nevada’s Esports Technical Advisory Committee. 

Major casinos in Nevada, including Luxor’s HyperX Arena and The Venetian, are already preparing to host esports tournaments, and the Committee submitted its proposal to the Gaming Control Board in October 2022. With the esports industry growing rapidly, Nevada is trying to stay ahead of the curve and proactively regulate the sector.