Nevada continued to expand the ability to bet on esports earlier this week when gaming regulators approved sportsbooks to accept wagers for season 11 of the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League.
The decision comes at a time when sportsbooks are desperate for revenue and sports bettors are desperate to bet on something. With the spread of coronavirus throughout the country, all major sports professional sports leagues have suspended operations until it is safe to operate.
Nevada just released its gaming revenue for February, with the state coming in second to New Jersey in total sports betting handle. Silver State gamblers bet $491.7 million on sports in February, while Garden State gamblers placed $494.8 million worth of wagers.
Esports were first approved by Nevada regulators in 2016 when the 2016 League of Legends Intel Extreme Masters Season XI Championship.
The gaming control board does not consider these matches to be sporting events, forcing operators to apply for a license to accept wagers as an “Other Event.” It is the same category that lets sportsbooks accept wagers on the World Series of Poker main event final table.
William Hill became the first sportsbook to offer odds on the matches when it accepted wagers for Thursday’s matches.
Team Liquid was a -355 favorite over MIBR and 100 Thieves were -500 favorites over Swole Patrol. Both matches were streamed live on Youtube.
According to CBS Sports, betting on esports is already fully legal in Europe. New Jersey allowed gamblers to bet on the League of Legends World Championship Final, but the market as a whole is still not legal to bet on.