Nevada Gaming Commission Approves eSports Betting

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The Nevada Gaming Commission has granted casinos permission to take bets on eSports competitions, treating these digital events similarly to conventional sports.

Decision Long Awaited by Casinos

eSports have surged in popularity in recent years and events now attract crowds that are comparable in size to major traditional sporting events. However, Nevada’s casinos have struggled to receive approval for eSports betting.

The Gaming Control Board worked with the Nevada ESports Technical Advisory Committee to prepare a set of recommendations for the Commission. Most of the recommendations were met with enthusiasm but there was one that caused a number of problems: the inclusion of a provision for drug testing in eSports.

The recommendation was met with a great deal of opposition, including from the Entertainment Software Association, the US trade association of the video game industry. It argues that implementing anti-doping measures is logistically and financially unviable given the global nature of eSports tournaments. Very often, competitors are scattered around the world, which makes standardized drug testing extremely difficult.

Gaming Commission Removes Doping Rules

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Jennifer Tagliotti said that enforcing doping regulations would be practically impossible. As a result, the Commission removed the doping provision from its final regulations. The news was of great relief to operators and industry stakeholders who had worried that the new gaming regulation would prevent the growth of eSports in Nevada.

Brittnie Watkins, a member of the Gaming Control Board, spoke about the need for integrity standards in eSports and said that sportsbooks must be vigilant and report any suspicious betting activity.

Seth Schorr, the chairman of the Downtown Grand and a major voice in the eSports community, has called the news a significant step forward and said that eSports has the potential to attract a new demographic of gamblers.

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