Esports Betting Takes Big Leap Forward in New Jersey

Esports has made it to the betting stage with sanctioned matches in New Jersey, including live games at the Hard Rock. The games expect to bring a younger demographic to Atlantic City.

Esports Betting Takes Big Leap Forward in New Jersey

The average age of esports fans is 26. Almost half of the esports audience is made of up people 25 to 44. And the industry expects to generate as much as $2 billion a year in the near future.

Esports will be successful in a betting setting. And it will bring 20- and 30-somethings to the game instead of boomers or seniors. Through the end of last year, 13 states have legalized esports betting, according to the National Law Review.

Much of this development has come on the heels of legalized sports gambling laws with definitions of “sporting events” that specifically include “esports,” “electronic sports,” “competitive video game events” or other formulations. However, a number of states still impose esports-specific age and gambling restrictions that limit, for instance, the types of esports games on which fans can place wagers.

By contrast, a number of states have yet to legalize traditional sports betting and have not publicly considered wagering on esports. Some have used their sports gambling laws to exclude esports from definitions of “sporting events” or to simply note that wagering on esports remains illegal. However, it is expected that many more states will legalize esports betting in the coming years.

Where legal, though, bettors can use real money and bet in a match, tournament or through prop bets.

The sportsbook of the future may allow esports fans bet on an almost infinite number if categories, based on data. For instance, oddsmakers can offer bets such as how many passes it will take a team to score its next goal or how many times an esports player presses a particular button before securing that next score.

Sportsbooks should be able to offer much more in-game opportunities for a wager than in traditional sports. Esports sportsbooks will likely explore blockchain-based technology which permits gamblers to use cryptocurrency and digital assets such as NFTs.

Expect more inclusion of esports into physical casinos. Future patrons would rather play interactive entertainment and skill-based gaming over slot machines.

As new technologies are adopted, the heightened risks of fraud and online crimes will continue to invite regulatory scrutiny and enforcement.

Meantime, April 4 marked the launch of the first esports competition for wagering after a weekend of soft play testing. Esports Entertainment Group got the greenlight April 1 to end the soft play testing period, according to the Associated Press.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement confirmed it had authorized full operations. The company is tied to the license of Bally’s casino.

“As the first licensed esports-focused betting site in North America, we’re thrilled to fully launch the platform in New Jersey, one of the gold standard jurisdictions for sports wagering in the country,” said Grant Johnson, EEG’s CEO.

The company is based in London and has offices in Hoboken, New Jersey, and in Malta. For now, it can only take bets on esports.

Esports Entertainment Group is the first operator to be granted the right to launch full esports betting operations in the state. Bettors can wager on their favorite esports teams in real time in what EEG calls “part of a seamless and immersive experience.” Games available include such favorites as Call of Duty, Overwatch, CS: GO, League of Legends, and DOTA 2, according to NJ Online Gambling.

An upcoming feature called VIE will mean that “you don’t have to take your eyes off the stream, ever. You can watch live esports matches and wager as you go. No distractions. Take on the excitement of calling the next play as it happens and get rewarded for your sports knowledge on VIE.”

In addition to the mobile wagering, EEG launched the first of its in-person events at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City on March 19-20. The game of choice that day was the popular Madden ’22—where, as it happened, two competitors who chose the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers advanced to the title game.

That was the first sanctioned skill-based wagering esports event held in the U.S., and more than 16,000 viewers of the livestreamed event watched professional competitors such as DubDot, Joke, and OneGreatUser play.

Almost 300 on-site spectators—including representatives from multiple casinos, resorts, and professional sports teams curious about the concept — attended the tournament. Competitive Madden player Jaybird received the first-place prize of $3,600.

“The entire tournament ran very well, and the team at EEG took care of the players, which means a lot to me,” Jaybird said in a statement. “Instant payouts aren’t commonplace in large-scale tournaments, so this is another thing they knocked out of the park. I’m excited to take part in future tournaments and defend my title.”

Players were able to place bets of up to $500 on their own matches, a unique gambling wrinkle. A handicapping system was in place to set up similarly skilled players to face each other.

Johnson said at the time, “The player versus player betting was of interest, as a lot of the trash talking got a little raucous,” with a lot of “esports influencers” wanting to be involved in the next event.

The market research company Newzoo projects esports will generate $1.6 billion in revenue globally by 2024, up from just over $1 billion last year.

Esports is generating money for the hosts of events including tournaments and championships, but also in hotel room stays and food and beverage spending. Las Vegas has embraced it, building a 30,000 square-foot arena for esports in 2018 at Luxor.

New Jersey has been slower to embrace the activity, although individual casinos have held scattered tournaments, according to the Associated Press.

To provide data for the New Jersey esports market, EEG has partnered with to provide esports odds on EEG’s platform in the state., is a leading provider of esports odds feeds, risk management and iFrame solutions.

The first activation is through a partnership with Esports Entertainment in New Jersey. will provide esports odds feeds to, EEG’s betting platform, which offers real money esports wagering on games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, CS:GO, League of Legends and DOTA 2.

EEG CEO Johnson said, “Launching our esports betting platform in the U.S. was of the utmost importance to us. As part of our launch efforts, we completed a thorough, global search for an esports betting solution and found as the most reliable, ideal partner.

“We are thrilled to operate in New Jersey, the country’s first state to allow legal esports wagering. We are confident that our partnership with will enable us to continue to grow our business.”

Marek Suchar, co-founder and Managing Director at commented, “We are extremely happy that our first integration is live in the United States through one of the leading innovators in esports betting. EEG leverages the intersection of iGaming and esports, opening new avenues of growth and bringing fans, gamers, and bettors together in an unprecedented way. All of us at are excited to be a part of this partnership.”