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Esports committee plans to discuss betting regulations next month

A state gaming regulatory committee moved a step closer to establishing rules that would allow esports gambling.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Esports Technical Advisory Committee, which is charged with developing regulations to allow gambling on esports competitions, will gather in August to begin formulating its recommendations.

The committee met for nearly three hours Monday, gathering testimony from experts about the use of official data generated from competitions and how they should be used to develop a wagering platform for esports.

The committee agreed to meet again before the group’s next scheduled quarterly meeting to make decisions on how to take wagers on the rapidly growing competitions involving video game matches and tournaments.

The multimillion-dollar industry has expanded rapidly through the online production of esports events participated in from all corners of the world.

Interest in esports is growing rapidly in North America and is well established in Asia and Europe. A venue dedicated to esports matches, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, is operated at Luxor on the Strip.

Nevada dipped its toe in the water on taking bets on major esports events in 2020, but legislation adopted by Nevada lawmakers last year mandated that the Control Board assemble a committee to detail how to standardize the process. Most of the competitions authorized for betting occurred at a time when most conventional sports leagues were shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee members specifically will review the Control Board’s Regulation 22 on racebooks and sports pools to determine if rules for sports wagering could be modified or enhanced to include esports wagering.

The 17-page Regulation 22 addresses all aspects of sportsbook operations, including record-keeping requirements, what types of wagers are permitted and prohibited and parlay bets.

Committee members agreed that betting on esports could be very similar to wagers taken on traditional sporting events, but members will try to determine if a new regulation should be drafted incorporating some of the special circumstances of esports, which often involve professional and amateur participants in popular video game competitions.

Earlier in the meeting, the committee heard presentations from Moritz Maurer, CEO of GRID, a German esports platform; Amir Mirzaee and Martin Dachselt, executives of Germany-based Bayes Esports Solutions, an esports data provider; and Vlastimil Venclik and Marek Suchar of Oddin.gg on the establishment of betting lines on esports.

Executives said sportsbooks that take esports wagers hope to compile a history of official data in order to establish fair odds for bettors.

Eric Bowers, vice president of architecture and innovation for Boyd Gaming Corp., also gave committee members an early look at some of the Las Vegas company’s plans for an esports betting platform.

Committee members hope to establish systems in which official data is transmitted to companies taking wagers in real time.

Monday’s meeting marked the committee’s second, and in both sessions members were focused on protecting the gambling public and establishing rules to prevent match-fixing and other forms of cheating.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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