UK-based bookmaker William Hill has partnered with Downtown Grand Casino which is located near the heart of downtown Las Vegas to offer licensed eSports betting. It is the first sportsbook to offer eSports betting in Nevada or anywhere in the United States for that matter.
Nevada Wants to Become the eSports Capital
Nevada has it sights set on becoming the eSports capital of the world, offering a myriad of eSports events and wagering for enthusiasts and punters alike. Betting on eSports events is now in compliance with Nevada State gaming regulations because eSports players are viewed as athletes.
It has been a controversial topic, and sports enthusiasts might share a different opinion, since it’s not like esports players are as athletic as NBA or NFL players, but it’s the regulators’ final decision which matters. Esports tournaments are not unlike multi-table poker tournaments that go for days. Both are skill-games which require a lot of endurance in order to do well in competitions. It wasn’t until November 16 that the regulators gave the final approvals.
Major eSports tournaments now attract huge audiences that sell out stadiums, with many tourneys offering six-figure prize pools. The partnership is already in action and it came in time for the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) eSports event held in Oakland over the weekend, which attracted more than 10,000 fans at the Oracle Arena.
Governor Brian Sandoval said,
“Representatives from William Hill and Downtown Grand have been active partners with the Gaming Policy Committee as we examined e-sports wagering in the State of Nevada.”
“I would like to congratulate them on this approval and commend both companies for their swift work an determination.”
Esports is Still Very New
The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino opened their dedicated esports lounge earlier in 2016; it hosts weekly fight nights and esports competitions. Each month is dedicated to a particular competitive video game, like for example Mortal Kombat X, Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros, and of course the hugely popular League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive games.