West Virginia Esports Betting Bill Passed, But What's Next?
West Virginia's esports betting bill passes. In exciting news for West Virginia’s esports fans and bettings fans alike, a previously proposed House Bill (HB 4826) that allows esports betting within the state has been accepted by the senate. As a result, West Virginia has now officially joined Connecticut as a state that allows esports betting in tandem with traditional sports betting. While esports betting is allowed in multiple states, the legal approach has varied from state to state. In particular, many states have had difficulty deciding where esports betting falls within existing betting regulations. With HB 4826 passing, as far as West Virginia’s lawmakers are concerned, esports betting will be the same as sports betting with no additional requirements or constraints. In contrast, New Jersey esports betting currently has a maximum stake of $100, and the maximum win from a single esports bet is capped at $500. Although the legal procedure for esports betting in West Virginia has progressed smoothly, it may take multiple months for this new law to be fully integrated into existing sports betting services in West Virginia.
What happens next? In West Virginia, within the context of betting laws, what qualifies as an esport has been clearly defined by HB 4826. The definition of an ‘esports event’ from the passed version of the bill is: “leagues, competitive circuits, tournaments, or similar competitions where individuals or teams play video games, typically for spectators, either in person or online, for the purpose of prizes, money, or entertainment.” By providing a clear definition, betting laws regarding esports can remain flexible, something desperately needed given how fast esports can change when compared to traditional sports. Almost overnight, some new esports titles gain success - and huge followings. While esports can rise and fall within a few years or at most a decade or the stability of traditional sports appears permanent once established. As the legal wording in West Virginia treats esports as sports and accommodates its fast-paced nature, bookmakers will be able to accept a wide range of bets and adjust to esports betting market demands without excessive red tape. Hopefully, bookmakers will be ready before the biggest esports events of this year. The Future of Esports Betting in the US While there is no esports betting legislation at a federal level, this is nothing new to those familiar with sports betting. Bookmakers are likely to seize the opportunity available in the growing number of states that have legalized esports betting, which presently consists of Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington - and now West Virginia. Unlocking the esports betting market’s potential will undoubtedly luxuriously reward any bookmakers who successfully manage to access these - without tripping over the state-by-state laws. Meanwhile, US esports bettors in a growing number of states will be ecstatic that they can finally legally enjoy placing a gaming wager on their favorite esport. We suspect that esports bettors can look forward to an increasing number of states, esport bet types, and sportsbooks to choose from in the near future!