Esports Betting Will Go Live in West Virginia
Written by Phoebe
Published date · March 18, 2022 | Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 | Read Time: 2 mins
A bill concerned with sports betting, introduced by West Virginia senators in February is about to pass! This bill is a little different from others in the state as its primary focus is to allow for betting on the rapidly growing esports industry. This change would allow for licensed sportsbooks to offer regulated esports betting. So what could championing esports as a recognized sport mean for bettors the state?
Esports for those who are not familiar with it are competitive video games played, a game of skill, by professionals for the entertainment of spectators. Some of the most successful esport titles include Call of Duty, League of Legends, Valorant, Dota 2, and Counter Strike. More than simply young adults playing video games, esports is a multi-billion-dollar industry that not only survived the pandemic but is growing at a staggering rate. Esports and the betting world in the states has not been a linear path as legislation has struggled to regulate and keep up with the fast-paced industry. This bill, HB 4826, introduced by Senator Moore Capito, is sponsored by six others and receives support from many of its residents. It is also one of the fore-runners addressing esports betting in the US. If Governor Jim Justice signs this esports betting bill, it will join those of Nevada and New Jersey. The bill defines several terms presumably for legal transparency and easier regulation, most notably the term “esport event.” The updated bill defines this as “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.” West Virginia getting ahead of the esports curve will certainly cater to both new and old customers, with the potential for huge benefits to the state. A recent press release from Esports Technologies, a global industry leader in providing esports betting services, stated that they expect $70 million in revenue over the course of 2022. There is huge potential in the states and the world to take advantage of this market. Esports viewer numbers are comparable to some of the top sports in the US. For example, League of Legends’ World Championship in 2019 had over 100 million viewers, almost identical to the NFL Super Bowl in the same year. In addition, a significant proportion of esports viewers are of legal gambling age, and interest is growing in the states and globally, with one of the more optimistic predictions from Market Insights putting the projected value of the 2027 global esports betting market at $20.7 Billion. Any state that jumps on this bandwagon will likely profit from the esports betting industry. Provided West Virginia and other states that legalize esports betting can provide clear and safe gambling practices, and the industry will grow at a staggering rate. This is sure to provide huge amounts of entertainment to customers and profits to any of the states that can keep up with the fastmoving esports scene. We cannot wait to see what happens next!