When New Jersey became the first state to allow sports betting after the Supreme Court decision, they initially said there was no betting on “high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games.”
A few days later – after an outcry from the esports community – they amended the law saying that betting on esports events is allowed, so long as every participant in the tournament is 18 or older.
Plot twist! The final NJ sports betting law allows betting on esports so long as every player in the competition is 18 or over. Still not ideal, but way better than before.
Wouldn’t shock me if social media input from the esports community had a real impact. GGWP
— Bryce Blum (@esportslaw) June 14, 2018
In traditional sports that isn’t a problem. Very few players in any sport have the ability to compete at the highest level before being able to vote. In esports, without a physical requirement, many people as young as 13 have been successful in their game. Players like Scrub Killa in Rocket League and Mongraal in Fortnite have been able to compete at that young age.
Still, they are the exception not the rule. But, because of players like them, the entry into the most popular esports leagues and events is often below that age threshold. For example, League of Legends’ LCS is 17, Rocket League’s RLCS is 15.
DOTA 2’s The International, which boasts the highest prize pool in esports, has no age requirement either. Epic Games hasn’t released competitive details for Fortnite but with the games massive popularity in teens, 18 would prevent a lot of the player base from competing.
Their are two main third-party tournament organizers in esports, Dreamhack and ESL. Dreamhack has no minimum age requirement, so it’s out.
So what does that leave? ESL is still in, so long as the game is rated for 18+. That means first person shooter’s like CS:GO and Rainbow Six: Siege should be good.
In terms of leagues that fit the age requirement, there are three big ones in America. The Overwatch League which boasts the highest franchise fees in esports at $20 million is good – just don’t bet on Shanghai. The Call of Duty World League which is a favorite of many NFL players and the NBA 2K League are both eligible as well.
Betting on esports is a huge business with people already wagering in-game items on games. There will be demand and betting could be the catalyst that raises the age requirement to become a pro in other titles.