Power Up: New Jersey Approves Expansion Of Esports Wagering With New Licensee

Written By Derek Helling on January 25, 2022

ESports wagering in the Garden State will soon move on from the 8-bit era. The Esports Entertainment Group (EEG), a company with offices in Hoboken, is ready to take the niche of eSports betting to the next level in New Jersey with its new gambling license.

EEG’s license is the first of its kind and will represent a massive expansion of betting options for eSports enthusiasts in the state. New Jersey might not be the only place where the platform operates for long, too.

What the license means for eSports betting in NJ

In the past, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has authorized NJ sportsbooks to accept action on individual eSports events as the operators put in requests. That’s led to markets on League of Legends tournaments, for example.

With EEG’s approval, such markets are about to become far more common. EEG’s license only allows it to take bets on eSports. However, instead of having to ask for permission for every event, it has a bright green light to take action on an array of events.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be the first eSports-dedicated operator to be granted the right to commence business in New Jersey,” said Grant Johnson, the company’s CEO. “We are thrilled to be playing such an important role in this fast-growing market with the launch of our first eSports wagering offering in the United States.”

In addition to LOL events, bettors should expect markets on Call of Duty, Overwatch, and other high-profile eSports fixtures. New Jersey’s online gambling market might be a forerunner for EEG’s North American expansion.

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EEG has a foothold in other markets

New Jersey’s regulatory landscape being receptive to eSports wagers certainly makes it ideal for EEG’s products. It’s a good reason why the company chose to put its North American headquarters in the state. Other markets could be as conducive as well.

EEG has a sponsorship deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, giving them a foothold in Pennsylvania. It plans to hold competitions at the Lincoln Financial Center in Philly, where the Eagles play their home games.

However, the regulatory landscape in PA currently isn’t as accommodating. The rules in that state don’t allow wagering on eSports, though bills to change that have surfaced in the state’s legislature in the past. As EEG only takes action on eSports, it wouldn’t make much sense for EEG to get serious about PA until the status changes.

The same goes for other jurisdictions where EEG has a presence. Those include California and Massachusetts. EEG also counts the Los Angeles Kings and New England Patriots among corporate partners. Currently, all sports betting; including eSports, remains illegal in those states.

For the time being, then, EEG’s operations will focus on NJ. If it’s successful in the Garden State, it will act as proof that there is demand for the markets in North America. Nevada, Tennessee, and West Virginia might be next.

Photo by Wayne Parry / Associated Press
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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