PlayUSA Rewind: Esports Betting Gets Green Light In Nevada

Posted on April 1, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves across the gaming world.

As it has been well-documented, the majority of — if not all — casinos in the US have closed their doors. Sports leagues suspended games, canceled seasons and postponed major events.

Operators have scrambled to unearth ways in which to at least partially make up for lost revenue.

Enter, esports betting. And on the horizon, NFL Draft betting. The silver lining has shown itself.

On to the Rewind:

Esports betting gets green light in Nevada

The entertainment world has had a void for several weeks due to the coronavirus. No games. No sports. No avenue for legalized sports betting.

Gaming regulators in two states, however, have signed off on esports betting.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved wagering on the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League at each of the state’s sportsbooks. How many more events receive the green light in Nevada — or in any other state, for that matter — obviously depends on how much action is drawn.

Another state has dipped its toes into the esports betting waters.

Like Nevada, New Jersey requires operators to request approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement before taking bets on esports. The Garden State saw its first esports betting action late last year by allowing bettors to place wagers on the League of Legends World Championship Final.

As Rahul Sood, CEO of esports betting operator Unikrn, told Legal Sports Report, state regulators “are willing to move quickly” to approve esports betting — especially if “real” sports continue to be sidelined.

Oregon sports betting fleeced by SBTech

Before Oregon sports betting launched in late-2019, the Oregon Lottery projected confidence and optimism that the state’s regulated industry could flourish.

Alas, it appears as if the lottery underestimated the costs of having partner SBTech in its corner.

A monthslong court battle ultimately ended with SBTech releasing details of its contract with the Oregon Lottery. And as it turns out, the sports betting provider has billed its partner for at least $2.9 million, causing the lottery to potentially lose $5.3 million over the first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year.

This despite the Scoreboard betting app helping generate a net revenue of nearly $6 million.

As Legal Sports Report detailed, “Managed Service Fees” have led to most of the SBTech-related costs. Among them:

  • SBTech gets 16% of net revenue and minimum monthly payments of $300,000 for the first six months and $350,000 thereafter
  • After 36 months, the “Minimum Managed Service Fee” increases to 17%

Certainly, this all becomes convoluted and even confusing to many, so consider the following: At full maturity, Oregon sports betting revenue gets handcuffed by SBTech costs. For example, as laid out by LSR, in a $5 million month of gross gaming revenue, SBTech would receive more than $1 million.

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NFL Draft still on, NFL Draft betting still a go

Wrapping up the Rewind on a positive note is a conscious effort. With pro sports still sidelined, the news of the NFL Draft still expecting to go on as scheduled provides some much-needed joy.

While all events originally planned for Las Vegas have been scrubbed, the draft will still take place. As such, draft betting is still alive and well at legal sportsbooks.

Details of how the event will play out are reportedly still being worked out. For now, though, we can keep April 23-25 scheduled.

At many sportsbooks, operators are accepting bets on a variety of draft-related topics:

  • No. 1 overall pick
  • Order of first three picks
  • Over/under players selected by team and conference
  • Round of first kicker selected
  • Round of first punter selected

Far and away, LSU QB Joe Burrow remains the favorite to go No. 1 overall (FanDuel Sportsbook lists him at -3500) to the Cincinnati Bengals. Perhaps, though, the unexpected could happen, like Ohio State DE Chase Young taking the top spot. That’s good for a +1400 payout with FanDuel.

From esports to the NFL Draft, not all is lost for bettors.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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