Earlier this week the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NVGCB) approved casinos to offer wagering on Counter-Strike – ESL Pro League Season 11: North America. This is the first time in 2020 that the NVGCB has approved an esports event for wagering.
The approval of wagering on this event is pursuant to the provisions of gaming regulation 22.1201 for “other events.” Only three types of wagers have been approved for Counter-Strike:
1. Head to head matchups
2. Winner of each match (best of 3)
3. Overall season winner
Acceptance of wagers on this event must cease prior to the beginning of each match. There is no in play or live wagering available for this esports event. The approval comes as Nevada sportsbooks are looking for new sports wagering options.
Only three of the four sportsbooks currently operating in Nevada are offering wagering on this esports event:
Caesars is the only sportsbook app currently operating in Nevada that isn’t offering wagering on Counter-Strike – ESL Pro League Season 11: North America. (Update, Caesars did post odds on events over the weekend)
In an effort to reduce travel, the regular season is currently taking place completely online instead of in live venues such as an arena. There are 24 teams in four groups participating in matches that started on March 16 and continue through April 9. The finals date hasn’t been announced yet. The current plan is that the final event will take place in a studio in Europe without fans.
Esports betting in Nevada
Esports betting isn’t new. There aren’t many esports betting events in Nevada but they’ve been occurring since 2016. The William Hill sportsbook at Downtown Grand was the first Nevada sportsbook to offer esports betting. In 2017 William Hill wagering on DreamHack Masters Las Vegas esports event featuring the video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and on League of Legends.
Why isn’t there more esports betting in Nevada?
Esports are considered “other events” for sports betting. Requests to take wagers on “other events” must take place individually. There are plenty of esports events throughout the year but interest in sportsbooks is typically on major professional sports leagues.
Today, Nevada sportsbooks are looking for any wagering options since there are no NBA, NHL, NFL, or Major League Baseball games taking place. There’s more time than normal for a sportsbook operator to seek approval to take wagers on different events.
New events, sports, and leagues are being offered on a regular basis right now. Interest in wagering on anything from esports to Sumo wrestling may start while casinos are closed.
If any of these new wagering options become particularly popular in Nevada they could be here to stay.