A Nevada committee has wrapped up its main task and finalized regulations for expansion of esports wagering in the state in 2023.
The Nevada Esports Technical Advisory Committee voted Monday to forward the proposed regulations to the Nevada Gaming Control Board for consideration by the end of the year. The Board would then pass them along to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Monday’s meeting lasted fewer than 20 minutes.
It sets the stage for Nevada, especially Las Vegas, to be a leader in esports wagering in the U.S., hosting major championships and league events. Nevada has essentially held back esports wagering by requiring sportsbooks to seek approval every time they want to take wagers.
Under the new regulations, sportsbooks would know the events for which they can take wagers, and plan for them months in advance, and even promote them.
The committee made changes to a draft it considered at a meeting on Sept. 21. Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela told the committee that the biggest change shifts gaming-licensee decisions to accept esports wager from a per-league basis to a per-event basis.
“This change was made on the committee’s discussion concerning amateur events with prizes sanctioned by esports leagues and the difficulty in defining esports leagues,” Michela said. “With the proposed regulation before you, the concept of esports leagues is replaced with event organizers. The overarching intent of the potential changes is still to allow licensed books to accept wagers on esports events in the manner of traditional sporting events.”
Regulations spell out the process for sportsbooks to follow to accept esports wagers. They’re required to notify the Gaming Control Board on a quarterly basis about the operators for events on which they accept wagers.
The chairman of the Control Board is allowed to prohibit sportsbooks from accepting wagers on events conducted by certain operators if an issue develops with them.
Committee member Seth Schorr raised questions about how operators will be sanctioned organizations and whether the committee will be involved.
Michela said that wasn’t discussed at the previous meeting, but it would go with the current process in place for sanctioning organizations. Those organizations can request to be on the list or the Board chair can place them on the list.
“I would like to put it on the record that should these regulations be approved, an action item afterward, in the first quarter of next year, would be to have further discussion with the Board and the chair around this item to make sure there’s an efficient process,” Schorr said. “And this committee can continue to provide our experience to the Board as a very important part of these regulations.”
Committee member Che Chou agreed that this follow up was needed and said, “That’s the crux of how we’re going to be successful here with integrity.”
Committee member Robert Forbes agreed with those comments and added that thought should be given to a process on how the committee can advise the chairman of the Control Gaming Board.
Schorr said the committee has done a great job. He noted that the committee is nine months into the process with regulations they can be confident in submitting to the Gaming Control Board.
“That checks the box for job number one,” Schorr said. “We have to have clear regulations. That said, I do see quite a bit of follow-up work that needs to be done. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I do hope that as a committee, we have an opportunity to discuss the next steps once we see how the Board and Commission respond. Should they approve these regulations, I look forward to regrouping and seeing how the committee can help the licensees in our industry take advantage of these regulations. My concern is creating regulations that aren’t taken advantage of for any reason, while of course making sure the burden doesn’t fall on the Gaming Control Board, which it has in the past.”