In New Jersey and eSports aficionados were reportedly given a special opportunity over the weekend after the eastern state’s sportsbooks were told that they could temporarily accept wagers on the 24 teams competing at the League of Legends (LOL) World Championship Finals.
According to a Friday story from CalvinAyre.com, citing an earlier report from EGR North America, this one-off trial came complete with a couple of caveats encompassing a provision that barred New Jersey sportsbooks from accepting any eSports bets worth over $1,000 alongside a prohibition on related in-game wagering.
The LOL World Championship Finals took place at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on Sunday and saw China’s FunPlus Phoenix comprehensively defeat European outfit G2 Esports to take home the prestigious Summoner’s Cup. CalvinAyre.com reported that this event also came complete with a $2.235 million prize pool while the winner walked away with a cool $834,000 in cash.
Although New Jersey launched a regulated sportsbetting market in June of last year, its rules reportedly prevent licensed operators from offering markets concerning any event where participants are under the age of 18. Although this stipulation was purportedly designed to prevent betting on high school athletic competitions, it additionally ruled out wagering on eSports as some of this sport’s participants can often be as young as 13.
Despite this age-related prohibition remaining in place, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement regulator decided to run a two-day experiment involving the LOL World Championship Finals so as to access how a larger eSports exemption would be received.
eSports is one of the fastest growing pastimes among young gamers with the 4,166 tournaments held in 2017 dishing out just over $1.1 billion in total prize money. While this event tally decreased to 3,489 for the whole of last year, participants were nevertheless rewarded with approximately $1.5 billion in cash, which is a figure that could very well have topped $2 billion come the end of 2019.