The e-Sports industry is rapidly transforming into one of the most lucrative sectors in the world. As technology advances and becomes more accessible, more people are turning to video games. Whether it’s playing to relieve stress after a long day or to try and make money from sponsorship, gaming player rates are on the rise.
Something that won’t shock you is America’s role on the global stage. Currently, only China can boast bigger e-Sports gaming revenues, with the US only slightly behind on $42 million. That means the role of individual states is significant, because they can determine how e-Sports markets will grow. Here are the ones that will have the biggest impacts.
The Buckeye State is full of potential. As it stands, a Senate Bill is going through the state’s Congress to legalize e-Sports betting online and in-person in OH. This would position the e-Sports market in the same bracket as traditional sports wagering in Ohio. Sports betting in Ohio has been flourishing ever since 2018, and there’s no reason to assume eSports wouldn’t follow the same trajectory.
Brands that can provide e-Sports betting services have a presence through sports gambling anyway, so the biggest platforms will already be available. Plus, the $1 million upfront fee and $500,000 in recurring payments aren’t extortionate for companies that stand to make tens of millions of dollars.
New Jersey has been at the centre of US gambling for more than a century. Being one of the only places where people could wager legally, it has a distinct advantage over the competition that it doesn’t want to relinquish. The Garden State, for instance, was quick to pass a bill after the Supreme Court repealed the PASPA in 2018.
Since then, there have been further developments that are designed to ensure NJ remains at the forefront of the e-Sports industry. Earlier in 2021, it was reported Atlantic City will invest $200,000 in a center that will make the region an e-Sports hub. According to research, it will generate $1.08 billion in global revenue in 2021 alone.
Nevada is another state where e-Sports betting is perfectly legal. Again, it’s not a massive surprise considering the state’s liberal take on gambling over the years. And, again, its history means it has an advantage over neighbors and peers that are trying to jump on the e-Sports bandwagon. After all, the main conventions all take place in Las Vegas.
The City of Sin is the cultural home of the sector, as highlighted by the fact that the annual e-Sports Business Summit is held in LV. The entire “ecosystem” is in attendance, making it a must-see for anyone interested or involved in e-Sports. Then, there’s the purpose-built HyperX E-Sports Arena, a 30,000 square foot building that hosts a competition stage, a 50-foot LED video wall and daily gaming stations.
The e-Sports environment in Michigan is slightly more complicated than in Ohio. While online gambling has been approved and is regulated by the MGCB, no one is quite sure whether e-Sports apply. This would normally be annoying if it weren’t for tribal casinos.
Native American tribes are autonomous and can override federal law, which is the case with e-Sports. The Little River Casino Resort is a land-based establishment that bypasses the MGCB and makes e-Sports more accessible with MI.
These are the biggest states for e-Sports right now. However, attitudes in the US are constantly evolving, so don’t be surprised if other regions experience growth in the future.