Esports Entertainment Group files NJ gaming licence

Publicly listed gambling operator Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) has submitted its gaming licence with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).

Photo credit: New Jersey Future

If approved, the licence will allow EEG to operate and service bettors in the Garden State including through its esports-focused sportsbook VIE.gg. The company anticipates the NJDGE will approve its submission in the second quarter of 2021.

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Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group, commented in a release: “According to a study from data firm Interpret, over 50% of U.S. esports fans said they are likely to engage in esports betting so we are confident that demand will be strong. We are ready to move quickly with our esports-focused wagering platform rollout once the DGE permits us to do so, which we expect in the second quarter this year. 

“Securing access to what is currently the largest market for sports betting in the US will provide a strong advantage as we look to expand into additional markets in the US moving forward.”

New Jersey has been a frontrunner in sports betting since helping lead the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal PASPA in May 2018. In December, the Garden State reported nearly $1bn in wagers — marking the second consecutive month over $900m was generated in total sports handle.

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In addition to pushing sports betting at large, New Jersey has shown an acute interest in lobbying for legalised esports wagering through several initiatives.

Foremost is the bipartisan bill A637, which would permanently include esports in the state’s legal sports betting legislature, making its way through the Senate. The bill was approved in a unanimous decision by the lower house in late July of last year and has since been brought to the Senate where NJ lawmakers will have the final say of approval.

Two months later in September, the NJDGE approved licensed operators in the state to accept wagers on the VIE.gg Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Legend Series. The approval was one of several state stratagems part of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s larger goal to drive state-wide esports activity.

Esports Insider says: Despite esports betting interest growing in the US, it’s still trailing far behind other regions like Europe and Latin America. The country’s regulatory framework has signaled that its continued development will be a slow burn, though news such as EEG’s push towards licensed operation in New Jersey is another step in the right direction.

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