What are eSports?
Electronic sports, or popularly known as eSports, are video game contests that are usually held in the form of multiplayer tournaments or leagues in which professional video game players compete against each other solo or in teams. Although the term eSports was first used in the early 1970s, it didn’t develop into a full-grown sport until the early 2010s. Both players, game developers, and tournaments organizers have worked hard to up the popularity of eSports and bring it closer to the masses, but the first major eSports tournaments is considered to be the Dota 2 International held in 2011, which was organized by the game developer Valve and offered a prize pool of $1,000,000.
Fast forward a few years, and eSports have become an industry worth billions. League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS GO tournaments are watched by millions of people around the world, and a good portion of fans have made a routine of betting on their favorite players or teams on eSports betting sites.
Is esports betting legal in New Jersey?
Following the changes to the law surrounding betting on professional video gaming (eSports) in New Jersey in 2019 and the bi-partisan passing of Bill A637 in June 2021, eSports betting has been legalized in the Garden State, and eSports betting sites NJ are allowed to offer odds for eSports tournaments and leagues.The first eSports bet was placed in 2019, on the 2019 League of Legends World Championship finals, and that paved the way for further eSports events to gain permission.
So, eSports betting is now fully legal in New jersey. Notably, the eSports betting industry is still in its beginnings in New Jersey, but many of the top NJ betting sites are already offering odds for the major eSports markets beside their sports betting offering. Currently, there are 15 sportsbooks that offer odds for major eSports competitions, and anyone that’s over the age of 21, is physically located in the state of New Jersey, and is keen on placing a real money bet on eSports can do it legally at one of these sites.
How New Jersey legalized esports betting
The first eSports betting platform that paved the way for others to follow was VIE.gg - an eSports betting site owned and operated by Esports Entertainment Group - a company based in London with offices in Hoboken, New Jersey, and partnered with Bally’s Atlantic City to operate legally in New Jersey. Namely, VIE.gg was given a five-day ‘soft play’ period by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The NJDGE administrators liked what they saw, which marked the official launch of eSports betting in NJ.
One major difference when compared to sports betting in NJ is that punters won’t find odds for live events as of yet. Although live betting on eSports will surely be a feature offered by the operator (and other legal operators to follow), it’s not available right now.
With the launch of VIA.gg, the Esports Entertainment Group tried to bring eSports betting closer to the masses and hosted a two-day Madden NFL video game tournament at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 19 and 20. The event marked the first sanctioned eSports betting event in the United States.
The most popular eSports game types
There are countless eSports games and tournaments in existence, and the market is constantly expanding. Game developers and organizations are hosting tournaments and leagues both online and offline, and in various formats. However, before you start your eSports betting journey, it’s crucial to get familiar with the most popular games to better understand the odds at eSports betting sites NJ.
First-Person Shooter (FPS)
First-Person Shooter games, popularly known as FPS, are games in which the player has a first-person point of view of the character that he/she controls. Most FPS games feature firearm weapons, and the character is usually equipped with one. The objective of FPS games is for the player to combat against other human players in PVP style, or against bots (AI players). The most popular FPS game, and the biggest eSport market in the world currently is CS: GO.
Developed by Valve, it regularly has around 1 million concurrent players on Steam, and the Major CS: GO tournaments are some of the most-watched eSports events in the world. They include the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships, CS:GO S-Tier Events, CS:GO A-Tier Events, and more. The prize pools of the Majors often succeed at $1 million.
Other popular FPS games that eSports betting sites NJ provide odds for include:
- Call of Duty
- Team Fortress
- Rainbow Six Siege
Battle Royale games
Another game type with an enormous player base and fan base, Battle Royale games were all the trend in the past few years - led by Fortnite and PUBG. The concept has many similarities with First Person Shooter games: the characters usually carry a weapon of some sort and the objective is to survive the Battle Royale and eliminate all the enemies. The point of view can be interchanged between first person and third person, and the biggest difference between FPS and Battle Royale games is that in the latter, a given number of players is placed on a map, and the aim is to be the ‘last one standing’.
Some of the most popular Battle Royale games include:
- PUBG Battlegrounds
- Apex Legends
- Call of Duty Warzone
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
Many old-school gamers believe that MOBA games started the eSports trend, and they’re not far from the truth. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games are games played in a large map (or arena), and there are two (or more) opposing teams. The main objective of the game is to win the map by combining strategy and skills to defeat your opponent across the many battles that take place on the map. The first MOBA game was the original DotA - a game scenario developed as a fan mode mod in the Blizzard Entertainment game Warcraft III.
The eSports market was kickstarted when Valve introduced Dota 2 and held the first major eSports tournament with a prize pool of $1,000,000 - The International. Many MOBA games have been gaining traction ever since, with League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth and Starcraft 2 leading the way. Millions of players play and watch MOBA tournaments, and it’s one of the biggest eSports betting markets in the world. The most popular MOBA games include:
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
- Heroes of Newerth
- Arena of Valor
Widely considered as the ‘classic eSports’, fighting games include titles such as Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken. They were among the first games in which players competed professionally, and the game is a fight between two players’ characters in combat using various punches, kicks, and special attacks. The most popular fighting games for which eSports betting sites NJ offer odds include:
- Street Fighter V
- Mortal Kombat X
- Super Smash Bros
Sports games are essentially game titles on popular sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and more. Most of these games are simulations of real-life sports (with the exception of Rocket League), and the objective is to win the game. Sports games are usually played 1v1, and there are hundreds of online and offline tournaments hosted all around the world. The games for which NJ sports betting offer odds include:
- FIFA (EA Games soccer game)
- Madden (Football game)
- NBA2K (Basketball)
- Rocket League
Racing games are video games in which the players race against each other at the same time. On the contrary to other eSports, the players in racing games are using complex simulators to mimic real-life racing. Formula 1, the biggest racing sport in the world, even has its own eSports competition named Formula One eSports Series. Other popular racing games include:
- Formula 1 eSports Series
- Gran Turismo Sport
- Project CARS
Digital card games implement a format in which players play 1v1 in a turn-based scenario. Each card has specific features that can be used to cast spells, attack, or perform other actions. The most popular card game in eSports is Hearthstone, but others include:
- Magic: The Gathering Aren
- Legends of Runeterra
History of esports betting in New Jersey
Esports betting in NJ was legalized after state legislators passed Bill A637 in June 2021, and the first site to offer betting on eSports is VIA.gg. However, given the popularity of eSports and the rapid growth of the industry, other legal NJ gambling sites are expected to follow soon and offer odds for the biggest eSports tournaments. What a time to be a gamer!