Since the Supreme Court decided to strike down PASPA, we’ve been wondering when a state would allow betting on an esports competition. On Thursday, New Jersey decided to pull the curtain back a fold by allowing sportsbooks to take action on the League of Legends World Championship this weekend.
The best-of-five finals will take place on Sunday at 7 a.m. EST in Paris. G2 Esports will face FunPlus Phoenix for $1 million and the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup.
Sportsbooks waste no time in setting lines
The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement announced the decision Thursday morning. By the afternoon, Borgata had prices at its retail location on the marina in Atlantic City.
“Borgata is proud to be at the forefront of this significant milestone as we look to engage with future generations of esports fans as well as traditional sports fans,” said Marcus Glover, President & Chief Operating Officer for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “We are grateful to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for their partnership in helping advance such an innovative initiative.”
More books posted prices on Friday. FanDuel Sportsbook was the first to get prices online and has the teams as -110 co-favorites. PlaySugarHouse has -112 for the match and the first three maps. FoxBet has the match priced at -111.
New Jersey bettors will be able to bet in-person at Borgata or through a legal betting app in the state. There will be pre-game action, along with betting in-game on round winners and overall winners.
Has esports betting arrived?
Yes, esports betting has arrived now that it is available across several sportsbook apps in NJ. It’s not for everyone; unless you follow it closely, it’s not easy to follow the gameplay. You might not understand how this is a popular thing. But with the investment in esports arenas and college programs around the country, the genre may be ready for its moment in the sun.
Here’s the big question: will this one-off event perform better in betting handle than the Oscars? That was built up for weeks following the Super Bowl and it did around $750,000 in volume. This event may not get that much attention. However, this will be a good first test to gauge the potential for esports betting with it being one of the bigger events of the year.