The eSports industry is a rapidly growing behemoth, which will eventually be more popular than the current traditional sports most people enjoy. The ever-growing market capitalization of the industry is a testimony to the fact that getting new customers or at least, viewers of various events is becoming easier and easier.
Many people tried to cash in as fast as possible with eSports, by either becoming team owners, professional players or even eSports journalists to provide coverage on dozens of tournaments happening every month. Due to such dedication from thousands of individuals, the US eSports industry grew to new heights. In fact, it can be considered as the catalyst of the global eSports scene. Most of the revenue comes from North America, due to the fact that most teams and tournaments are located there.
It is believed that advertising revenue itself, will soon grow to more than $200 million, while the market cap will reach $1 billion by the end of 2019.
Naturally, when there’s an emerging sport, there will always be platforms to place bets on said sport and eSports is definitely not an exception. However, eSports betting in the US isn’t quite as easy as other countries such as the EU region and South America. The gambling regulations in the country prevent companies from taking off to a large scale, or just foil their expansion before it even begins. Let’s find out why.
There is no such thing as a specifically eSports oriented regulatory framework in the United States, but there is one for online gambling. As of writing this article the market is not looking too bright for the participants, as the US government is very hostile towards the industry.
Right now, there is absolutely no legal way that a US-based operator can cater to local customers online. The only companies allowed to do so need to be located outside of the country, which is quite hard to understand. Why not allow local companies to offer their services, while also providing tax money for the government? Overall, it looks very similar to Australian regulation.
Furthermore, there seems to be no hope of having a legal online gambling sector in the United States anytime soon, as the country prefers to have specific states or spots for such activities and offline ones at that. Right now, Americans are forced to drive all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada or Miami, Florida to satisfy their gambling needs.
Needless to say, it has decreased the overall gambling activities in the country but has also damaged the industry quite a bit. Most casino owners are simply investing somewhere else.
Before including eSports in the US online gambling regulation, the sport itself needs to be recognized as a sector of the industry. As of yet, the official documentation refers to eSports as “other events”, where online poker is located as well. Due to such a classification, very little can be done to customize the law for the eSports industry.
Furthermore, introducing nation-wide legislation is going to be extremely hard for the federal division of the country. Very few states will be willing to allow eSports betting, and even fewer who’d allow online gambling as a legal option. Although it’s clear that most of their population satisfies its gambling needs through foreign companies.
The increased demand on eSports betting options in the US is guaranteed to sway the lawmakers one way or another. Simply looking at how much money is being taken out of the local economy due to gambling, is sure to change their minds eventually. However, how fast that “eventually” will come cannot be said directly. The eSports industry still needs to prove itself as capable of growth which will most likely not happen on a large scale by 2020.
Therefore, as of yet, eSports betting in the US is illegal if you do so through an US-based company.
The legal gambling industry in the United States is able to rake in more than $300 billion from their offline operations alone. Therefore it is easy to imagine how much online gambling platforms would generate if they were allowed in the country. It is still baffling to believe that the government would prevent local companies while allowing foreign ones to cater to their population.
In terms of tradition, the Americans are quite gambling friendly, and usually much more knowledgable with risk management, therefore introducing legal US eSports betting platforms would be quite a hit, and maybe that’s their main issue, that if too much is available then the collateral damage would be high as well.
When it comes to the population’s desire, it’s easy to say that it’s there. The eSports industry is the largest in the USA, UK, South Korea and China, which means that there’s a larger pool of potential customers.
Furthermore, the operators would have an even larger influx of players due to the tournaments and events happening on US soil, which guarantees local players abilities to track each and every game. If EU-based players bet on, only one game a day, the US players would bet on three at least.
Many professional eSports players hail from the United States. In fact, most of the games that are now fully fledged eSports have the US audience to thank for their success. Games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Warcraft III were most played by US citizens, therefore offering betting options on these specific games would be enormously lucrative.
Having US fans, following US players would do wonders for the US eSports betting industry, but alas, the lawmakers don’t see it this way.
At this point, all that the players can do is go for the next best thing. The UK or any other EU-based company.
As already mentioned multiple times in the article, it is impossible to register on a US-owned online gambling platform, regardless of the niche it follows. Every eSports betting website needs to be located elsewhere in the world, therefore it’s best to choose only the most reliable ones.
These operators can be found in regions such as the EEA. This is due to the region’s standards when it comes to legal frameworks for gambling operations. Most of them offer fair and manageable guidelines for the operators, which later ensures better odds for the players themselves.
The future of eSports betting in the US is completely reliant on foreign companies willing to cater to US customers, which not many do actually. It all comes down to confusing laws that need to be followed and not that many people willing to participate in the first place.
Naturally, there are some standards that US regulation needs to follow. Which is the exclusion of fraudulent platforms offering services to their population. There is some kind of filtration of which company is eligible, but the sheer amount of loopholes in the legislation prevents the countermeasures from being nearly as effective as expected of them.
The most likely companies to pass the filtration process are the ones located in the EEA, as already stated, but always make sure that you check their license. To do so, you’ll have to visit the regulator’s website that provided them with a license. For the UK that would be the Gambling Commission.
Nearly every country’s gambling regulator has a website where the license can be searched and confirmed for authenticity. But it’s recommended that US eSports betters go for UK-based companies.
In general, there are no restrictions on what game you can bet on. It’s mostly about what games are most popular in the United States. Most US eSports betting enthusiasts go for League of Legends or Call of Duty, due to their popularity in the region. Although CS: GO bets are much more lucrative, it’s a more European game due to the number of European fans.
Alternatives can be games such as Hearthstone, Warcraft III and a newly emerging eSports called Rocket League.
There is much room for growth in terms of eSports in the United States. All that needs to be done is the government needs to be convinced of the population’s risk management skills and the economic benefit of featuring local online betting operators. Unless this is accomplished before eSports truly takes off as a legitimate sports industry, the US is bound to fall behind all the revenue.
Furthermore, the offline gambling industry is bound to suffer as well, due to more and more websites targeting American players. If we had to explain it in one sentence, it would look something like this.
“For the player – no issues, for the country – lost of issues”.
We’re happy to say that as a player you can simply lay back and find a trustworthy eSports betting website outside of the US, without having to worry about the law.