On Friday, William Hill US announced that the sportsbook at the Downtown Grand Casino in Las Vegas would be taking wagers on this weekend’s IEM Oakland eSports event. Bettors have their choice of wagering on which of the six teams will win the two-day tournament as well as matchup wagers on Saturday’s two League of Legends quarter-finals.
Hills’ eSports debut came courtesy of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which signed off on the plan following this week’s meeting of the state’s Gaming Policy Committee, which decided that branching out into eSports betting required only some regulatory tweaks rather than new legislation.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval called the announcement “a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the eSports capital of the world.” Sandoval credited Hills and the Downtown Grand for being active partners of the Gaming Policy Committee and for “expanding the potential of one of our oldest industries.”
Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and chairman of the Downtown Grand, called Friday’s announcement “an excellent example of a public/private partnership working together to create a new innovative way of gambling which will have a positive impact on state revenues.”
William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said a lot of work had gone into this moment, which he said reflected the company’s commitment to innovation. Asher also thanked Sandoval, state regulators and Schorr “for all their efforts to keep Nevada at the forefront of the gaming industry.”
Hills may go down in history as the first US-licensed sportsbook to take an eSports wager but it certainly won’t be the last, particularly given Thursday’s deal between Betradar and DOJO Madness to supply the global betting industry with eSports pre-match and in-play betting odds.