Regulators responsible for outlining sports betting regulation in the state have given the thumbs up for esports betting 48 hours after everyone was running around with hatchets in hand screaming about the death of the activity.
There was a time when the only video game you played was called Pong, and those in the know told kids they would never be professional athletes because they were too small.
Fast forward a few years, and as we stand in the mirror, plucking white hairs from our nostrils, things have changed. Video gaming is a professional activity, and it looks like the only impediment is your age.
While it may not have been a disaster for the NJ economy in the short term, given that passing legislation seems as quick as a granny in a zimmer frame getting off her seat to press the buzzer on the bus, the long-term harm was substantial.
Social media is a nightmare.
It’s hell on the Internet.
But it can also be used for good.
Esports gambling angels removed the restraints from their wings and flew into the faces of government officials on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else these people were twiddling while emptying their guts of toast and eggs.
Today, PlayNJ.com confirms that betting on esports is back on the menu, albeit with a navigatable caveat.
The new law came into play on Monday, and when it did, esports betting companies began reaching for the rat poison.
“A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants.”
Then on Wednesday, New Jersey officials released a set of Emergency Regulations confirming that betting on esports within the state is legal if every player in the tournament is aged 18+.
Here are the two relevant paragraphs:
“Sports event” means any sport, athletic contest or athletic event not prohibited by the Director, including all professional electronic sports and competitive video game events that are not sponsored by high schools, do not include high school teams and do not include any participant under the age of 18 years.”
A “prohibited sports event” includes all high school sports events, including high school electronic sports events and high school competitive video game events, and any electronic sports event in which any participant is 17 years old or younger.”
So, it no longer matters how big you are; it’s how old you are.
Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey. This is the right move for our state and will strengthen our economy. pic.twitter.com/Dw3AIXnFGY
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 11, 2018
Did some research looks like we are all good in New Jersey as long as all participants are over 18!
— Rahul Sood (@rahulsood) June 13, 2018
As did esports legal eagle, Bryce Blum.
Plot twist! The final NJ sports betting law allows betting on esports so long as every player in the competition is 18 or over. Still not ideal, but way better than before.
Wouldn’t shock me if social media input from the esports community had a real impact. GGWP
— Bryce Blum (@esportslaw) June 14, 2018
Who knows how long it will be before we see the first esport wager in the state? In the meantime, Senator Ray Lesniak will make the first live sports bet wagering $50 on France to win the World Cup at Monmouth Park, today. Borgata in Atlantic City follows soon after. Online and mobile betting begins in 30 days.