Breaking Down New Jersey’s New Esports Bill

  • New Jersey is moving closer to esports betting regulation.
  • SB 2986 approves esports betting in the state, and was introduced on September 22.
  • The bill comes with some restrictions on the definition of esports.

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey State Senator James Beach (D-Cherry Hill) has introduced a bill to classify esports betting as a form of internet gaming.

The bill, NJ SB 2986, would allow esports betting to take place at New Jersey’s many online casinos.

Currently, esports betting is mostly the province of international sportsbooks, and more competition in the space can only be a good thing.

The bill defines esports with a few conditions attached. None of the conditions are likely to limit many events, but it is possible.

The first condition is that any wagerable esport has to be approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. This is straightforward – all wagerable events must be approved by the Division in order for bettors to wager on them in NJ.

The next condition is that one-or-more participants compete against each other – or the casino – in a game where the result is not determined solely by chance.

The inclusion of the “or the casino” clause is worth noting.

The final condition in the definition is twofold. Wagerable esports in New Jersey cannot be affiliated with or sponsored by a high school, nor can it contain a majority of players who are under the age of 18.

The bill notes that currently, sports wagering operators can technically offer odds on esports in New Jersey, but casinos and racinos cannot.

This is what it’s setting out to rectify. It does this by creating additional permits specifically for esports betting.

In addition, the bill states that those permits do not count against the cap on wagering licenses that apply to casinos in New Jersey.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on September 22, 2022. It has since been referred to the Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee within the Senate for review.