Because all major professional sports leagues have canceled or postponed their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Summer Olympics have even been pushed back to 2021, sporting events for gamblers to bet on have become few and far between.
The natural next step seemed to be to allow esports to fill the gap. Last month, Nevada expanded sports gambling opportunities in the state when it approved gambling on season 11 of the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League.
Now, the regulatory body has authorized three more leagues for wagering: Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ:ATVI) 2020 Overwatch League, and Tencent's (OTC:TCEHY) 2020 North America League of Legends Championship Series and 2020 League of Legends European Championship.
Esports betting has been legal in Nevada for a while, but expanded to New Jersey last November when the state authorized wagers on the League of Legends World Championship Final. Both states also just approved betting on NASCAR iRacing, limiting it, though, to the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, which features real NASCAR drivers.
Casinos have been slammed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, as all of their gaming houses have been closed to the public and they're trying to survive on online gaming opportunities. Even in Macao, China, the world's largest casino market, gamblers have all but evaporated from the resorts causing revenue to dramatically plunge.
Esports, because of its popularity, may be one method of offsetting that decline.