Esports is a growing industry, and it’s no secret that the number of sporting events taking place over the summer is at a much lower number than during autumn and winter.
So could fully legalizing Esports betting be the key to combatting the seasonal slowdown in sports betting within the Empire State?
Sports is Slowing Down
We’re now into summer and we have recently seen the end of the NBA season won by the Golden State Warriors. The NHL finals are currently underway between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche. And the new NFL season doesn’t get underway for another few months yet.
The only major US sport still going is MLB, with sporadic events in international sports such as Formula 1 and Tennis. This leads to fewer betting markets being available for bettors to place wagers on and explains why NY has now seen its lowest figures posted for a single month in terms of bets handled.
This is something operators and the state will want to correct, especially when operators like BetMGM are beginning to cut back on marketing budgets. Partly due to the fact they want to reduce costs during a period of slow business, and also in response to the state’s high tax rates.
Could Esports Be The Answer?
The key to turning around the fall in bets handled and increasing state tax revenue from sports betting, would be to offer more to customers. One way they could do this is to expand their current market offerings.
Some sportsbooks in NY focus heavily on local teams, and others will include full coverage of national events. But international events are far lacking from what is offered in some other states and even countries.
One popular market that could really help turn around the seasonal slowdown is Esports, the industry of competitive video gaming. It is expected that in the USA alone, the viewership of Esports could become as high as 46 million by 2023.
Now Esports has a long and illustrious history, with events having taken place as far back as the 80s. But in recent years, thanks to sporting events being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Esports has taken off in a really big way.
Due to the fact that many tournaments could operate online, including big ones such as the FIFA ePremier League, it gave people competitive entertainment to watch. People flocked to watch tournaments online via platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, and soon began following a number of Esports titles from CS:GO to Rocket League.
Many of these Esports titles have already established betting scenes around the world, with the growth of the industry booming in recent years. And with many events held over the summer months such as the RLCS Spring Major which follows on from this year’s Winter Major, it could be a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this new popularity to fill the lull in US sports.
The Current Legal Status of Esports Betting in NY
As it stands, Esports betting is not fully legalized in NY. In fact, there are only four states where Esports betting is fully legalized. These are Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
That said, Esports betting isn’t 100% illegal in NY, because it is regulated. But regulations around it are much more complex than with traditional sports. This is why currently, you will not find any NY sportsbooks offering markets on Esports events.
However, with the summer slowdown, it could push operators into exploring the Esports betting market and deciding to meet the restrictions it comes with in order to boost their offerings throughout the summer.