New Jersey just set a record for sports betting for the month of January with $540.1 million wagered, while sportsbooks saw their revenue rise nearly threefold to $54 million for the month.
While the NFL’s Super Bowl championship game played on Feb. 2 undoubtedly had a lot to do with the amount of money wagered, the state has become the country’s sports betting capital since the Supreme Court struck down the federal law prohibiting wagers on sports in 2018. Now New Jersey is looking to capitalize on that by expanding into esports.
A sporting chance
Esports is huge and getting bigger. Data analytics firm Newzoo says esports global revenue surpassed $1 billion in 2019, and viewership is expected to hit 646 million people by 2023, a 9% compound annual growth rate, according to Business Insider Intelligence. Moreover, the biggest names in technology, including Alphabet‘s Google, Apple, and Microsoft, are competing for market share for live-streaming esporting events.
China’s Tencent is the world’s biggest esports company, generating over $20 billion from the industry, but Sony is quickly gaining ground, while Activision Blizzard and Google are partnering to host esports events in the cloud.
In short, esports is a massive opportunity, which is why the gambling industry is naturally attracted to it.
A natural extension
New Jersey legislators recently introduced a bipartisan bill to legalize betting on esports, with a few exceptions, such as events sponsored by or affiliated with a high school,