Nevada grants approval for betting on ESL Pro League

Nevada gamblers have a new option for action after state regulators approved wagering on an esports event.

The ruling came Wednesday, permitting certain types of bets on the ESL Pro League Season 11’s North American competition, which got under way Thursday.

Six teams -- Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Furia Esports, MIBR and Swole Patrol -- are entered in the $219,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event, which is scheduled to run through April 12.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved three types of wagers on the competition: head to head, winner of each match, and overall season winner. Bookmakers intending to accept wagers on the ESL Pro League must submit an email application to the gaming board.

Individual bookmakers are allowed to establish their own odds on the competition, but rules regarding the wagers must be provided to the public.

The move comes at a time when Nevada’s sportsbooks are seeing little action with the sports world at a virtual shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Nevada casinos have shut their doors to gamblers because of the outbreak. However, online bets still may be placed, where legal.

Nevada first accepted wagers on an esports event in November 2016, with casinos posting odds for the Intel Extreme Masters Oakland League of Legends tournament.

New Jersey started taking esports bets in November 2019, beginning with the League of Legends World Championship.

The ESL Pro League Season 11 was due to feature 24 teams from around the world battling in Malta, with the final six playoff teams due to compete in Broomfield, Colo., for shares of a $750,000 prize pool.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tournament to move to an all-online format, with the competition divided into two separate divisions with no unifying playoffs. Eighteen European teams are now vying for pieces of a $531,000 prize pool, and six North American clubs are competing for portions of a $219,000 prize pool.

The North American group stage runs through April 3. The top two teams advance to the playoff upper bracket, and the third- and fourth-place teams move on to the playoff lower bracket. The winning team will earn $75,000, and the runner-up will receive $30,000.

--Field Level Media