On Tuesday, a Nevada advisory group approved the first step toward expanding the state’s multibillion-dollar esports business, though it warned that the state would have to set up safeguards to protect against match-fixing and other forms of cheating.
The first-ever meeting of the eight-person Esports Technical Advisory Committee, which is set to meet every three months, took evidence from four experts covering various aspects of esports. These were defined by the Committee as competitions that had the potential to generate revenue if gamblers were allowed to bet through casino sportsbooks on the outcome of tournaments and games.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has already started to introduce esports betting, permitting wagering on some tournaments contests in 2020. The majority of the contests were approved for betting at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic had shut down most traditional sports leagues. While the Control Board approved wagering on a few contests in 2020, it has yet to receive a single request for wagering on any esports events in 2021.
Committee Chairman Paul Hamilton predicted that fact-finding and data collection would continue until the group’s next meeting, but that committee members will ultimately begin making recommendations to the Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Speaking about the ongoing process, Hamilton said that it is likely to take some time but that the next steps were to evolve discussions into focusing on forwarding progress. He also said that it was his aim to ensure that Nevada comes to represent the benchmark for esports betting regulation.
Ian Smith, of the Esports Integrity Commission, was one of the specialists who spoke before the committee, and he outlined some of the key factors that must be taken into account in order for players, gamblers, and casinos to feel secure.
The Commission, set up in 2015, is a nonprofit body that aims to investigate and prevent cheating in esports, and has identified four main methods of esports cheating. Cheating through the use of software was one of the main methods, along with online attacks that are designed to slow or disable an opponent, match-fixing, and doping.
Smith’s organization has recommendations on how to combat cheating, including banning cheaters from future participation and getting players to join the integrity association. Tighter regulations will also have an impact on improving the betting landscape, he added. According to Smith, those who cheat are becoming more adept at disguising their activities, but at the same time, competitors who feel they’ve been cheated are more likely to come forward.
According to the Commission, as much as 92% of match-fixing in esports is driven by betting fraud, with the majority of complaints being made against esports participants from Eastern Europe and China.
Esports betting is currently not legal in most US states, even in those that have legalized other forms of betting, with Nevada being one of the main exceptions.