Esports betting is one of the fastest-growing sports gambling markets in the US. However, it’s currently not allowed in Massachusetts. And none of their six operating online sportsbooks have requested the ability to offer it so far.
That’s according to Massachusetts Gaming Commission spokesperson Thomas Mills, who told PlayMA this week that “no licensee has petitioned for changes to the sports wagering catalog that was approved ahead of the retail launch in January.”
Online sports betting launched in Massachusetts on March 10. Retail sports betting launched on Jan. 31.
How can sportsbooks request to offer esports betting?
There is a formal request process if a sportsbook wants to offer a sport not among the 69 currently available to MA sports bettors.
The operator must file a written petition requesting approval to offer odds on a new sport. That petition must include the following information:
- The name(s) and address(es) of the petitioner(s)
- The name of the sport
- Whether the sport is a new sport, or a variation or combination of sports already in the catalog
- The sportsbook operator(s) sponsoring the petition
- Summary of the sport and how betting will work, proposed house rules and how much the sport outcome relies on chance
- The name of the body that governs the sport
- A description of policies related to the sport’s integrity
There are several extra requirements if the petition is specifically for esports betting:
- The proposed location(s) of the esports event(s)
- The name of the video game and game publisher used for the event(s)
- The name of the esports event operator and the operator’s relationship to the video game publisher
- Rules and certification from a third party regarding the esports event and the event operator
Esports betting growing faster than overall sports betting
According to Absolute Reports, the COVID-19 pandemic helped spur the popularity of esports (video game competitions) and, thus, esports betting. Absolute Reports estimates esports betting will continue to grow at a 13.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2028. For comparison, that’s higher than the US sports betting market’s expected 9.1% CAGR through 2031, according to Transparency Market Research.
Translation: Esports betting is growing faster than US sports betting is, as a whole.
Absolute Reports says Caesars, Betway and Entain (co-owner of BetMGM) are among the major players in esports betting. Caesars and BetMGM already have online sportsbooks in Massachusetts. Betway will launch its MA product in January 2024.
The most popular video games for esports betting are League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.