RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada lawmaker wants the state Legislature to create a sanctioning body modeled after the Nevada Athletic Commission to regulate Esports games that pit video players and teams against each other for money and championships.
Republican state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer told the Reno Gazette Journal in a story published Tuesday that the creation of a state oversight body could help attract events and boost tourism in Las Vegas and northern Nevada.
“That’s the hope,” he said, pointing to Athletic Commission regulation of mixed martial arts. “That partnership with those events really helped that industry explode and grow to what it is today.”
The bill is scheduled for a first hearing Wednesday before the state Senate Judiciary panel.
Under the measure, the governor would appoint a commission executive director and commissioners to regulate Esports and require sponsors to get permits for events with purses of more than $1,000. The commission would need state funding.
Nevada has an industry-leading state Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board. The Legislature in 2019 created a Cannabis Compliance Board to regulate the state’s lucrative legal marijuana market.
Kieckhefer said Esports is growing and that nearly 5,300 tournaments were held worldwide in 2019, attracting more than 27,000 players and millions of viewers live or online. The industry is expected to bring in nearly $1.6 billion in annual revenue by 2023, compared with $950 million in 2020.
An estimated $15 billion a year is wagered on Esports globally, Kieckhefer said, putting it at a level with golf and tennis.
He said the new 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, could host huge events like the typically sold-out League of Legends World Championship now held at rotating venues each fall.
The 2018 final held in Berlin, Madrid and Paris was watched by