If all goes well, New Jersey gamblers may soon be able to place a wager on an esports tournament, an award show and a competitive eating tournament– all in the same day if they so desire.
The New Jersey Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee unanimously approved bill S2670/A637 earlier this week. The bill expands the list of sporting events approved for wagering to permanently include any skill-based attraction, including awards competitions, competitive eating contests and esports tournaments.
The bill now moves to the Senate. If approved, it would have to be approved by the governor to become law.
Esports wagering is currently allowed, but events require specific approval from the state director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. The state also previously allowed wagering on the Academy Awards but only after special approval from the division.
The bill sets a wager limit of $100 or a win limit of $500, whichever is greater, if the state director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement determines there is an absence of appropriate policies and procedures in place to monitor the integrity of the sporting event.
The bill clarifies that gambling on esports tournaments sponsored by or affiliated by high schools, or esports competitions where the majority of participants are under 18-years-old, would be prohibited.
“Senator, I never miss the hotdog eating contest from Coney Island,” Sen. James Beach, (D-6), told Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-12) during the hearing. “You watch it and you tell me if you could compete with those guys. There’s a lot of skill.”