The esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has welcomed the decision of the US Supreme Court that effectively allows each US state to decide for itself whether to legalise sports betting and how to regulate that betting. The coalition stated that its priority and mission is the “protection of the integrity of esports competition” and that it has long argued that the only way to do that in an environment where heavy betting already exists, albeit underground and illegal, is to bring it into the light and work with the regulators, betting operators and the sport to ensure integrity of competition.
Integrity Commissioner, Ian Smith, said: “The US is one of the world’s largest esports betting black markets. The action by Valve to shut down access to skins betting sites in 2016 had some impact, but a large number of American esports gamblers just moved to cash sites and continued betting in an unregulated environment, with all its attendant dangers to the bettors and to esports integrity.
“Recognising that people will continue betting, we welcome the decision that should mean that betting on esports can be brought into the light of good regulation well enforced and we look forward to working with state regulators, operators and esports organisations to make the shift to legalisation as smooth as possible with competitive integrity at the forefront of everyone’s thinking.”
He continued: “We have worked with the Nevada Gaming Control Board since 2016 and believe their system should be the model for other states. We hope the states can agree something consistent. Dealing with 50 different regulatory regimes will be a nightmare for all concerned and slow the transition from illegal betting to safe wagering. This situation also extends to more than 120 Tribal authorities. The Federal Government will also need to address the Wire Act to clear the way for profitable betting offerings – without that it’s hard to see how the current illegal markets will be displaced by legal ones. There is clearly much to be done.”
ESIC general manager, Kezra Powell, said, “It is clear that this decision is only the beginning. There is a great deal of work to be done to ensure that the implementation of legalised sports betting works properly for consumers, operators and sports. ESIC will work hard to ensure that esports is treated like every other sport through this process.”