SportsHandle and friends deliver another round-up of the week’s big developments in US sports betting.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Approves Betting On Counter-Strike

Looking to add betting options as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shutter markets for U.S. professional and college sports, the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved wagering for the eSports game “Counter-Strike: Global Operations” being conducted by the ESL Pro League.

It is the second offering added this week in the Silver State, which began taking wagers on chess for the ongoing 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament Wednesday. According to the archived approvals provided by the Nevada GCB, Counter-Strike will be the first eSports offering in the state since the 2017 “League of Legends World Championships” and fourth eSports offering overall.

Full story here.


It’s a tough time for the legalized sports betting industry of New Jersey, there’s no doubt about it. With all of the world’s major sports leagues on pause, March earnings for retail and mobile sportsbooks are sure to suffer as sports bettors are left looking for ways to stay in action.

But for poker players, specifically online poker players, the exact opposite is true. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic is keeping people indoors, especially in the Tri-State area where a “shelter in place” mandate has people staying in their homes for the foreseeable future. This has led to an explosion of action in the online poker scene as players in New Jersey, and around the world, are logging back into their online poker clients and trying to take their mind off the current situation by playing some cards.

Read more here.

As Coronavirus Disrupts Economy, Debate On Casino Bailout Intensifies

Steve Sisolak was in no mood to discuss bailouts.

Sisolak, a one-term governor of Nevada, had just finished outlining a comprehensive strategy for curbing the spread of COVID-19, the global pandemic that has led to the deaths of more than 20,000 people worldwide as of March 26. Sisolak’s “Stay At Home Nevada” plan is buttressed by a temporary shutdown of all non-essential businesses across the state, including more than 400 casino properties.

On that same day, March 17, MGM Resorts International took part in an emergency meeting with President Donald Trump on a potential bailout for the hotel industry. Although outgoing MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren lamented the company’s furlough of 70,000 employees, he expressed a desire to retain all of the workers as soon as possible, according to a transcript of the meeting. The White House Cabinet Room meeting took place hours before Sisolak’s address to the state. Eight days later, the U.S. Senate approved a massive coronavirus response stimulus package in a late-night vote.

Read more here.

It’s Official: Washington Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill

Washington State became the first state to legalize sports betting in 2020 when Governor Jay Inslee signed ESHB 2638 into law Wednesday afternoon. The new law allows for sports wagering at tribal casinos only, and on professional and college teams, though betting on Washington State teams is banned. The bill does not have a mobile component.

The new law is the first in the U.S. to broadly legalize tribal-only sports betting, and could be a model for other states to follow. North Carolina lawmakers did legalize tribal-only sports betting last year, but only at two casinos, and tribal casinos in Michigan can offer sports betting, both retail and online, under a bill that legalized sports betting for tribes and commercial casinos. There is also tribal sports betting in several other states, including Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oregon, but new laws were not required in those states.

Read more here.


This was not the way anyone in the poker industry would have wanted to see the game experience growth, but early numbers show that efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 are resulting in a significant boost to online poker.

Several counties in Pennsylvania are under stay-at-home orders and all PA residents have been advised to go out as little as possible and observe “social distancing” best practices. The dramatic increase in people spending most if not all of their day at home — and searching for ways to entertain themselves — is amping up the traffic at PokerStars, the lone regulated poker site in the state. (With all casinos temporarily closed, PokerStars is in fact the only legal real-money card room in the state for now.)

Read more here.