NJ Expands Its Role as Leader in eSports: Launch of eSports Innovation Center at Stockton University Has NJEDA Funding
Insight provided by C.J. Fisher, Partner, and Kimberlynn M. Harrison, Associate, Fox Rothschild

The New Jersey eSports industry has leveled-up again. In a memorandum of understanding with Stockton University, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) recently supported the creation of an eSports Innovation Center at Stockton’s Atlantic City campus. NJEDA will provide $200,000 for funding and staff.

The Innovation Center will work with private sector companies, colleges and universities to create skill-based programs. On the technology side, it will work to identify eSports technology opportunities and coding challenges and will support eSports related research at New Jersey schools.

The goal of the project is to help establish New Jersey as the hub of the eSports industry in the United States. The project will also create opportunities to enter the expanding eSports industry for New Jersey businesses and workers.

What this means for wagering on eSports in New Jersey
New Jersey already has a growing relationship with eSports in regard to the gambling industry. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) defines permissible “sports event” as “all professional electronic sports and competitive video game events that are not sponsored by high schools, do not include high school teams, and do not include any participant under the age of 18 years.” DGE first welcomed bets placed on eSports through the League of Legends World Championship in November 2019. Wagerers were not permitted to bet more than $1,000 on the championship and in-play betting was not allowed.

Concerning new eSports events to wager on, the DGE’s regulations require written notification at least 72 hours prior to offering a new category of event or type wager. This notice is required for regulators to assess the policies and procedures regarding an event’s integrity. The DGE has approved betting on eSports leagues/events including the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series, Vie.GG Legend Series (CS:GO) and the League of Legends World Championship. The DGE’s approval of wagering on these eSports events continues to help New Jersey establish itself as a national leader in the eSports industry.

The Innovation Center anticipates working with the DGE and independent organizations that govern wagering integrity in sports and eSports events, to help foster New Jersey’s continued development as a leader in the United States for regulation and integrity practices for eSports.

New Jersey is not the only state that currently allows eSports wagering. Nevada, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington have authorized or permitted eSports betting, and additional jurisdictions have followed suit recently in 2021.

As more states become comfortable with eSports betting and awareness and education surrounding eSports advances, the number of jurisdictions legalizing and regulating eSports wagering is expected to increase. The Innovation Center’s contribution to eSports technology and education could play a significant role in accelerating that process and promoting New Jersey as a hub for the eSports industry nationally.