The introduction of sports betting in Pennsylvania has been a huge success, and now one Pennsylvanian State Representative wants to expand the industry still further by allowing esports betting to the state’s gambling options.
In a memo to colleagues Democrat Ed Neilson of Philadelphia said that the Keystone State should seek to ‘quickly’ expand the types of betting on offer in Pennsylvania to include esports.
Sports and Esports Betting in the United States
Currently, 32 states of the union accept legal sports bets of some form, with a number of other states seeking to legalize sports betting at some point in the near future. In Pennsylvania, over the course of 2022, sports betting in the state raised more than $401 million in revenue, a massive 18% increase from 2021.
That revenue came from a reported $5.2 billion spent by Pennsylvanians on sports betting in 2022, an increase of $0.5bn from 2021.
According to the Fortune Business Insights organization, estimates show that the esports industry was worth $1.2 billion in 2022, which could swell to $5.5 billion by 2029. Furthermore, the esports industry continues to grow, with Newzoo research organization stating that the global audience for esports will increase by another 8.7% in 2023 to almost 532 million, which will generate around $1.38 billion in financial activity across the world.
Several American states are already starting to see the benefits of having esports on board, something that Pennsylvania seems keen to want to join.
While esports betting in the USA is still somewhat fragmented in that it is not as widely available as sports betting or other forms of gambling, there are a greater number of states now seeking to expand their legislation to include gambling on esports.
The number of states offering legal esports betting may increase soon after the memo released by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last Friday, January 27, revealed a new bill would seek to legalize esports betting in the state.
“The citizens of Pennsylvania are 54 percent stakeholders in the Pennsylvania gaming industry due to our stringent regulations and citizen-focused tax rates,” the memo read.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, online gaming has increased and Pennsylvania needs to be certain that our gaming industry is properly positioned so as to not lose its share of the market to surrounding states.”
And according to Representative Neilson, Pennsylvania should be the next to join the list by allowing retail and online esports betting.
“To capitalize on this up-and-coming industry, in 2021, New Jersey passed legislation to legalize gambling on esport sporting events, such as video game tournaments.
Similar legislation is being considered in other states.
Pennsylvania should quickly add esports to our gambling portfolio, bolstering our economy and the attendant tax revenue.
Therefore, I am introducing legislation to legalize betting on esports in Pennsylvania.”
Rep. Neilson also revealed that a dedicated esports arena in Pennsylvania would host a range of esports tournaments events.
Given the popularity of sports betting in the state, it seems to make perfect sense for Pennsylvania to capitalize on this huge interest in sports and esports betting by making this legislative change.
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