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Published: January 31, 2022

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

You have surely heard the good news. Esports betting is legal in the United States and it has been so since around 2017, more or less. Yet, to understand how the industry works a little better and where you may place legitimate wagers on esports competitions, you ought to know a thing or two.

The US does not regulate esports betting on a federal level. Rather, it’s down to each individual state to make a call on whether they should allow esports betting to be permitted. This is done based on a set of criteria that each gambling regulator determines themselves.

In January 2022, New Jersey granted a license to start operating as a regulated fully-focused esports betting company, becoming the first esports agency in the Garden State to do so.

Nevada, which legalized esports betting in 2017, is looking into expanding the scope of its own betting industry, and there are over a dozen more states that allow gambling on esports events today. To understand the current state of events a little better, we urge you to read on.

Where Is Esports Betting Legal in the US

There are 12 states that currently regulated esports betting in some form. We have listed them below so that you can jump to the state you are interested in. It’s interesting to note that many states have not passed any mentions of esports betting contests.

The likely explanation is that legislators were not aware that such an aspect of the industry even existed. However, some have been more prescient than others, seeking to introduce the language that allows esports gambling to exist and operate as part of the legalized sports betting framework.


  • Launch date: September 9, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 21

Arizona passed SB 1797 on April 15, 2021, which made it possible for esports fans to bet on competitive video gaming. The term “sports event” was used broadly to describe a range of activities, including collegiate sport or athletic events, Olympic events, and not least – esports.


  • Launch date: May 1, 2020
  • Legal betting age: 21

Colorado launched its sports betting market on May 1, 2020, and even though there was some initial confusion about what HB 1327 2019 meant, the definition of “sports event” was once again used as a blanket term.

Essentially, Colorado only prohibits three types of athletic activities that may not be bet on, as listed in section (8) of the bill.

“Prohibited sports event” means:

  • A high school sport event;
  • A video game that is not sanctioned by a sport governing body as an electronic competition; AND
  • Only with respect to proposition bets, a collegiate sports event.


  • Launch date: September 30, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 21

Connecticut is an early adopter when it comes to esports betting. The state launched on September 30, 2021, and it has explicitly included esports betting in the bill that went on to legalize the industry. HB 6451 allows:

The operation of sports wagering, e-sports and daily fantasy 27 contests both on and off of tribal lands;


  • Launch date: October 6, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 21

Louisiana too chose a blanket language that authorized gambling on “sports events.” SB 247 made sure that the specific language contained a reference to “competitive video game” or “electronic sports event.” The exact text reads:

“Sports event” means any professional sport or athletic event, any collegiate sport or athletic event, any amateur sport or athletic event, any Olympic or international sports competition event, any competitive video game or other electronic sports event, […]”


  • Launch date: December 10, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 21

Maryland became one of the latest states to launch esports betting with the state going live on December 10, 2021. HB 940 included language that detailed the availability of esports events as some of the permissible “sports events” covered by the legislation. The bill specified:

“An electronic sports or video game competition in which each participant is at least 18 years old;”


  • Launch date: 2017
  • Legal betting age: 21

Nevada is in fact one of the oldest places where esports betting has been allowed as an active contest. The idea of allowing esports betting was first floated in 2017, the same year SB 240 became law and allowed gamers to bet on esports and other events.

While Nevada blazed a trail, it also introduced some limitations. For one, the Silver State still controls what events maybe bet on. Before a betting agency may list any esports market, they must clear them with the Gaming Control Board, which understandably takes time and makes this process less flexible.

The Silver State has established a committee of industry experts who are advocating for a far more liberal esports betting industry which will allow license holders to come up with quick markets on the fly and not have to worry about passing regulatory muster at every turn.


  • Legalization date: May 26, 2021
  • Launch date: TBA
  • Legal betting age:

Nebraska is another state where esports betting was legalized in 2021. While the state has not yet launched for business at the time of writing, the language of LB 561 is clear, as it enables both sports and esports contests.

New Jersey

  • Launch date: January 24, 2022
  • Legal betting age: 21

New Jersey did not hesitate long to pass an amendment to its existing sports betting legalization, effectively expanding the activity to “professional electronic sports and competitive video game events.” The text of the amendment read:

“Sports event” means any sport, athletic contest, or athletic event not prohibited by the Director, including 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.”

New Jersey licensed the first esports betting agency, Esports Entertainment Group, and its betting platform,, to launch in a limited capacity on January 24, 2022, prior to a full-scale launch.


  • Launch date: November 1, 2020
  • Legal betting age: 21

Tennessee launched esports betting on November 1, 2020, with the rest of its betting industry. The state made sure to name esports as one of the permissible activities to wager on, and described the contests as:

“Any multiplayer video game played competitive for spectators, either in-person or via remote connection, in which success principally depends upon the superior knowledge, training, experience, and adroitness of the players.”

Cleverly, House Bill No. 1 creates the text for esports betting legalization straight in the definition of the term “sports betting,” including any professional sporting or athletic event, including motorsports and e-sports.”


  • Launch date: January 21, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 21

Virginia joined the family of esports betting states out there in April 2020 when SB 384 was passed and the language of the bill included esports as the definition of “sports event.” The first draft of the bill had neglected to include esports betting in it, but further reviews did.


  • Launch date: September 9, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 18

Washington was a little late to the party after Washington D.C. became the first place in the state to launch betting. In March 2020, HB 2638 arrived and it enabled casinos in the state to begin accepting wagers on esports. The bill legalized betting on:

“(iv) An electronic sports or esports competition or event;”


  • Launch date: September 1, 2021
  • Legal betting age: 18

Wyoming enacted quick, sweeping legislation that made it clear that the state would not be looking to overlook any industry aspect. Apart from accepting crypto for the purposes of betting, Wyoming made it clear that “electronic sports are on the menu. The exact language of the law is available in HB 0133.

History of Esports Betting Legal in the USA

The legalization push began in May 2018 when the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a 1992 federal law, and argued that each state would be free to determine whether they want to accept sports betting.

This immediately meant that esports betting and collegiate betting would also be covered under new state regulation, or at least have the potential to be included. For the most part, legislators have focused on sports and collegiate betting, but esports has been making inroads all the same.

Prior to SCOTUS’ ruling in 2018, esports was only available at fantasy sports betting operators, such as Unikrn and DraftKings. Both companies welcomed the regulatory changes that would enable them to pursue bigger business opportunities.

Unikrn introduced a groundbreaking product by the name of UMode that made it possible for esports fans to wager on their own performance, revolutionizing the experience in a great way. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has remained positive about the potential of esports.

In his 2019 interview for Bloomberg Technology, Robins reiterated the company’s interest in the industry, outlining its potential, the total betting handle that it may generate and the opportunities for engagement with new audiences.

Much of this momentum for esports betting has caught up with state governments as places such as Colorado and Tennessee have chosen to allow people of the legal age to place bets on esports contests. Indiana, on the other hand, has been the only state to go the extra mile and outright ban esports betting.

Esports Betting in the US Set for Rapid Expansion  

Regardless of opposition, esports betting is growing at a rapid pace. Unlike the development of offshore sports betting over the years, it seems that esports gambling is mostly happening in regulated markets such as the United States.

Until more data is available, though, we will have to speculate, but with 12 states legalizing esports betting, and counting, we are likely to start getting a good read of the industry before long.


Can you bet on esports legally in the United States?

Yes, you can bet on esports legally in the USA. Esports betting became legal in 2017 and was adopted en masse in 2018 after PASPA was struck down by SCOTUS.

What states allow you to bet on esports legally?

There are 12 US states that currently allow esports betting as of February 2022. They include:

  1. Arizona
  2. Colorado
  3. Connecticut
  4. Louisiana
  5. Maryland
  6. Nevada
  7. Nebraska
  8. New Jersey
  9. Tennessee
  10. Virginia
  11. Washington
  12. Wyoming

What is the gambling age for esports betting in the USA?

The legal gambling age on esports in the United States will vary from 18 to 21 depending on the state you are betting in.

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