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Published: February 23, 2021

Written by: Barney

  • Sen. Ben Kieckhefer has pitched a proposal to create an esports regulatory commission in Nevada and the United States
  • Nevada is looking to attract younger audiences and major esports events may be the means to that end
  • Esports industry insiders argue that Nevada’s legislators would need to listen to industry experts who are much younger than they are

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer from Nevada is proposing a new governing body for esports to bring regulatory clarity in competitive video gaming.

Nevada’s Push for Esports Governing Body

Nevada wants to transform itself into a central hub for esports, or at least this is the plan of Sen. Ben Kieckhefer who has proposed a bill that would lead to the creation of an esports regulatory body – first in Nevada, but then in the rest of the United States.

Modeled after the Nevada Athletic Commission, the body would bring clarity and fairness in esports contests, as well as guarantee greater stability, Sen. Kieckhefer argues.

His plans coincide with the Silver State’s desire to market itself as a place where young people go, and especially now after throngs of older consumers left casino floors empty following the nadir of the pandemic.

Regulating esports in Nevada is not a matter of if but when, as the Nevada Gaming Division has already authorized gambling on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 in 2020. Yet, Sen. Kieckhefer’s bill has nothing to do with gambling on electronic sports.

Rather, he genuinely wants to create a regulatory body that helps Las Vegas transform itself as a hub for big competitive events. Franchised competitions such as the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues are perfect candidates for becoming permanent residents of the Silver State.

Legislators in Favor of Creating Esports Governing Bodies

Nevada already has the Hyper X Arena, a new-generation entertainment venue hosting esports competitions out of The Luxor in Las Vegas. Sen. Kieckhefer is not alone in his ambitions to see a new regulatory body for esports. Retired Gaming Control Board chairman A.G. Burnett has also called for the arrival of such a regulatory body, and openly endorsed any pitch for underpinning esports with regulatory clarity.

Burnett himself made a proposal for establishing a regulatory framework, yet his timing didn’t quite coincide with a global pandemic, nor were esports as prominent as they are today. Yet, the benefit of forming a regulatory body is immense for players, as well as for the integrity of esports.

The key focus of the ideas put forward by Burnett and now Sen. Kieckhefer is to transform Las Vegas as a place where esports fans converge for some of the biggest competitive events, whether this is the BLAST Pro Series, The International or League of Legends Worlds.

Listen to Young Voices

One of the main challenges for creating a standardized esports body, whether it regulates the gambling sector, looks out for the integrity of contests or is just intended at providing players with a standardized framework to follow in, is that it would most likely need the approval of younger generations.

According to 8-Bit Esports Milo Ocampo, for legislators to create a working solution, they would need input from young experts, who are now in their mid-20s, or possibly even younger.

Sam McMullen Jr., founder of tech start-up FiveGen, consulted Sen. Kieckhefer, advising him to consider the interests of individual publishers as well. The ecosystem is far more complicated than it seems, McMullen Jr.’s line of reasoning is.

Reaching an industry consensus would be important and ultimately beneficial for all stakeholders. Whether you are a player, a fan or a city in the desert looking to host the biggest esports events available, regulatory clarity will help.

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