House Bill 4826 Seeks to Categorize Esports Betting as a Legal form of Sports Betting in West Virginia

West Virginia’s House of Representatives is considering the prospects of esports betting while seeking to make a new legislation change that will categorize professional video gaming as a part of the legal sports betting services offered across the state.

The legislators of West Virginia are willing to take advantage of the rapid growth of the esports betting sector, so the state has become increasingly friendly to sports betting and the idea of betting on gaming, so a proposal of a new amendment to be brought to the state’s gambling laws was made. Under the proposed amendment, esports could become an officially-recognized part of the legal sports betting landscape in West Virginia.

The changes are part of House Bill 4826, which is dedicated to establishing a legal definition of the practice and making esports a legitimate sports betting category in the state.

The aforementioned piece of legislation gives a definition of esports, saying that everything considered an electronic sport or competitive video game that is played as a game of skill for a certain audience could be categorized as esports. Furthermore, the proposed amendment plans to make esports a professional sporting discipline. On the other hand, any professional sport or athletic event, any e-sports events, motor race event, any collegiate sport or athletic event, or any other special event authorized by the commission under the law is considered a sports/sporting event.

Betting on Esports Become Increasingly Popular, Especially among Younger Audiences

West Virginia has been one of the first US states to make sports betting legal once the US Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to lift the federal sports betting ban in 2018. Since then, local legislators have become pioneers in the industry, allowing people across the state to legally place bets on both professional and collegiate sports events in case they are of legal age.

Now, the proposed official categorization of esports as professional sporting events means that the state will make esports a legal gambling service under the sports betting category.

The aforementioned House Bill 4826 has been supported by a number of delegates in the state of West Virginia, including Bennett Queen, Daniel Linville, Steve Westfall, Clay Riley, Shawn Fluharty, and Moore Capito. The proposed piece of legislation is now set to be reviewed by the House Finance Committee.

The last several years have seen the esports industry become subject to rapid expansion as esports have been subject to constant growth worldwide. This, in its turn, has triggered an unprecedented interest in betting on esports. The interest in the service has grown even more because of the social distancing measures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, considering the fact that traditional sports leagues had been forced to cease their activities, and customers were left with no traditional sports to bet on. In addition, esports and esports betting have been considered a way to attract younger audiences.

So far, a number of US states have already recognized betting on esports as a form of legal sports betting, with Connecticut betting one of the most recent states that did so. The state of Nevada is also known for its deep involvement with esports, so local lawmakers have even established a special regulatory body to oversee the expansion of the esports betting sector.