It what looms to be a first for the ever-innovative New Jersey online sports betting industry, Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) has applied for a betting license with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) , the state‘s regulatory gaming and licensing authority. After setting up shop in New Jersey last summer, EEG has noticed that since then, the Garden State’s betting handle results have boomed, with almost $1 billion in handle being reported by the NJDGE in December 2020. About EEG EEG is a licensed online gambling company focused on the ever-expanding world of professional video gaming — and to date, it is the only eSports company to have been listed on NASDAQ. Similar to traditional sports betting aficionados wagering on their favorite teams, EEG’s proprietary Player-to-Player (P2P) wagering system permits eSports fans to bet against one another in support of their prized ePremiere League (ePL) teams. The ePL is the brainchild of a cooperative agreement formed between between Electronic Arts and soccer’s English Premier League, which is the most-watched sports league worldwide. EEG Chief Executive Officer, Grant Johnson excitedly wrote in a prepared media statement; “This is our first gaming license application in the US, and once approved, we believe we will be the first esports-vertical focused sports book with a state license in the US,” Johnson wrote. Johnson added; “According to a study from data firm Interpret, over 50% of US esports fans said they are likely to engage in esports betting so we are confident that demand will be strong. We are ready to move quickly with our esports-focused wagering platform rollout once the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) permits us to do so, which we expect in the second quarter this year.” “Securing access to what is currently the largest market for sports betting in the US will provide a strong advantage as we look to expand into additional markets in the US moving forward. We look forward to updating our stakeholders on continued progress on these initiatives in the months ahead” The EEG CEO concluded. Johnson is not so subtly referring to the expected passage of New Jersey’s eSports betting legalization bill, A637 which will allow wagering on all the big eSports tournaments. Notable omissions from the bill, however, include high school eSports, but collegiate eSports are expected to be given the green light so long as the teams involved are not based in the state of New Jersey (just like current controls of NCAAF and NCAAB betting), or the events themselves are not undertaken at a venue within Garden State limits. What’s next for NJ eSports betting? NJ Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, himself a former Atlantic City casino executive, was the sponsor of last year’s eSports betting bill to allow legal wagering on competitive electronic gaming contests. The bill had no issue to pass the Assembly vote, but is currently stalled in the state Senate. “Esports is the next big thing when it comes to sporting events,” explained Caputo, chairperson of the New Jersey State Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee. “With online sports betting now legal in our state and a rapidly expanding esports industry already in existence, the time is right for New Jersey to expand legal wagering beyond traditional sports.” He could be right. According to data from H2 Gambling Capital, in 2020, more than $343 million of revenue was raised globally by legal sports betting on eSports betting. That figure is expected to project forward to $862 million worth of global eSports betting revenue by 2024, and EEG and New Jersey set perched ready for their respective slices of the action.