Do New Jersey Sportsbooks Offer Esports Betting?

New Jersey DGE Esports

New Jersey DGE Esports

New Jersey has the most-impressive sports betting market in the United States today. Their sportsbooks made nearly $300 million in revenue in 2019.

Residents and visitors of the Garden State can look forward to a large number of betting markets, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer.

Can they also wager on esports? I’ll explore this question by discussing New Jersey’s laws on esports gambling.

What Is New Jersey’s Law on Esports Betting?

New Jersey was extremely interested in legalizing sports wagering for years. In fact, it led the fight to get the Supreme Court to repeal PASPA (a federal betting ban) in May 2018.

The Garden State made a curious decision, though, when they finally got the opportunity to launch their betting market.

They excluded esports gambling from the equation.

New Jersey politicians eventually reversed this decision and decided to allow esports betting. However, their reversal came with stipulations.

NJ sportsbooks can only offer lines on esports matches where all participants are 18 years or older. Given that some professional gamers are minors; this rule excludes certain matches from the New Jersey gambling market.

Why Did New Jersey Originally Reject Esports Gambling?

It may be a moot point now, but NJ politicians originally had major issues with esports. Their initial decision to ban bets on competitive gaming came down to two main points:

  • Match fixing
  • Underage professionals

Esports aren’t the only types of competition with match-fixing issues. Tennis has dealt with this problem to a large degree.

Tennis Match Fixing Scandals

However, tennis is also a much more-established sport compared to video gaming. Esports, in contrast, must deal with match-fixing scandals and a lack of tradition.

These two aspects cause politicians to look disapprovingly towards esports. They fear that some of the lesser-paid players will be more susceptible to gambling based bribes.

Regarding underage players, the US is adamantly against allowing bets on high school sports. Only offshore bookmakers located in places like Costa Rica and Belize offer such wagers.

New Jersey isn’t thrilled about letting people wager on something where professionals can be under 18. This is why they only reconsidered on grounds that all participating pros in relevant matches be 18+.

What Is the Availability of NJ Esports Gambling?

NJ sportsbooks can’t offer esports lines with quite the same freedom that they can with NBA or NFL lines, for example.

Instead, they must seek permission from the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

Some bookmakers requested permission to allow bets on 2019 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship.

The DGE reviewed the matter and approved. The Borgata became the first New Jersey bookmaker to accept an esports wager. FanDuel, meanwhile, became the first to take online esports bets. 888 Sport, BetMGM, and Unibet joined them in the online sector.

How Big Is New Jersey Esports Betting?

Right now, esports gambling has very little presence in New Jersey. It remains more of an interesting possibility than a valid opportunity right now.

Operators need to request permission on a case-by-case basis before they can feature lines on competitive gaming. Again, they’ve only done so regarding the LoL World Championship.

2019 LoL World Championship Teams

The sportsbooks that offered lines on this competition didn’t make much money. They’re unlikely to rush into requesting permission for other esports events right now.

However, these bookmakers also didn’t get much time to market their LoL lines.

They had very few days between receiving DGE approval and accepting bets before the World Championship began.

Furthermore, the DGE severely limited the maximum bets that sportsbooks could accept on this event.

What Is the Potential for Esports Wagering in NJ?

Just because New Jersey doesn’t offer a lucrative esports gambling market right now doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there.

The world has shown that competitive gaming is a big draw for bookmakers.

Research from Newzoo shows that esports revenue should be a multibillion-dollar business in the future. They predict that the US alone will account for over $400 million of this amount.

Quintin Martin, who is the COO of one of the popular esports betting site Luckbox, believes that the US offers lots of potential in this area.

“The US is a huge percentage of the global esports market and with so many fans residing there, it is inevitable that betting will grow,” Martin explained. “My favorite stat is that 18- to 25-year-olds watch more computer games than traditional sports. This is the future.”

How Do Other States Treat Esports?

New Jersey has taken a conservative approach to esports wagering. But at least they’re allowing sportsbooks to offer lines in some cases.

Certain other states with legal sports betting markets have either banned the activity or refuse to make a decision one way or the other.

Indiana made it a point to outlaw esports betting when they regulated sports gambling. They’re the only state to do so as of now, but they may not be alone.

Indiana Esports Betting Banned

Arkansas, Delaware, New York, and Mississippi still haven’t decided whether they’ll allow bookmakers to take esports bets. One or more of these same states could join Indiana in banning the matter.

Of course, other states might follow New Jersey by allowing esports betting. They may even avoid restricting the matter like the Garden State has.

Is Wagering on Esports Any Different Than Traditional Sports?

Fundamentally, esports betting isn’t any different than wagering on traditional sports, like baseball or football. It includes the same style of odds and many of the same bet types.

You can place moneyline, over/under, prop, live, and future bets on competitive gaming. You’ll also find American, decimal, and/or fractional odds, depending upon the bookmaker’s audience.

One notable difference between traditional and esports betting, though, is that the latter has “outright” wagers. Although not completely foreign to traditional sports, outrights are more commonly seen at esports betting sites.

Liquid Winning LoL Esports Event

An outright lets you choose the winning team or player in an esports tournament. Considering that many esports contests revolve around tourneys, outright are heavily common throughout video gaming.

Another difference is that esports don’t involve many point-spread bets. Many matches are either a best-of-three or best-of-five format, which doesn’t leave much room for point spreads.

Contrast this to most American sports, which are set up to offer point spreads. These types of wagers are especially common in basketball and football.

Can You Still Get Esports Bonuses in New Jersey?

Considering that New Jersey sportsbooks rarely offer lines on gaming so far, they don’t really market their bonuses as being esports-specific. Nevertheless, you can use esports bets (when available) to meet wagering requirements on the following types of online bonuses.

No Deposit Bonus

A no-deposit bonus gives you free betting funds upfront. You merely need to complete registration to enjoy this type of bonus.

Depending upon the online sportsbook, you typically must enter a bonus code during registration. This code qualifies you for the offer in question.

No deposit bonuses aren’t typically very large and only give you between $10 and $25. However, they still provide you a free shot at earning money.

Deposit Bonus

These deals offer an amount that’s equal to a match percentage of your deposit amount. For example, you might receive a 100% match bonus worth up to $200.

Deposit bonuses give you the potential to earn more cash than no-deposit deals.

The catch, though, is that they require you to fund your account and bet your own money to satisfy terms and conditions.

Free Bet

Free bets are the most-common deal in the New Jersey betting market. They give you an opportunity to win losses back from your very first wager.

Assuming you win the bet, then you simply keep the winnings. If you lose, though, you can earn your losses by meeting terms and conditions.

For example, a $50 free bet would allow you to collect potential losses worth up to $50. The key, though, is that you actually must lose to benefit from this deal.


The New Jersey sports betting market isn’t totally booming. In fact, it’s fairly nonexistent at the moment.

The good news, though, is that you can place both sports and esports bets at the best online sportsbooks.

Bookmakers just need to seek permission before offering lines on esports contests.

They’ve only made this request once for the LoL World Championship. However, NJ sportsbooks will likely remain interested in the matter.

After all, the US esports betting market figures to top $1 billion annually and keep rising from here. New Jersey and other states will definitely be intrigued at getting a piece of the pie at this juncture.

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