Lawmaker Tries Again to Pass ESports Betting Bill in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the states that allow sports betting on land-based facilities and online. It might be among the pioneer states that allow eSports if a proposal by State Representative Ed Neilson sails through. He argues that the state should consider legalizing eSports betting since there is a multi-million-dollar eSports facility under construction in the state.

Major eSports events will be held in the facility after its grand opening. In his memo to his colleagues, Ed Neilson says the state should quickly focus on expanding different types of betting offered in Pennsylvania and should include eSports.

The attempt failed to succeed in the previous legislative session

This is the second time the lawmaker is trying to revive his efforts. In the previous legislative session, his attempt failed to win enough support from the legislators. The Philadelphia democrat is yet to introduce the bill. As a groundbreaking move, he wrote a memo to his colleagues requesting them to support the new bill. It is forecasted Pennsylvania sports betting handle will increase to 7.65 billion with a revenue of $605 million in 2023.

One of the top players in PA’s sports betting sector is Parx casino. The casino has invested heavily in a soon-to-launch hotel. It has a large casino facility which has great importance in PA because it employs close to 900 employees. Its land-based and Parx online sportsbook will potentially benefit from eSports betting offers as well as gamblers.

The value of eSports globally – $1.1 billion

Representative Ed Neilson’s memo said the global eSports sector was valued at $1.1 billion in 2022. He said the sector is forecasted to generate almost $1.8 billion in 2023. Currently, a multi-billion-dollar eSports facility is under construction in Philadelphia. There is no other facility of its kind in the US, and it will host global eSports activities.

Based on this fact, Pennsylvania should consider including eSports in its gambling legalization laws. The information available, however, confirms the facility in question is no longer under construction. The information shows Comcast Spectacor shelved its plans to build a 3,500-seat eSports arena that would cost $50 million.

The facility was to be constructed near Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia Stadium District. Comcast Spectacor’s franchise, the Philadelphia Fusion, began plans last month to relocate to Seoul, Korea, for good after the pandemic hindered its efforts to set up a base in the USA.

Sports betting laws in Pennsylvania are more restrictive

The PA’s gaming laws were expanded in 2017 to allow a wide range of gambling opportunities, such as online slots, poker, and other table games. The legislation included retail and mobile sports betting, which pushed Pennsylvania steps ahead of other states. The laws, however, were more restrictive compared to other states, especially the scope of betting allowed.

For example, betting on non-athletic events such as the Academy Awards is not permitted in PA. The state also does not permit betting on colors of Gatorade that will be poured over the winning coach. Betting in both scenarios is allowed in other states where sports betting is legal. Pennsylvania’s sports betting laws allow betting on individuals and outcomes of sports events but are silent on eSports.

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