Esports Betting Officially Launches In NJ

Esports Entertainment Group has completed its 'soft play' phase, giving way to the full rollout
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Esports Entertainment Group Inc. on Monday announced successful completion of its “soft play” phase of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement regulatory process for betting in the state. That led to the full rollout of the vie.gg website, which boasts that “Here at VIE we are obsessed with Esports, just like you.”

Esports Entertainment Group is the first operator to be granted the right to launch full esports betting operations in the state. Bettors can wager on their favorite esports teams in real time in what EEG calls “part of a seamless and immersive experience.” Games available include such favorites as Call of Duty, Overwatch, CS:GO, League of Legends, and DOTA 2.

“We are pleased with the completion of the soft play period, which is a testament to all the hard work by our team over the past year,” Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “As the first licensed Esports-focused betting site in North America, we’re thrilled to fully launch the VIE.gg platform in New Jersey, one of the largest and most promising jurisdictions for sports wagering in the country.”

An upcoming feature called VIE will mean that “you don’t have to take your eyes off the stream, ever. You can watch live Esports matches and wager as you go. No distractions. Take on the excitement of calling the next play as it happens, and get rewarded for your Esports knowledge on VIE.”

Getting started

The registration process includes providing all sorts of information, including your name, address, and age (which works as long as you are under 90 years old). The last four digits of your social security number and three security questions also are involved.

Once approved — and so far, you’ll need to have a New Jersey residence — you are taken to a board that on Tuesday afternoon listed a live DPC WEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division I match between Team Liquid and Entity as the first listing. (Team Liquid then won, 2-1.)

Other matches on the main board included a pending one in ESL Pro League Season 15, matching FaZe, at -125 odds, vs. Players, at -110 odds. Also available, similar to what one would find for a soccer match, was a three-way wager of FaZe +100, Players +100, or Draw at +550.

As with most sports, not all matches are created equally. In a DPC WEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division I contest to be played Tuesday afternoon, the odds on Team Secret were -588 while Brame was at +333. Even more extreme was a DPC NA 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division I matchup with Quincy Crew at -1000 and The Cut at +500. There also was an LPL Spring 2022 playoff meeting between Victory Five (-139) and Top ESports (+100).

More in-person events coming

In addition to the mobile wagering, EEG launched the first of its in-person events at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City on March 19-20. The game of choice that day was the popular Madden ’22 — where, as it happened, two competitors who chose the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers both advanced to the title game.

That was the first sanctioned skill-based wagering esports event held in the U.S., and more than 16,000 viewers of the livestreamed event watched professional competitors such as DubDot, Joke, and OneGreatUser play.

Almost 300 on-site spectators — including representatives from multiple casinos, resorts, and professional sports teams curious about the concept — attended the tournament. Competitive Madden player Jaybird received the first-place prize of $3,600.

“The entire tournament ran very well, and the team at EEG took care of the players, which means a lot to me,” Jaybird said in a statement. “Instant payouts aren’t commonplace in large-scale tournaments, so this is another thing they knocked out of the park. I’m excited to take part in future tournaments and defend my title.”

Players were able to place bets of up to $500 on their own matches, a unique gambling wrinkle. A handicapping system was in place to set up similarly skilled players to face each other.

EEG CEO Grant Johnson said at the time, “The player versus player betting also was of interest, as a lot of the trash talking got a little raucous,” with a lot of “esports influencers” wanting to be involved in the next event.

The EEG technology will next be showcased at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention in Anaheim, California from April 19-22.

Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/USA TODAY

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