A Nevada politician is pushing his state to establish the first esports regulatory body in the U.S.
Ben Kieckhefer is a state senator in the Nevada Legislature, representing Carson City. Kieckhefer introduced legislation that could be the first official regulatory body for esports in the country, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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Nevada is already home to a thriving hub for competition, mainly for combat sports. The state’s athletic commission oversees MMA and boxing events. Championship fights for both sports are almost always in Las Vegas, where tourists can also enjoy all the other recreational activities the Strip has to offer such as casinos, concerts, fine dining, magic shows and more.
Kieckhefer is eager to add esports to that list as well. His proposed bill would create a commission that would facilitate esports events in the state by working with game publishers and leagues, according to The Esports Observer.
“I come to this primarily as an economic development initiative for the state of Nevada,” Kieckhefer said to The Esports Observer. “As esports continues to grow and mature, I think it is going to be a dominant force in the entertainment industry going forward. And there’s no place on earth better positioned to take advantage of that than Las Vegas, Nevada.”
Kieckhefer elaborated that Nevada is uniquely positioned to become a major esports center because of its infrastructure. It’s already a big tourist destination with plenty of venues that can be used to host tournaments. The state senator cited Allegiant Stadium and the MSG Sphere currently being built at The Venetian as two possible locations for esports events.
But there is another unspoken factor here: Gambling. Esports betting is a massive market that was projected to be worth $15 billion in 2020 — and it’s still growing. Boxing and MMA promoters have traditionally hosted their most prestigious title fights in Vegas because of the city’s lucrative betting industry.
One esports tournament, the Evolution Championship Series, has already been hosting its events in Vegas since 2005. If Kieckhefer’s ambitions for esports in Nevada becomes a reality, then other esports organizations could follow in Evo’s footsteps.
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