The new and rapidly evolving esports industry, while currently enjoying minimal regulatory oversight, would benefit in the long-term from a solid regulatory structure that embodies consumer protections. Lessons can be learned from the rush to regulate daily fantasy sports in the U.S., and how best to move adopting regulations for the fast-moving esports industry is the focus of a special issue of Gaming Law Review.
Brett Abarbanel, PhD, Director of Research, International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, served as Guest Editor of this special issue of Gaming Law Review, organizing a fascinating and diverse series of articles contributed by highly knowledgeable authors representing various aspects of the esports industry.
André Wilsenach, Executive Director, UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation, led a lively Roundtable on Esports. The Roundtable panelists included Steve Brennan, Chief Executive, Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, A.G. Burnett, Chairman, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Nicholas Khoo, Co-Founder and Chairman, Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association, and Ian Smith, Integrity Commissioner, Esports Integrity Coalition.
In the article entitled "Esports, Skins Betting, & Wire Fraud Vulnerability," John Holden, JD, PhD and Sam Ehrlich, JD, Florida State University (Tallahassee), consider the possibility of the wire fraud statute being applied to skins betting operators that have been involved in recent scandals. The authors describe the law governing this area as a "Wild West" scenario requiring wide interpretation of existing laws, which were enacted "well before any of this technology was even thought to be possible."
Desirée Martinelli, University of Mississippi School of Law (Oxford), provides a description and historical look at "skins" and their role in esports and online casino games, discusses skin-related controversies and current litigation, and analyzes federal statutes and state case law that may profoundly affect virtual gambling and esports in the future. "Virtual items have become the casino chips of the esports world, and skins have become one of the largest methods employed for gambling," says Martinelli in the article "Skin Gambling: Have We Found the Millennial Goldmine or Imminent Trouble?)."
How do participants in esports versus traditional sports betting differ, and are people who bet on esports more likely to access and engage in unregulated sites and activities? Coauthors Sally Gainsbury, Brett Abarbanel, and Alex Blaszczynski, from the University of Sydney (Australia) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, explore these topics in the article entitled "Game On: Comparison of Demographic Profiles, Consumption Behaviours, and Gambling Site Selection Criteria of Esports and Sports Bettors."
"This special issue includes a full range of articles from the history of esports to addressing regulatory risks, skins gambling, and commentaries by industry visionaries. It was our intent to add to the research and debate for this emerging gambling product while still in its infant stages. We were fortunate to team up with Brett Abarbenal and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and to benefit from Brett's global awareness and up-to-date knowledge of this topic," says Sue Schneider, Editor-in-Chief of Gaming Law Review.
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John T. Holden et al, ESPORTS, SKINS BETTING, AND WIRE FRAUD VULNERABILITY, Gaming Law Review (2017). DOI: 10.1089/glr2.2017.2183