Nevada senator Ben Kieckhefer is working on a bill he has until mid-March to introduce and potentially see an esports governing body created that could in turn regulate esports nationally.
Esports Regulatory Body to Help Nevada Attract Big Events
Esports need to be regulated says Sen. Ben Kieckhefer who is working on a bill that would create what he argues is the country’s first esports regulatory body. Sen. Kieckhefer is using the Nevada Athletic Commission for inspiration. The NAC is a body that is targeting irregularities in combat sports such as MMA and boxing, and imposes penalties on wrongdoers.
Yet, the senator’s ambition is to transcend state borders and establish an esports body that regulates competitive video gaming across all titles, whether this is Counter-Strike, Valorant, League of Legends, Dota 2 or something else, and everywhere in the country.
What’s more, Sen. Kieckhefer believes that Nevada is in a perfect position to be a global leader in esports, not least because the city hosts the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at The Luxor.
Clear-cut esports regulation can lead to stability and security, the senator argued, adding that the time to act may be right now. He has a point, as esports betting has exploded during the pandemic and interest in the activity has been ongoing for a while now, with Nevada authorized betting on a per-event basis so far.
But for the senator, it’s far more important to entice big esports leagues to bring their events directly to Las Vegas, generating another driver of tourism for the city. Esports is focused on young demographics with plenty of disposable income, the sort that Nevada is after anyway.
Regulate Esports to Create Clean and Fair Competitions
The senator wants to follow the NAC example and create “clean and fair” competitions as well as bring new revenue opportunities for the state. Yet, he is also treading cautiously as his bill is still under wraps, and he has until mid-March when the legislative session wraps up officially.
Sen. Kieckhefer is not the first legislator to come up with the idea of a regulator body that pays a close eye to esports. Former Nevada Gaming Control Board chair A.G. Burnett had a similar notion not so long ago, although admittedly before the Silver State was faced with a surge in esports betting and a global pandemic.
Burnett has agreed that having a more regulated attitude towards esports could be a driver of tourism for the state. But, what’s the actual idea of regulator esports? As it turns out the commission will give an esports athlete slightly more authenticity.
A potential regulator could help legitimize the industry, help with visas, travel, integrity and host milestone events such as the Dota 2 The International and League of Legends Worlds.
Heed the Youngsters’ Calls
Of course, any regulator would need to stay cautious of not stepping on the toes of gaming communities. Game developers have hosted humongous events for years now, selling out venues such as the Madison Square Garden in New York, so they know how to host the crowning events for their games.
With the road to recovery proving long and sinuous, Burnett seems just as keen as Sen. Kieckhefer to see some progress made quickly. In other words, for any regulatory body to successfully emerge and regulate esports, it would need to reach out to game publishers as well as esports insiders, who are predominantly in their mid-20s.
Just like sports and esports boils down to an inter-generational clash so would regulators need to decide if they can or want to trust young esports experts with arguably less experience in worldly affairs, but bringing a lot of relevant knowledge to the table to make any regulator hit the mark and not fall deplorably short.