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Why the US Supreme Court Struck Down PASPA



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The United States Supreme Court has ordered to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

PASPA, penned in 1992 by New York Knicks hall of famer and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, came into force on New Year’s Day 1993. It slapped a virtual ban on sports wagering across 46 states and limited three other states to sports lotteries. The only state that received an exemption from the sole blanket ban was Nevada. New Jersey was also got a one-year window to legalise sports betting, but could not do so.

However, the apex court struck down PASPA this week on the grounds that it violates a provision of the 10th Amendment, commonly known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

The anti-commandeering doctrine provides that, if the Constitution does not specifically reserve a power to the federal government (in this case, legislating sports wagering) or directly strip that power away from the states, that power resides with the states. The provision is known as the anti-commandeering doctrine because it is understood to bar the federal government from “commandeering” the rights of the individual states to enforce federal law.

In this case, since PASPA does not specifically ban sports wagering, rather the ability of the states to pass laws of their own to legalise sports wagering, the Court held that PASPA violates the anti-commandeering doctrine and thus, the 10th Amendment.

This battle started in 2012 when New Jersey passed a law to legalise sports betting. Shortly thereafter, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and all four major American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) sued the state of New Jersey, claiming that the law violated PASPA. When the lower federal courts ruled in favor of the NCAA and the leagues, New Jersey retreated but returned in 2014 with a new law, specifically tailored to challenge PASPA but only at casinos and racetracks. Predictably, the NCAA and the leagues took New Jersey to court again and eventually prevailed in the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

However, that ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito opined, “It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.” Alito continued, stating that “[a] more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”

It is important to note that this ruling does not legalise sports betting nationally or in any state, including New Jersey. The strike-down of PASPA merely paves the way for each state to pass its own laws addressing sports gambling. The majority points out that it is still within the purview of the federal government to pass laws restricting sports gambling on a national scale, but that if it does not, it may not enact a law such as PASPA, which prohibited the states from passing sports wagering laws of their own; “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly,” writes Alio. “But if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.”

In addition to New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Mississippi have all passed bills legalising sports wagering and over 15 other states have introduced similar bills in the preceding months, in anticipation of today’s ruling.

While PASPA may seem, at first glance, an automatic ticket to the explosion of esports wagering in the United States, Will Green, Senior Director of Strategic Communications for the American Gambling Association is not so sure.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Green stated “I don’t think PASPA is the vehicle for the blossoming of esports.” Green points to the lack of esports-specific verbiage in pending state legislation and feels that “there has to be clarity [regarding esports being classified as a sport for betting purposes by regulators], and right now there are more questions than there are answers.”

Green’s point, while not determinative, is not without merit. While esports has gained a tremendous following and a great deal of mainstream acceptance in the US, it is still not what many would consider a mainstream sport. As such, it could be argued that esports was not envisioned by the legislators when the various state bills were written and might, therefore, have an uphill climb to fight for inclusion under those laws.

For his part, Seth Schorr, CEO of Las Vegas’s Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino, one of the first sportsbooks to accept bets on esports, appears to have a different outlook. Also speaking to The Post, Schorr referenced a memorandum of understanding between the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the esports Integrity Coalition in support of his opinion that esports will be defined as a sport for betting purposes. Schorr did qualify his statement, however, noting concerns around match-fixing and cheating, “You can’t bet on football; you can bet on the NFL,” Schorr told The Post. “I see Nevada looking at specific esports leagues and offerings [in order to assure the integrity of the matches on which bets are made].” Schorr continued, stating that while he believes the repeal of PASPA will ultimately have a “massive impact” on esports wagering, he cautions that the transformation might not happen as quickly as is expected for mainstream sports betting; “Everything takes time,” Schorr explained. “Each state is different. We are catching up with the rest of the world.”

Now that PASPA has been repealed, there is no telling how large the esports wagering market in the United States can grow or how long it will take to get there. As reported by both ESPN and Chris Grove, an estimated $5 billion was wagered illegally on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Database-Link-e1521645463907 through skin betting alone in the United States in 2016. When we account for the massive growth of CS:GO, along with the popularity of other games, including League of Legends Database-Link-e1521645463907, Fortnite Database-Link-e1521645463907, and PUBG Database-Link-e1521645463907, as well as the recent launch of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, it is clear that the esports wagering market in the United States has the potential to be substantial.

Meanwhile, the American Gambling Association estimates that roughly $150 billion is wagered illegally each year on sports in the U.S. How much of that number is poised to flow into esports may very well be determined by how broadly each state’s sports wagering legislation is perceived. Whatever happens in the near term, it seems clear that esports wagering is knocking on the United States’ door. The question now appears to be when that door will open.


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First-ever Olympic Esports Games to take place in 2025; massive opportunity for Indian esports



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Following the IOC’s partnership with the NOC of Saudi Arabia to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Games, India’s growing esports sector has an opportunity to prove its mettle on the international stage and flourish

In a historic move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that the inaugural Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025. This decision follows the recent proposal by the IOC’s Executive Board and will be presented at the IOC Session ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IOC has entered a 12-year partnership with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the Olympic Esports Games. As per the official announcement, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee remarked, “The world is invited to join us in 2025 and celebrate this moment together.”

Indian esports, already on the rise, stands to gain significantly from this development. Following a bronze medal win in DOTA 2 at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and competing in five titles at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, India’s esports scene is on track for further growth.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the groundbreaking development, Akshat Rathee, Co-founder and MD of NODWIN Gaming, said, “NODWIN Gaming is thrilled that esports has earned its place in the Olympics with its own standalone event, akin to the Summer, Winter, and Paralympics. This recognition allows countries to develop independent esports programs. Together with our partners in the GEF and the EWC, NODWIN Gaming is eager to build esports in our core growth markets, seizing this opportunity for hope and glory.”

The IOC launched its first esports pilot, the Olympic Virtual Series, in 2021 followed by the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June 2023. This event brought together over 130 players from around the world, competing in 10 mixed-gender categories, attracting over 500,000 unique participants and six million views, with 75% of the audience aged 13 to 34.

“The IOC’s embrace of the Olympic Esports Games honors the dedication and skill of millions of gamers worldwide. It goes beyond just competition; it elevates esports to a global platform, encouraging international collaboration and potentially ushering in a new generation of athletes. This initiative truly is a landmark moment for esports, bringing it the global recognition it has long earned. The inclusion of esports in the Olympic movement demonstrates its growing influence and cements its place in the future of sports,” commented Roby John, CEO and Co-founder at SuperGaming.

The introduction of the Olympic Esports Games is set to further enhance the credibility of esports in India, establishing it as a viable sport and career option.

“This recognition will further legitimize esports as a career option, more parents will now support their children in pursuing careers in this field, elevating the professional landscape of competitive gaming. We are proud to support the growth of esports in India, giving our players the chance to shine on this prestigious international platform,” further.

With the official announcement of the Olympic Esports Games, work will now begin on selecting the host city and venue, determining the event’s timing, selecting titles, and establishing the qualification process for players. The IOC has emphasized collaboration with International Federations already engaged in e-sports and National Olympic Committees that include esports in their activities.

While the titles for the Olympic Esports Games have not been officially announced, the potential inclusion of games across diverse platforms is expected to stimulate growth in India’s gaming industry. This could lead to a rise in PC and console gaming, diversifying India’s predominantly mobile gaming market as players aim to represent their nation at the largest international multi-sport event.

“We are absolutely elated by the announcement of the Olympic Esports Games which is being hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This marks a monumental step for the industry and all its stakeholders. The Indian esports sector is on an upward trajectory and this will further empower it. Esports being integrated under the banner of the pinnacle of sports events in the world will bring further legitimacy to this form of sport and encourage a new generation of esports talent to rise from the country. We’re excited and look forward to extending our support to the esports community of India so they make a mark at the global event!” said Vishal Parekh, COO, CyberPowerPC India.

Additionally, the IOC will establish a dedicated structure for the Olympic Esports Games, distinct from the traditional Olympic Games model, to address the unique aspects of esports financing and organization.


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AFK Gaming announces India’s first-ever premium insights dashboard for esports analytics



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In a bid to provide authentic data and unparalleled insights into the nation’s esports industry, AFK Gaming has announced the beta launch of ‘AFK Gaming Insights’, India’s first-ever premium analytics dashboard.

This first-of-its-kind powerful tool offers real-time data and analytics to help users, brands and other stakeholders make informed decisions and stay ahead in the esports landscape of the country.

AFK Gaming Insights features three core analytics modules:
Tournaments Analytics: Access detailed information on prize pools, sponsors, players, teams, and more. This module provides a comprehensive view of the financial and competitive aspects of esports tournaments, enabling users to strategize effectively.

User Analytics: Discover valuable insights into demographics, occupations, interests, income ranges, spending habits, and more. This data helps users understand the diverse backgrounds and behaviours of the Indian gaming community, facilitating targeted marketing and engagement efforts.
Social Analytics: Track key metrics such as Instagram followers, YouTube subscribers, and the country’s top live streamers.

Expressing his enthusiasm on the beta launch of AFK Gaming Insights, Nishant Patel, Co-founder and CEO of AFK Gaming stated, “AFK Gaming Insights is a product built to address a critical market need. In the absence of reliable data to aid their decision making, key stakeholders in the Indian gaming, esports and youth culture industries have been struggling to make informed decisions. With this launch, we hope to empower tournament organizers, brand managers, team owners and industry observers with a single source of truth that they can turn to for industry knowledge and information that will drive the sector’s growth as a whole.”

According to a report by Niko Partners, India is the fastest-growing gaming market, with over 450 million gamers and more than USD 830 million revenue generated in 2023. This expansive market requires a platform that enables stakeholders and brands to access insights on the go and use these metrics for their engagement and campaigns.

To address this, AFK Gaming Insights, which will be available exclusively to annual subscribers, has been devised to cater to a diverse spectrum of users. For newcomers, the dashboard serves as an entry point, providing information that helps them understand trends, player performances and tournament dynamics.

Gamers can optimise their strategies and refine their performances while hardcore audiences will benefit from the deeper insights on their favourite gamers and teams’ social media engagements, viewerships and tournament statistics. For example, the tool reveals that Total Gaming is currently the most viewed Indian gaming YouTuber, with an average of 4.25 million views per video over the last month.

On the other hand, industry stakeholders can leverage detailed analytics into market trends, audience behaviours and sponsorship opportunities to make strategic decisions. For instance, the dashboard uncovers significant trends, such as the fact that more Indian gamers spend money on a daily basis rather than not spending at all.

This pioneering platform promises to redefine the analysis of competitive gaming and change the way esports is perceived in the country.

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Gen.G Launches Official 2024 Summer Jersey with LIBILLY



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Global esports organisation Gen.G announced their newest apparel collaboration with LIBILLY, a Seoul streetwear culture-based brand led by rapper Changmo. The “2024 Gen.G x LIBILLY Collection” represents icons of youth and passion in cross-cultural scenes; the two brands are teaming up to promote K-culture worldwide, beyond Korea’s domestic stage.

“Every year, we are proud that we get to be a part of some of the biggest esports moments in the world. This year, we are excited to partner with Changmo and the team at LIBILLY to introduce a new kit during such a historic season,” Arnold Hur, CEO of Gen.G Esports, said.

The new collection with LIBILLY consists of six pieces, including the official jersey and jacket as well as short-sleeved t-shirts, sweatshirts and ball caps featuring both organisations’ logos. The official jersey, accented in Gen.G’s signature gold colour, is designed to be breathable and comfortable for both players and fans to wear. Gen.G’s iconic slogan “Change the Game” is printed on it to encourage fans to collect. LIBILLY is the latest in a series of successful lifestyle collaborations for Gen.G, with brands like The Hundreds, PUMA and Heron Preston in past years.

The lifestyle apparel features a mashup of Gen.G adorable mascot “Genrang” wearing clothes with LIBILLY’s symbol “031” logo, among other cobranded apparel items. Images of the Gen.G League of Legends team, currently competing in Riyadh for the 2024 Esports World Cup, have captured the hearts and minds of fans since they first leaked.

“I’m excited to wear new uniforms this season through our collaboration with the hip and young brand LIBILLY. It was fun to try out and shoot content in a different look than we did before, so I hope the fans enjoy it as much as we enjoyed this process,” said Gen.G’s Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Gen.G, a representative of the esports scene. We hope that this collection, which reinterprets the passionate brand image of Gen.G from our perspective and expresses it in a new dimension, will be a meaningful gift to Gen.G fans around the world. We also look forward to the various collaborative activities that Gen.G and LIBILLY will continue to launch,” said rapper Changmo, head of LIBILLY.

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