eSports Cases, Legislation and Regulation to Watch in 2018

Fenwick litigation partner Eric Ball talked to Law360 about the areas of esports regulation and legislation to watch in 2018, also highlighting the top cases impacting esports to keep an eye on.

Ball, a member of Fenwick’s games team, talked about how the lack of regulation in esports has left several questions to be addressed if it wants to compete alongside well-established leagues in the U.S., such as Major League Baseball or the National Football League.

Ball pointed out that match-fixing and performance-enhancing drugs are issues ripe for regulation in esports—and the regulations could help the industry's goal of achieving a bigger foothold.

"As esports becomes more mainstream, people want to make sure the games are as fairly played as possible because of gambling or general interest. They're going to want to make sure it's being played on a level playing field,” Ball said. He also pointed out that another reason for PED regulation is that esports is on the path to being an Olympic sport.

In another discussion with Law360, Ball talked about the issue of legalizing sports betting. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New Jersey’s fight to legalize sports betting in December 2017. A ruling in New Jersey’s favor could have monumental effects for both traditional sports and the esports industry, Ball noted.

Legalization could act as a catalyst for the already expanding esports industry. “There’s already $1 billion plus in betting going on in esports, and if it becomes more available in the U.S., it will bring more money to the sport and more interest to the sport, and it will continue to expand,” Ball said.

The full articles covering key legislation and regulation, as well as important 2018 cases, are available on Law360 (subscription required).​​​​