Looking to add betting options as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shutter markets for U.S. professional and college sports, the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved wagering for the eSports game “Counter-Strike: Global Operations” being conducted by the ESL Pro League.
It is the second offering added this week in the Silver State, which began taking wagers on chess for the ongoing 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament Wednesday. According to the archived approvals provided by the Nevada GCB, Counter-Strike will be the first eSports offering in the state since the 2017 “League of Legends World Championships” and fourth eSports offering overall.
Bets will be accepted on head-to-head play, the winner of each match in the best-of-3 format, and overall season winner. The ESL Pro League, which is a global league comprised of 23 teams with three groups of six and one group of five, is currently in the first stage of group play. Two groups have already completed their round-robin play while the other two groups opened play Thursday. Group play began March 16 and ends April 3. The date of the final round has not yet been announced.
What exactly is Counter-Strike: Global Operations?
Wagering on Counter-Strike is currently limited to mobile betting in Nevada since casinos and retail sportsbooks have been closed as part of the safety precautions and social-distance policies enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Esports is once again available at @WilliamHillUS.
Wagering for Counter-Strike — ESL Pro League Season 11: North America is now on the William Hill Nevada Mobile Sports app with 2 matchups coming 🆙
— William Hill Nevada (@WilliamHillNV) March 26, 2020
Counter-Strike: Global Operations is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game played on a PC platform. There are 23 teams, each with five players. One team tries to perpetrate an act of terror by placing and detonating a bomb at one of two predetermined sites on a map. The other group, counterterrorists, tries to defuse the bomb over the course of a round that lasts 1 minute, 55 seconds.
The counterterrorist team can also win the round by eliminating the enemy team before they plant the bomb. The bomb detonates 40 seconds after being planted, but can be defused in either five seconds if the counterterrorist team has a kit or 10 seconds if it does not.
A match consists of 30 such rounds in which each side plays one role for 15 rounds before switching to the second on the same map. The first group to win 16 total rounds wins one match in the best-of-3 format and all bets must be accepted before the start of the match.
How the Nevada GCB Approved CS:GO
Counter-Strike: Global Operations is classified under “other events” in section 22.1201 of regulations and not a virtual event, which is defined by an outcome determined by an RNG. The ESL Pro League offers live streaming on its official website, has a YouTube channel boasting more than 1 million subscribers, and also has more than 3.6 million followers on Twitch. It also has nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter.