Hockey, baseball and Turkish oil wrestling are on hold, so Vegas makes landmark shift in eSports betting for CS: GO

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      There's an endless list of people who have been horribly affected by the fact that every sport in the world—with the possible exception of Irish pikey fighting—is currently on hold.

      Start with the professional hockey, football and soccer players, and then think about the world's dartsmiths, bowlers, boxers, ping-pongers, Mongolian yak racers, and goanna pullers.

      Thanks to COVID-19, there are no Ferret Legging competitions scheduled for the immediate future in England. And no one is grabbing a two-litre bottle of Speiron-produced Lambda olive oil, getting half naked, and then hitting the grass in Turkey deliciously slicked up for a spirited match of the world's oldest sport: yağlı güreş.

      And thanks to that reality, here's where things get really grim: if you're a person who lives to wager each month's rent on winners and losers in sporting events, there's nothing to gamble on. 

      Which makes yesterday's news out of Las Vegas the best thing you're going to hear today. Especially if you remember that time when you put 100 bucks on the Las Vegas Golden Knights to make the Stanley Cup Finals at the start of the NHL season in 2018. 

      In a historic decision, the Nevada Gaming Control Board greenlighted betting on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ESL Pro League Season 11: North America. 

      It's not the first time that licensed American bookmakers have been given the okay to accept bets on eSports. 

      Last November the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement allowed accredited bookies to accept wagering on the League of Legends World Championship finals, which attracted an online audience of over 100 million viewers. Vegas has also okayed betting on eSports three times in the past, most recently for the 2017 League of Legends World Championships. But as in New Jersey, events have had to be approved on a case-by-base basis.

      Yesterday Vegas okayed bets for CS: GO's head-to-head play, winners of each match in the best-of-3 play, and season winner.

      The ruling speaks to a couple of things. Firstly, it's a recognition that with no traditional sports to bet upon, gamblers are just like every other sports fan: they are looking for alternatives. 

      Before the current Covid-19 pandemic, eSports was in the strange position of being meteoric success story and yet largely off the radar of traditional sports fans. 

      Last year Forbes reported that revenues for eSports streaming, matches, leagues, and all the spinoff industry's exceeding $1 billion, reaching an audience estimated at 443 million worldwide. Projections for this year were for an audience of 645 million, something that's sure to be shattered with the world trapped at home and looking for alternatives to Netflix and day-drinking starting at 7:45 a.m.

      Just as importantly, Vegas has acknowledged that eSports athletes and the teams are worth treating every bit as legitimate as those in the traditional sports that have long been a pillar of Vegas gambling. And by that, we're talking football, baseball and boxing, not yağlı güreş, Which, because you know you're curious abou it, you can watch below.