Is there evidence that land-based and online casinos are starting to move towards incorporating esports and potentially esports betting into their offerings? It is an intriguing thought and not as outlandish as it would first appear.
While the link between sports betting sites and esports betting is extremely strong and very clear, there is seemingly little in common between the offerings you would find in a typical land-based or online casino, compared to your standard esports tournament and any esports betting on it.
In truth, it seems the only thing they share is that they are different forms of gambling.
However, the link between casinos and the esports and esports betting industries is much, much closer than you think and there is clear evidence that casinos have realised that esports offers a brand-new way for them to interact with existing and, perhaps most excitingly for casinos, new customers.
Casinos and Esports, what is the evidence?
There is plenty of evidence that casinos are very interested in the esports industry and what it has to offer and there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen many land-based casinos closed for a lengthy period, has probably expedited a cementing of the relationship between the two.
Outlined below are some ways that casinos are moving into the esports industry.
- MGM Resorts completed the building of a 30,000 square foot Esports Arena at the MGM Luxor Casino in Las Vegas back in 2018. The 1,500-seater venue has hosted a number of esports events since.
- Previous to building the Esports Arena at the MGM Luxor, the company had also hosted esports events at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and it also has a Level Up lounge at the MGM Grand.
- The Downtown Grand Casino was also the first place to offer a bet on esports in the US, when it accepted wagers on a League of Legends event back in 2016.
- Macau also boasts its own esports complex in the EStadium, which is located in the Cotai Casino Resort.
- There are growing numbers of partnerships between esports companies and casinos, such as Esports Entertainment Group’s partnership with Twin River Casino in New Jersey.
- GRID’s collaboration with GameCo meant that GRID’s esports data and streaming platform was implemented into GameCo’s video game gambling machine for both land-based and online casinos in certain U.S. states.
- Caesars Entertainment is working with the University of Nevada Las Vegas to build a new technology hub explicitly for gaming and hospitality. Part of that was the development of Black Fire Innovation, which is a replica resort and casino complete with its own esports arena.
In addition to that, you have a number of casino operators that offer sponsorship to esports tournaments, teams, and individuals. Betway, a familiar name as a sportsbook but which also operates an online casino, is famous for sponsoring teams such as Ninjas in Pyjamas, BIG, and MIBR.
Not Just One-Way Traffic
It should be noted here that casinos moving into esports is not just one-way traffic. There is plenty of evidence too that the esports industry and esports betting sites are also starting to understand that casino attractions can be useful additions to their site.
Pinnacle for example, not only offers extensive esports betting, but its online service now offers both a standard online casino and a live casino offering too. Other providers, such as Unikrn, who are firmly established as market leads in esports betting, are also now offering casino games as part of their service to customers.
Given that the casino industry (both land-based and online) and the esports industry are both huge and continue to grow, given their focus on different socio-economic groups and punters, it was inevitable that each would seek out the other to improve their offerings to customers.
So yes, casinos are moving into esports, and esports is also moving into casinos and the big winner in all of that, will be the punter who is going to find more choice than ever available to them when they log in to their account.