If Las Vegas Plays Its Cards Right, It Could Become A Major Destination For eSports

Published: Apr 29, 2016 - Last Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Las Vegas has been a top destination for sports, gambling – and the combination of the two – for a long time.

With the massive expansion of the eSports industry and the related eSports betting market, it is yet to be seen exactly how the Sin City will develop in order to become a premier destination for these kinds of event as well.

A vision of Las Vegas’ eSports future emerges

A recent article by Polygon dug into the possibilities that could emerge in Las Vegas as the result of the eSports hype, including insights from Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino Chairman Seth Schorr, who spent more than a year studying the eSports community in an effort to see how the trend can be capitalized on.

“We wanted to create an environment that caters to the eSports audience 24/7,” he told Polygon, noting that the Downtown Grand has removed a number of slot machines and blackjack tables to create a “Downtown Underground” eSports lounge that hosts regular events.

“We wanted to activate our property so that the eSports enthusiasts always want to come visit the property and there’s always something going on,” Schorr said.

Schorr says the events are relatively small right now, but notes that he would like to make them bigger in the near future. He also intends to work with state gambling regulators in order to bring video game competitions accompanied with wagering on eSports to the place, where money can be put into a communal pot and competed for.

The house, of course, would also get its share.

“They’re not quite there yet,” Schorr said. “There’s a lot of regulatory process to get that regulated and legalized, but we think that’s the direction, at least partially, that gambling will be going.”

Las Vegas – a potential hot spot for eSports

As the global eSports market expands, Las Vegas could be a great place for the so-called “eSports tourism.” With an infrastructure in place that can support large-scale events like Evo and The International, the competitive gaming industry could see the place as one of its main hubs when it comes to live competitions.

Additionally, Beijing-based company Ourgame International Holdings Ltd., the parent company of the World Poker Tour, apparently wants to build multiple arenas for competitive video games around the globe and it sees Las Vegas as a prime location.

Bringing eSports and skill-based video game gambling machines to casinos

Even though citywide hotel and motel occupancy was up three percent in Las Vegas year over year, overall gaming revenue was down on the Las Vegas Strip by more than seven percent last year. People, especially millennials, who visit Las Vegas, are turning away from slot machines because, according to Schorr:

“Slots are too one-dimensional for people who’ve grown up surrounded by advanced technology. They’re working on three or four different devices at once. They’re very dynamic, and a slot machine, a current slot machine where you sit at a machine and hit one button is too slow and boring, and the technology, quite frankly, seems very dated.

So slot manufacturers will be evolving their products and will integrate more skill-based gaming within the product.”

This is why people like Blaine Graboyes, the co-founder and CEO of GameCo, Inc., are planning to bring eSports and skill-based video game gambling machines to casinos.

“[Slots] are random; there’s no skill,” he said. “You pull a lever and just wait for an animation for a result that was already determined in the millisecond that you bet. If you grew up playing Nintendo and PlayStation, it just is not engaging at all to play slot machines. And young people have better entertainment options.”

With this in mind, there is a lot of wiggle room in Las Vegas for companies who want to capitalize on the growing eSports industry. As eSports viewership and popularity are reaching all-time highs, there is a lot of potential in a city like Las Vegas, especially for an entertainment-heavy community like competitive gaming.

If the cards are played right, the city could easily become the next center for eSports-based activities globally.

Image credit: Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

Dejan Zalik

Since: September 12, 2015

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.

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