The slow progress of esports betting in Vegas

Published: Sep 27, 2019

Betting on esports is something that can easily be enjoyed online, but it has yet to become a big hit in Las Vegas. Although the American city is the self-proclaimed gambling centre of the world, it still tends to focus on old-fashioned gambling options like slots and table games. So what does Las Vegas need to do to take advantage of the esports betting phenomenon?

At the start of September 2019, there was a Casino Esports Conference in Las Vegas. This was held at the Luxor Hotel and Casino and it aimed to help build an infrastructure capable of hosting esports events in the city. With speakers from companies ranging from tech brands like Microsoft to esports betting sites like Unikrn, it showed that there was plenty of enthusiasm for helping Las Vegas become a new epicentre for esports.


It was widely expected that revenues from esports gambling would bring in at least $1.5 billion by 2020. However, initial results have shown that this will probably not happen, and as Las Vegas is the home of gambling in the US, it seems as though Sin City needs to get its act together.

Some people have speculated that the reason for the slow growth is the fact that people need to be at least 21 to gamble in Las Vegas. While this prohibits any teenagers from betting on esports in Vegas, the fact that most esports fans are between 20 and 35 years means that there could be an untapped market.

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Recently we have seen ambitious projects launched that have aimed to cater to gamers in the  city. The Esports Arena Las Vegas has already staged several high-profile gaming tournaments for titles like Rocket League and Rainbow Six. With massive video walls, gaming stages, VR stations and retro gaming booths, it’s a good indication of what Las Vegas could look like if it really capitalised on the potential of esports betting.

The esports betting industry has shown plenty of innovation in aiming to stimulate people to bet on competitive gaming. From giving people the ability to bet on streamers to even developing virtual betting platforms, it seems that there’s plenty of scope for creativity.

But Las Vegas is the self-declared ‘party capital of the world’, and so it will be seeking to gather people together to celebrate competitive gaming in venues like the Esports Arena Las Vegas. It is hoped that the 30,000 square feet esports stadium is just one of many projects that could bring a younger demographic to the city.

While most of Las Vegas’ traditional tourists tend to come to play simple slot machine games, it seems that millennials will require something more skill-based. Simply having a few games consoles in the lobby of a traditional casino clearly isn’t going to attract too many new customers.


Thankfully, it seems that many specialists from the esports industry are helping to optimise Las Vegas as a city for competitive gaming. Recently we have seen organisations like the Nevada Esports Alliance launched that look to boost the amount of gaming events taking place on the Las Vegas Strip and beyond.

Such movements will undoubtedly help bring more gamers to the city. Las Vegas has previously been running the Pro Evo Championship for over a decade, and the success of this fighting game tournament could lead to similar contests coming to the area.

Pro Evo Championship Las Vegas

With increased visitor numbers and higher profile tournaments, it should stimulate more potential betting options. The first legal esports bet was taken by William Hill in November 2016, and there are big hopes that as Vegas becomes a competitive gaming hub, it should encourage more adult gamblers to take a bet on esports.

Las Vegas has seen its revenues from traditional gambling plummeting over recent years. As a result, there have been efforts made to diversify its income streams through new events like electronic dance music festivals. One-off esports tournaments have helped highlight the city’s potential as a gaming hub, but it’s clear that Las Vegas will need to develop a much greater infrastructure around gaming if it wants to become a new capital for esports.

There are already several companies seeking to build link between traditional casino games and esports. Online gambling site Betway Esport recently introduced their CSGO slots game, and companies like Gameco are trying to introduce the VIP element of casino gaming into the total gaming experience of video games, and vice versa.

Above all, it is thought that gambling and esports naturally complement each other. Although Las Vegas has been slow in taking advantage of betting on competitive gaming, it looks like it won’t be long until it is the new home of esports betting in the USA.

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ESB Staff

Since: August 10, 2015

At we are a group of independent journalists with one big passion: Esports. We've been following the industry and have contributed to its growth since 2015.

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