The brave new world of eSports is getting bigger and better all the time. The easiest way to define eSports is as competitions that are played using electronic devices.
This can include online video games or real-life athletes; Sean Allen has been signed up to represent West Ham at FIFA e-tournaments, for example.
There’s big money to be made in eSports video games, as the huge multiplayer tournaments for Counterstrike: Global Offensive and other titles will tell you.
The hub of that world has been Asia for a long time, but now those in the know are trying to bring the thrills to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
New Life into the Vegas Market
The MGM Grand Garden Arena has opened in Las Vegas, and the Luxor Casino is set to open a new arena in early 2018. The idea seems to be to introduce new ideas into the old Vegas guard; the biggest population of players at Las Vegas are older professionals.
They come for conferences and all-inclusive holidays and are an important market, but they won’t, to put it bluntly, be here forever. As it stands, the 18-to-34-year old millennial demographic has not really come to the Vegas party yet.
Bigwigs in the City of Lights are now beginning to wonder if eSports championships could change all that.
Seth Schoor, Downtown Grand Chairman, has very high hopes for eSports in Vegas. While there are not many venues open at the moment, with the bulk of visitors still there to enjoy the games, it is hoped that the video game tournaments staged in Vegas will be among the best in the world.
Schoor predicts that the industry could become as big as the NFL, especially with Twitch eSports streaming services and Jud Hannigan, CEO or tournament organiser Allied Esports, has described the potential of Las Vegas to become an iconic eSports tournament destination.
Potential Pitfalls in the Vegas eSports Market
At this point, it probably seems like eSports are a no-brainer enhancement to the overall Las Vegas experience. But there are some considerable issues, which is why William Hill is the only bookmaker licensed to accept eSports bets in Nevada and why there were so few Strip operators at the recent inaugural Casino Esport Conference.
It’s often difficult, first of all, to change the course of something as big and established as old-school Vegas casinos.
A lot more regional operators, including delegates from Native American casinos, were seen because it’s much simpler to make quick decisions here.
The fact that the legal drinking age is 21 in Las Vegas is also problematic for attracting big gaming crowds when many individuals in this group are younger.
Most importantly, the millennial gaming culture is different to the conventional gambling culture, and bringing them together is proving to be as challenging as it is potentially rewarding.
Food and beverage options need to be adjusted to suit gamers’ tastes, and price points need to be adjusted. Schoor also spoke of offering “boot camp facilities” including IT support and gaming lounges to practice in.
If all this comes into place, a lot of gamers will choose to travel to Vegas over going all the way to Asia, but it’s a difficult course to navigate. We’ll have to wait and see if Vegas eSports really takes off.