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Las Vegas Looking at Esports

Monday, April 25, 2016 : LAS VEGAS SIGHTS SET ON E-SPORTS
 
Casino resort operators are increasingly eyeing the potential of a rising activity with a young demographic.
 
Among the many informative articles on eSports which surfaced over the weekend was one from ESPN examining the response of the traditional gambling industry to the fast rising vertical and its market-coveted young 18 to 34 years age demographic.
 
The piece quotes a typical eSports event at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre last week in which over 6,000 fans packed the venue to watch the North American League of Legends Championship Series spring finals amid an electrifying ambience not dissimilar to a major fight night.
 
Team SoloMid faced Counter Logic Gaming for the final, with "fans banging glowing thunder sticks inside the arena", live commentary, sound and light effects and giant video screens relaying the action generated by the two teams seated at computers on the massive stage.
 
The size and potential of the eSports market has been estimated by different research firms; in the case of this article ESPN quotes recent Newzoo figures of $463 million in revenue this year and $1.1 billion by 2019.
 
That, and the interest of the younger millennial demographic, has been enough to pique the interest of major gambling groups, and ESPN reported on the way in which some of the Vegas greats are responding to the relatively new genre.
 
A spokesman for MGM International said the organisation has been closely following and assessing eSports possibilities for the past year, and has concluded that it is the future for the younger demographics.
 
"We've seen it grow and we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of. When there was a big battle going on during the final game, that place erupted as if it was a fight night, a UFC event or a basketball game," the spokesman said.
 
Mandalay Bay is one of the MGM properties and hosted its inaugural tournament last week - the North American League of Legends Championship Series spring finals - which pulled in 6,000 fans.
 
Encouraged by its success, the Mandalay Bay will next host the Evolution Championship Series (Evo), the largest fighting game tournament in the world, in July.
 
In the future, the resort hopes to host larger events such as the League of Legends World Championship in the newly opened T-Mobile Arena.
 
Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and the chairman of the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas, told ESPN that he wants to create "a 365-day-per-year esports destination," explaining that facilities could include in-room televisions streaming Twitch, food and beverage menus catering for the tastes and eating styles of gamers, game consoles available for rent in the rooms, and the capacity to run major tournaments.
 
The company has already allocated prime on-premises space for an eSports lounge, moving high-limit blackjack games to make way for the new vertical, which can handle five-on-five team competitions, with two rows of computers facing each other, as well as tournaments and casual gaming.
 
Schorr revealed that he has plans to open a second lounge soon. "We have really big plans for that space, and over the next two months you're going to see it completely redesigned," he said, adding that his plans include attracting eSports gaming teams.
 
He said that last year a leading eSports team spent two months living and training at the hotel, which set them up with suites and a private practice room, and when the team travelled to San Jose to play in the Intel Extreme Masters, the Downtown Grand converted a restaurant on the casino floor into the "Summoner's Cafe," complete with cosplay hostesses.
 
Schorr said that his company is a sponsor for the Las Vegas Newons , a professional Counter-Strike team, and is considering further sponsorship possibilities.
 
The article reports that in the aftermath of the League of Legends Championship Series spring finals in Las Vegas last week, the Downtown Grand catered for a rooftop poolside party which attracted 1,200 eSports players and fans.
 
Schorr said Las Vegas will be in a strong position to secure eSports business if the city's sportsbooks set lines and accept wagers on eSports events - a topic scheduled for discussion next month by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
 
The Downtown Grand wants to be ahead of the game, said Schorr - revealing that his company has already started drafting possible rules and regulations for eSports gambling, and had taken one of the gaming commissioners around its eSports facilities.
 
ESPN interviewed a spokesman for one of the major Vegas bookies, who considered the practicalities of setting betting lines for eSports, commenting:
 
"Developing lines would be new to most. We don't have anyone here on staff that really follows it. In its gaming infancy, we would lean on others such as the European market, like we do for most soccer, for betting lines. If we were able to accept wagers in the near future, betting limits would be relatively low until more familiarity is gained. I would compare it to how UFC has recently evolved. It started on a small scale and has really taken off wagering wise. It has a specific following, as does esports. With more TV exposure, I think esports might follow a similar path as UFC wagering."

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Gambling News :

HeyPoker Closing - The operator is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority, with the registering company listed as Evoke Gaming Ltd.

Can Jack Lam Make Things Right in Philippines - Lam will no doubt seriously consider the offer, having lost access to his Philippines businesses and with charges of attempted bribery and "economic sabotage" and an arrest warrant hanging over his head .

PPA Wants pre-emptive strike against RAWA - It's not just civic associations that are warning against the introduction of a federal ban on online gambling in a denial of states' rights . The Poker Players Alliance action group has begun mustering its over a million US members in a campaign as well.

UK Wants Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Changes - The group, titled FOBT All-Party Parliamentary Group plans to release its full report early in the new year, but for now has claimed that changes to FOBT regulations could help in reducing "associated crime" and problem gambling.

Sportech Wins 8 Year Old VAT case - An eight-year long, GBP 97 million VAT repayment claim dispute between Sportech PLC and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has come to an end with the Supreme Court refusing HMRC permission to appeal a previous Court of Appeal ruling.

2017 MPN Poker Tour - Main Event packages, worth 1,500, are available online and players can qualify via any of the MPN participating card rooms through a variety of satellites, with buy-ins starting as low as 0.25. Each 1,500 package includes:

Realistic Games in deal with Kindred Group - The UK-based online gambling games developer Realistic Games has signed a deal to supply its games to online operator Kindred Group, parent company of quality brands that include Unibet, Stan James and Maria Casino.

Opposition to Anti Online Gambling Bill in Congress Lame Duck Session - Action groups appeal to House Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that RAWA style language is not attached to unrelated spending bill.

DFS banning bill Introduced in Illinois - The legislative season in Illinois may be drawing to a close, but that hasn't stopped a new bid to ban daily fantasy sports from being assigned to the House Executive Committee; whether there is sufficient time to pass the bill is a matter for speculation.

Cambodia To More Closely Control Online Gambling - Cambodia, where online #gambling is operated by licensed land casinos alone, and Cambodian punters are banned from participating, is to tighten monitoring, control and management of the activity by setting up a centralized server, a Ministry of the Economy official revealed this week in a media interview.

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