Sunday March 13,2016 : E-SPORTS COME TO ATLANTIC CITY
Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort hosts first tournament in gambling city.
This weekend sees the first eSports tournament to be held in Atlantic City when the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort hosts a Nintendo tournament organised by entrepreneurial siblings Ben and Ari Fox.
“We’re the first to bring e-sports here,” Ben Fox told the publication Press of Atlantic City. “The people that are actually coming, they’re huge. They’re superstars in the Nintendo world.”
The publication notes that land casino operators are wrestling with the lack of interest in traditional land gambling among the key millennial demographic, and the popularity of eSports elsewhere, where large crowds attend venues to watch mainly youthful gamers compete against one another, could be the answer.
Certainly the Fox brothers believe there is synergy between eSports and land casinos. Ari Fox says that the land casinos are "..crying, ‘We’re aging out, we’re aging out.’ We looked at them and said, ‘We’re going to solve this problem."
The initial "Do or Die" tournament this weekend will not offer betting, which has become the eSports norm, but around 150 players will compete in contests built on the top Nintendo game "Super Smash Bros." The average age of the competitors is 27, according to the Fox brothers.
Winners will take home rather moderate prizes of around $6,500 (low for eSports contests that can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars) but the Fox brothers are ambitious and plan quarterly Atlantic City eSports tournaments.
“We’re creating the World Poker Tour, but in the video gaming industry,” Ari Fox told the Press of Atlantic City. He added that betting on such tournaments is inevitable given the immense popularity of video games among millennials.
And he revealed that he and his brother are developing a platform, “Vgamebet,” that he described as “a fantasy-sport web-based wagering system for e-sports.” They are trying to interest Atlantic City casino operators to join them.
“Whoever’s first to market with this is going to be able to attract all those millennials. If we could get this going in Atlantic City quicker than Las Vegas, then Atlantic City can capitalize on something that Vegas won’t be able to catch up to,” Ari said.