compLexity and WinStar bridge the gap between esports and casino gaming
The acclaimed esports organisation compLexity has become the first US competitive gaming team to sign an exclusive sponsorship with a casino brand. The esports team’s partnership with the WinStar casino gaming firm will see compLexity choosing WinStar as their exclusive casino sponsor. The announcement looks to provide compLexity with plenty more in the way of funds, and it’s hoped that the sponsorship deal could help WinStar gain a much greater brand profile amongst the relatively young esports demographic.
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Whilst many esports teams in the UK have already signed sponsorship deals with online betting firms, it marks the first time that an American competitive gaming organisation has signed up with a gambling brand. The US has previously proven to be fairly restrictive in the way that casino companies can operate, but this sponsorship deal and the impending deregulation of the US sports betting market shows that the worlds of casino gaming, sports betting and esports could get much more closely intertwined in the coming years.
Why have compLexity teamed up with WinStar?
As the global esports industry has grown phenomenally to become an estimated $1.7 billion market by 2021, the race is on amongst the fledgling competitive gaming teams to solidify their reputations by snapping up and training the world’s best gamers. Whilst esports was once a niche activity, it has become increasingly professionalised and the spiralling costs of running a top-level esports team has meant that organisations like compLexity will continually be looking for extra sources of funds.
In return for being compLexity’s official casino sponsor, WinStar will also give the team’s players access to the brand’s casino resort in Oklahoma where they will get to enjoy the hotel, golf course and of course, the famous casino. In addition to this, the casino resort will host special boot camps twice a year and allow fans to meet their favourite compLexity gamers.
It’s worth mentioning that compLexity are part of Jerry Jones’ empire. The businessman owns the American football team, Dallas Cowboys, who by also being sponsored by WinStar, became the first NFL team to get an exclusive casino sponsorship.
The US esports team was launched in 2003, and quickly became famous for their competitive gaming achievements on titles like Counter Strike Global Offensive, Call of Duty and Dota 2. compLexity had previously announced a partnership with the clothing brand, H4X, but it’s clear that their deal with WinStar could prove to be an even shrewder move. Above all, the deal shows an increased willingness to take esports into the mainstream, and as compLexity have already won over 140 championships in their history, they seem to be well placed to become a household name.
WinStar’s plans to broaden its customer demographic
It’s a fact that revenues from casino gaming are falling the world over, and so casino brands like WinStar are doing all they can to broaden their demographic. In particular, it seems as though esports represents a relatively untapped territory for these gambling companies, and it’s hoped that by diversifying their products and focusing their attentions on esports, they might be able to reach a previously inaccessible young customer base.
Although video gaming has predominately been seen as being exclusively the preserve of young males, it has become evident that as gamers age, they are also unwilling to leave behind their appreciation of esports. It’s now thought that one in three viewers of esports is now between the ages of 35 and 54, and so it’s unsurprising that casino brands such as WinStar would be doing all they can to cater to a demographic that looks to be relatively resistant to old-fashioned casino games like poker, blackjack and roulette.
The growing relationship between gambling and esports
Whilst WinStar’s deal with Complexity marks a first for the US esports scene, it’s not the first time that gambling firms have sponsored competitive gaming teams elsewhere. The British online betting firm made shockwaves when they decided to sponsor the Ninjas in Pyjamas and MIBR esports teams, plus the GG.Bet betting brand went one better when their sponsored team, Natus Vincere, managed to win the ESL One Cologne 2018 tournament.
We have even seen online gambling brands sponsor entire esports tournaments as was seen when the Rivalry CIS Invitational tournament took place earlier this year. Anybody who has watch a Premier League football match will know that many of the clubs have their team shirts emblazoned with the logos of betting brands, and it seems as though this could become a fixed part of esports in the future.
Whilst there are ongoing concerns about the closeness of online gambling and esports in terms of match-fixing scandals and underage gambling, it’s clear that the investment in competitive gaming can help it in its push to become a fully mainstream entertainment.