Esports Casinos – Why Casinos Are Getting Into Esports
Esports and casinos might not appear to be closely linked, but a growing number of casinos are starting to get very excited about competitive gaming. From the arrival of special casino esports arenas in Las Vegas, to casino brands sponsoring some of the biggest esports teams, it seems that this relationship is going to become more closely linked.
Recently the Luxor Casino’s esports arenas have been picking up plenty of attention. But there has also been the likes of WinStar World Casino becoming the first esports casino sponsor of a competitive gaming team. Even some casino games like slots are starting to gain inspiration from esports as they aim to become more ‘skill-based’.
The moves into esports have come at a time when the revenues from traditional gambling are falling. In May 2019, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released figures that stated that the gross gaming revenue from the Las Vegas Strip had declined by 3.5%.
But with competitive gaming growing to become a billion dollar industry in 2019, many casinos are starting to look at how they have take advantage of the esports phenomenon.
For the best esports casino, Las Vegas leads the way
As Las Vegas is the self-declared casino capital of the world, it is little surprise to find that the US city has been quick to implement esports amongst its entertainments.
However, Las Vegas isn’t a total newcomer to competitive gaming. As early as 2005, the Las Vegas Valley has been hosting the Evolution Championship Series. This fighting gaming tournament has rapidly grown in size and now takes place at MGM’s Mandalay Bay casino resort.
Many of the biggest names on the Strip have made moves to open their own kind of esports casino. Las Vegas brands such as Caesars, Luxor and Downtown Grand have done everything from opening special gaming arenas to making their facilities available to travelling esports players.
Caesars was one of the first casino brands to open a specialist esports space. In 2017, the company unveiled a 48,000-square-foot production studio that was designed with esports in mind. This came at a time when Caesars was already hosting competitive gaming tournaments for titles such as Gears of War. As a result, it was little surprise that Caesars would be the first brand to attract a major esports league with the arrival of the H1Z1 competitive gaming tournament in 2018.
Not to be outdone, MGM unveiled plans to develop a special millennial gaming playground. This would be a project that would allow the esports betting brand, Unikrn, to host esports tournaments within the space. MGM also announced a partnership with ESP Gaming to develop a 10,000-square-foot esports facility inside the casino hotel.
The best casino esports arenas
MGM’s Luxor Las Vegas casino hotel is now at the forefront of the city’s competitive gaming scene. This is the site one of the biggest casino esports arenas with a 30,000-square-foot space at the HyperX Esports Arena that has already hosted gaming tournaments such as the League of Legends All-Star 2018 and the Capcom Cup 2018.
With a 50-foot LED video wall, competition stage and production studio, the HyperX Esports Arena marks the most ambitious esports casino project so far. But the arena isn’t just concentrating on attracting the biggest esports tournaments.
The HyperX Esports Arena also hosts nightly gaming competitions for titles such as Rainbow Six, Mario Kart, League of Legends, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter V and much more. In addition to this, there are also VR platforms and retro gaming areas that are designed to encourage more gaming fans to take a trip to Las Vegas.
Big esports casino sponsorship deals
In order to herald the arrival of esports casino ventures, there have been moves made by casinos to boost their profiles amongst the hardcore gaming audience. This can be seen in the fact that the WinStar World Casino and Resort has entered into a partnership with the Complexity Gaming esports club.
The deal will see WinStar becoming the exclusive casino sponsor for the esports team. This is the first time that a casino has become an esports organisation’s official sponsor.
There have already been many high profile sponsorship deals between esports teams and sports betting sites, such as the partnership between Betway and Ninjas in Pyjamas. But the fact that a brand like WinStar would want to promote their services via a team like Complexity reveals a significant change in perception about how esports is perceived by casino brands.
The arrival of esports casino games
Even some of the most popular casino games are starting to feel the influence of esports. This is because a generation of gamers are now looking for gambling games that are skill-based, rather than just being reliant on luck.
Such trends could spell big trouble for casino games like slots that are almost entirely dependent on chance. But many casino have started introduced a new kind of slots game that aim to emulate esports by including a degree of skill within the gameplay.
Although many of these slots games are a world away from big esports such as CSGO and LoL, they are revealing that casino owners are starting to take notice of a new generation’s gaming preferences.
Rather than being a place where customers go to play traditional games like roulette, blackjack and slots, the growth of esports casinos marks a big change in the way that people want to play.
But if you want to visit an esports casino, Las Vegas isn’t the only place where you are going to see this phenomenon. The popular Asian casino gaming resort of Macau is also starting to introduce competitive gaming as can be seen at Melco’s new esports arena in Studio City.
So whilst casinos once used to be all about slots and poker, it seems that esports are starting to transform these entertainment hotspots.