Las Vegas Casino Operators Fail To Show Up At First eSports Conference

September 11, 2017 by Paul Butcher

A majority of Las Vegas casino operators located on the Strip chose to sit out the first ever eSports conference which took place last week. The Casino eSports Conference was conceived as a way to bring together members from the casino and esports industry and explore the opportunities available to integrate esports within the casino industry.

The eSports conference was scheduled across two days at the Westgate, the event comprised of a range of panel discussions covering topics like tournaments, eSports regulation and marketing strategies. There were nearly 175 members in attendance which included a mix of industry executives, consultants, gaming control board officials, academics and lawyers Conference producer Ben Fox said that executives from regional casinos including Native American casinos were present in larger numbers when compared to Las Vegas establishments.

In a statement Fox said,

Regional casinos have a tendency to make their decisions quicker and easier because they don’t have to answer to the hierarchy of the old school. It is extremely hard to turn a battleship

Las Vegas casinos have only recently started looking at integrating esports into their offerings. Earlier this year, MGM Resorts International announced that it was constructing an esports arena making it the first Strip casino to do so. One reason for the poor showing from Vegas casinos could be because esports enthusiasts are usually younger than 21, which bars them from casino gaming and alcohol consumption, which significantly reduces the amount of money they can spend at these facilities. Most esports participants also find the Strip to be expensive which discourages them from visiting.

eSport consultant and panel moderator Mike Chapman pointed out that none of the players participating in a recently-concluded esports tournament held at Tropicana in Atlantic City chose to stay at the casino’s premises. The hotel rooms at the property were priced at $200 per night.

Chapman said that it wasn’t enough for casinos to hold tournaments but they needed to make the environment a lot more similar to what is found on college campuses. Chapman noted that the Twitch streaming platform offered an affordable alternative when compared to
travelling to expensive locations.

Downtown Grand casino Chairman Seth Schorr expressed optimism that the esports industry would gain rapid popularity and become as popular as the National Football League (NFL). He said that Vegas casinos could attract the esports industry by developing bootcamp facilities for practice games which would include gaming lounges, fast internet and IT support.