Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval approved Senate Bill 240 in June 2017 which made eSports legal in the state from Jul 1, 2017. Gov. Sandoval recognized the potential of the eSports gaming industry and wanted Nevada to embrace the global eSports industry and become the top gaming hub for eSports competitions.
Esports Arena Las Vegas
Casino operators in Nevada haven’t been all that keen to jump into the eSports industry as it is still relatively new for most people. MGM Resorts International was one of the first casino operators that decided to focus its attention on eSports. The company decided to partner with Esports Arena which is an esports production company and community hub and Allied Esports which is a network of eSports venues and launch a dedicated eSports arena.
The partnership looked at transforming the former Luxor LAX nightclub and converting it into a high-end eSports arena. Most of the work on the ‘Esports Arena Las Vegas’ has been completed and the arena is expected to open to the public on March 22. The opening day will be a gala affair in Las Vegas with a number of exciting series being put together including a multi-day, invitation only live streamed eSports tournament.
Esports Arena Las Vegas is a high-end arena that covers 30,000 square feet and will have a production studio, telescopic seating, a 50-foot light-emitting diode video wall along with celebrity chef Jose Andres serving up great food and drinks.
Global Esports Industry Growth
Nevada casino operators have done their best over the years to come up with different marketing strategies to attract millennials, who have shown a tendency to avoid traditional casino games and play skill-based games. Most of their patrons fall in the 20-40 age bracket and are known for spending money on games that tickle their imagination and test their skills.
The global eSports industry has succeeded in attracting these elusive millennials as many of them love playing eSports games while thousands love following their favourite eSports games and eSports players. MGM Resorts is going with the old adage of ‘build them and they will come’.
Newzoo, a market intelligence firm estimated that the global eSports industry would generate around $696 million in 2017 and go up to $1.5 billion by 2020. Global eSports revenue numbers for 2017 are yet to come in but should the estimates by Newzoon turn out to be correct, casino operators across the world will want to customize their offerings so they can capitalize on this multi-billion dollar industry.
MGM Resorts was one of the first casino operators in Nevada to take a leap of faith and move forward with their plans to build the first permanent eSports arena in the state. Nevada casino operators will be keeping a close watch on the performance of Esports Arena Las Vegas and how MGM profits from the venture. Should it turn out to be a successful venture for MGM Resorts, more casino operators in Nevada will follow suit and start investing in the eSports market.
MGM Resorts Must Make A Profit From eSports
One of the main reasons why Nevada casino operators have been hesitant of investing into the eSports market is because they are still not certain as to how they will generate significant revenue. MGM Resorts has not disclosed any plans on how it intends to make money of Esports Arena Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts International president of core Las Vegas properties, Steve Zanella went on record to say that the immediate goal of the company was to build a strong rapport with eSports gamers but did not disclose how this would help generate money for the casino operator. Zanella also said that his objective at the moment was not to bring in big numbers into the eSports arena but to prove that people will come into the arena because they are interested in eSports.
There are speculations that MGM Resorts will sell day passes to the Esports Arena Las Vegas for $20, although a final price has not been fixed. Those who want to take part in eSports tournaments at the arena will have to pay a higher ticket price for participation. Chris Grove, the co-director for Nevada Esports Alliance remains positive that the first permanent eSports arena in Nevada will help transform the eSports industry in the state.
In a statement, Grove speaking of the new eSports arena said “It will start to give some shape to the esports identity of Las Vegas. All of these players in the esports ecosystem will have a reason to interact with Las Vegas differently.”