Nik Rytterstrom – Luxor Las Vegas – Building an esports mecca

Last week brought news of Allied Esports and Esports Arena teaming up with Luxor Las Vegas, a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International, to open a dedicated 30,000 square foot esports venue in early 2018. 

MGM Resorts International hosts a plethora of big names in the Vegas hotel and casino industry, with Luxor featuring alongside world famous titles such as the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. It’s a company that was recently named in the Fortune Magazine’s 2017 list of World’s Most Admired Companies. As such, this is no small news. 

As the turbulent relationship between gambling and esports continues and we move towards an increasingly regulated space, Nevada regulators have seemingly embraced the prospect of esports as a betting product on the traditional sportsbook side. William Hill has already taken legal wagers out in Nevada on two events held in Sin City and with Millennial Esports having opened a 15,000 square foot dedicated space in Downtown, the MGM Group has become the latest to pounce. 

Copyright: <a href=''>photo7 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
The spectacular Luxor in Las Vegas

The MGM Grand played host to a successful DreamHack Las Vegas recently and with news of a new dedicated venue, it seems as if the event has made those in and around Vegas open their eyes to esports as an opportunity to recapture millennials who may have otherwise chosen alternative destinations. 

Esports Insider caught up with Nik Rytterstrom, the General Manager of Luxor to find out more about the hotel’s grand plans. 

Esports Insider: What spurred MGM and Luxor on to create a dedicated esports venue – it’s quite a big leap? 

Nik: As the leader in the entertainment industry, we need to be mindful of always keeping our experiences fresh and exciting for our guests.  The Esports Arena opening in early 2018 will offer Las Vegas visitors and locals a new entertainment option, one that welcomes people who are interested in gaming in a different way.

ESI: With MGM Grand playing host to DreamHack Las Vegas and a large-scale Counter-Strike event did it open a lot of eyes to those in the Casino industry? How was it received as an event in Vegas? Did it have any role to play in the decision to use the Luxor as an arena space?

Nik: We have closely watched the growth and excitement around esports.  This growth is evident as we’ve seen event viewership grow at a high rate on major networks as well as the large increase in worldwide competitions including events such as those we’ve hosted at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay over the last 18 months.

ESI: The arena is set to be a significant size – what are the plans for the venue? Is it set to host big tournaments or will it be open to the public to play against friends and spend time on an evening as an alternative to, say, the traditional casino space?

Nik: Fans of esports will be wowed by what we plan to launch; it is a 30,000-square-foot, multi-level venue unlike any other in the industry, and certainly unlike anything here in Las Vegas. We will host a variety of events each night, as well as major esports tournaments on the weekends. This will quickly become an entertainment hub that has something for everyone; whether it is the esports gamer, fans of traditional video games, the mainstream sports fans who want to watch a game on a big screen TV, or those guests who enjoy a club-like atmosphere.

ESI: Do you think this will be the start of several Casinos entering the space? Do you feel well placed to take advantage of the fast growing Esports industry?

Nik: This is an exciting time for us as the Esports Arena will expand Luxor’s offerings in a way that allows us to appeal to our current audience while introducing Las Vegas to a new group of travelers.

We partnered with Allied because they are the leader of their industry. Their knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed and we were wowed by their growing global network of esports properties. This high-tech, cutting-edge arena will take esports to an entirely new level.