ESI London 2018 Preview: Casinos, it’s time to turn to video games

04 September 2018


Some say the age of the slots is over. But to whom do land-based casinos now turn? At Esports Insider, we are of the opinion that it is now high time for casinos to replace these outdated machines and fill their floors with something else, something better. Our answer; video games of course.

Esports, a niche within the wider and much larger video games industry, is growing ever bigger – with the economy reported by one firm to be hitting almost $1 billion in 2018 – many believe that it’s only right that casinos should explore this opportunity. Right now, there is an ageing demographic of those who populate casino floors and place bets, and this is understandably a concern for casino and connected business owners. Video games are a natural step in seeking to lower this age should casino owners want to achieve such a goal. For their long-term security and health of their businesses and industry, the assumption here is; they do. Just as sports teams and leagues from the NBA, to football teams, the NFL, Formula 1 and more are turning to esports; there is a clear opportunity for casinos to do the same.  

One of many hot topics that will be the subject of discussion among industry professionals at our upcoming conference – ESI London (September 18-20th) – will be exactly this: bringing esports into casinos.

The likes of Dr. Brett Abarbanel, Director of Research for International Gaming Institute UNLVCallum Scott, Events & Entertainment Project Manager at Rank Group,  Jon Winkle, MD at epic.LAN, and Luke Cotton, COO, Code Red Esports will be on hand to give some invaluable insight and opinion on the subject.

This session will form a part of the betting on esports track at the esports business conference in the Olympia in September. Scott Longley, of Clear Concise Media will take charge and moderate this session. 

The two main questions that arise when this topic is discussed are the following:

  • Why incorporate esports into casinos?
  • How to incorporate esports into casinos?

We’re currently seeing a rise in gambling on esports, with major bookies such as Betway offering plenty of markets on a multitude of titles, as well as getting directly involved with teams and tournaments – Ninjas in Pyjamas, Immortals, MIBR, ESL One, and the upcoming Major in London, for example. ESI London will also see a session hosted by the Head of Esports at Betway, and the CEO of NiP discussing this very partnership. 

Callum Scott, Rank Group

With all this in mind, it’s not too difficult to imagine esports making it big outside of the online betting space. With physical casinos offering betting options for esports, and of course the likes of these venues in Las Vegas, and elsewhere, being entertainment establishments first and foremost there’s a good chance that more punters will be attracted to that particular location and, as a result, more revenue would be generated. 

Here’s what Callum Scott of Rank Group, who runs the Grosvenor Casino chain in the UK, had to say ahead of the conference: “I feel that casinos have a unique opportunity to help develop UK esports. Personally, I feel our multi-functional venues are our greatest asset and they should be used to develop our talent. Creating opportunities to compete and meet other people within their chosen platform and game is key to growing the UK scene.

“My vision is for casinos to be the place to be for socialising within esports.”

Rank and UK-based tournament organiser epic.LAN signed a partnership earlier this year, and they are currently in the midst of running a number of CS:GO tournaments at Rank venues around the country. 

Of course, the main attraction for casinos when it comes to esports is attracting a younger audience. As mentioned above, the older generation dominates the land-based casinos gambling demographic – so, just like traditional sports – perhaps it’s time for punters to fully embrace this emerging industry? This will be up for discussion in London when the conference rolls around. 

It’s becoming more and more common to find casinos focusing their efforts on esports in some form, from the Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas, for example, to MGM’s arrangement with Unikrn, the Downtown Grand, Millennial Esports’ venue in downtown Vegas, and more – though it remains a new trend so companies need to be cautious and fully educated before trying to cash in on it. 

Ready to book your ticket? You can do so here!

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