ESI Gambling Report: Casinos hit jackpot on esports audience

Gaming houses are doubling down on esports as the industry continues to bloom. While the cyber sport has found ways to intersect with even the most alien trades, gambling is curving out to be more endemic than you'd expect.

Seattle has long been regarded as the esports capital of the United States due to the city being a centralised hub for many of the gaming industry’s giants. When thinking of competitive gaming cornerstones though, it’s difficult to exclude Sin City from the conversation today. New, groundbreaking partnerships are linking Vegas, casinos and esports closer than ever and they’re carving out to be more endemic than you’d think. So what do these three all have in common? We’ll get into the details in this week’s ESI Gambling Report, powered by BetOnBit.

There’s no doubt that a city being recognised as a leader of the rapidly emerging esports market is going to be good for business, in one way or another. Right now, there’s a feeling of contention for that title among two of the juggernauts: Seattle and Las Vegas. Home to companies such as Valve, Microsoft, Bungie, Twitch and Mixer as well as having hosted Dota’s famed The International tournament on multiple occasions, it’s not hard to see how Seattle has become an esports staple in the US.

The City of Lights is not far behind though, and in some regards is leading a unique charge of their own. Esports-designated bars, lounges and convention centers have infiltrated Las Vegas in full force; the movement has recruited heavy-hitters such as MGM Resorts, Downtown Grand and the Luxor Hotel, to name a few. Arguably the biggest story around Vegas esports occured in November of this year when HyperX acquired naming rights of the Esports Arena. Most notably, the exclusive partnership planted the logo of HyperX on the outside of the pyramid-shaped venue for all of the city to bask in.

The contention between the two major US cities is far from the point of this report, however, as Vegas takes strides towards advancing themselves, we’re all looking towards betting district utilising their chief characteristics as the driver that propels them far ahead – gambling.

Activations

Alongside Luxor and other venues hosting tournaments, the next wave of esports catering has begun permeating through Sin City as a result; operations such as that at the Downtown Grand is opening up its rooms and facilities to house players ahead of tournaments. Compact, yet charming rooms can dorm four players at a time while offering designated gaming centers with top-of-the-line facilities. Training in the days leading up to an event is far less taxing when you subtract setting up computer builds from your trip – conserving plenty of time and energy as you stroll into your prepackaged, esports-ready amenity.

Las Vegas and casinos are practically synonymous with one another and the gambling den’s interest in esports even outside of Vegas is only climbing through the days, weeks, months and years. For example, just last week WinStar World Casino and Resort inked a deal with compLexity Gaming that pinned the gaming destination as the official casino of the North American esports organisation. There’s plenty of perks for both WinStar and compLexity per this arrangement such as routine meet-and-greets with the players – but even more so, there’s reasonable basis behind partnerships of this effect.

A match made

The esports audience is somewhat of this golden demographic today – young, sharp-witted and above all, highly engaged in what they are consuming. However, this global audience compiled of both males and females generally orbiting between the ages of 16-35 can be difficult to reach if you’re not taking the proper routes. Conventional forms of marketing such as television are likely to miss the target as the esports audience isn’t consuming traditional forms of media. According to a recent study conducted by global information and data company, Nielsen, less than 40% of the Twitch audience claims to watch television on a weekly basis. Advertisers are having to get creative when it comes to getting their product in front of these individuals and thus, direct unions within the industry are prompting brands to connect at lightning rates.

The power behind getting a strong foothold in this group is highly valuable and casinos are one of the industries diving headfirst into this arena as it becomes increasingly more evident. Gaining traction with any international and mixed audience is priceless, plain and simple. However, the gambling industry is shaping up to be more endemic than many had initially expected. The average age of an esports enthusiasts coincides with that of a gaming house’s most sought after group; apart from being young and fixed on thrilling and engaging experiences, they are part of the entertainment industry that casinos associate themselves with.

With esports, the landscape of gambling will be changing and since video games are not going anywhere, this new gaming industry is one that will continue to prosper and enjoy tremendous growth, which is great news to casino operators. Land casinos and gambling sites that offer esports betting have already seen great growth and higher revenue due to the support of esports wagering options.”

With that, the esports demographic is so widely different than the traditional gambling demographic that it welcomes an entirely new wave of consumers into the betting sphere. By either offering esports betting or linking their brand to esports through partnerships, casinos can absorb and retain aficionados of the cyber sport for years to come.

Betting

Esports betting has steadily risen over time and evolved into a mature and glowing industry since its inception. There’s an encyclopedia of information out there on the betting handle as well as its roots – so we won’t bore you with the details there. We would also hope that we wouldn’t have to map out the clear connection here between betting on esports and casinos.

While the betting handle has primarily been processed online through a number of sportsbooks – some of those being esports-dedicated oddsmakers – there is a deficit in land-based casinos offering lines. As big as this market is, it’s a different story transitioning it from the world wide web to the floors; and with the exception of a few one-time Vegas stints, physical betting on esports is largely unexplored territory.

The hunger for esports betting is there, though, and casinos are coming into realisation of this which seems evident by the crowd of alliances between them. The United States is a hotbed of a market for this venture and with sports betting being legalised (to an extent), the scenario in which esports penetrate Vegas, casinos and the like is becoming very surreal.

Gambling facilitators that can position themselves and their brand close to esports prior to this imminent plunge will likely be ahead of the curve once it eventually splashes. This audience is only growing in size and morphing to widen in shape each passing day and those joining forces with esports – betting affiliated or not – are hitting a true jackpot.

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