If you like gaming and you like Las Vegas (and as you are reading this it is a fairly safe assumption), then you will be interested to hear that Las Vegas now has its very own dedicated eSports venue.
While Vegas is primarily a place of casino gaming, as it works to appeal to the next generation it has been branching out. Now Allied Esports have unveiled the first dedicated eSports venue on the Strip, the Esports Arena is has opened its doors at the Luxor in the space that used to house the Ra and LAX nightclubs. It has already started hosting tournaments that give participants the chance to win a share of $25,000 in prize money.
The CEO of Allied Esports International, Jud Hannigan, said, “Vegas, for us, is the championship destination. It is the place where people all around the world walking into our properties are driven to compete in our tournaments because they’re aspiring to get to Vegas.”
The hope is that the area will attract a younger demographic to Vegas, those who are more interested in video gaming than casino tables.
There are high hopes for the venue. Research firms, such as Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, are keeping a close eye on how it succeeds. Their managing director of sports and emerging verticals, Chris Grove, said, “This is the first facility of its kind to be dedicated to this form of gaming. With this venue, this team and this partner (MGM Resorts International), if they can’t make this work, I’m not sure who could at this point in time.”
According to Grove MGM Resorts is one of the most progressive casino companies involved in eSports. It has already hosted competitions at its largest arenas and it was the first Vegas casino to dedicate a section of its casino floor to Level Up, an area for betting on games of skill.
Research shows that the average video gamer is closer to the age of 28 than 21 and normally has a large amount of disposable income. Furthermore, the interactions with video games are now not very far away from the engagement that can be had with the most modern of video slots. For instance, with skill-based games like Frogger, play is essentially the same as the video-game version.
Grove added, “To try something like this and build an eSports arena and wrap a marketing and event concept of this around a destination for gaming is unprecedented. There are a lot of people waiting to see how it plays out.”
Allied Esports has come to Vegas already having built up a large network of fans. They have over 400 million followers across the world, mainly in North America, Europe and China. These followers can login from computers to watch or take part in tournaments and events at any venue.
Allied started with a 15,000-square-foot venue in Orange County, California in November 2015. It has since added to that a venue in Beijing, two mobile units that can be set up anywhere across the US for competitions, and now a venue in Las Vegas that is twice the size of the original Californian venue. By the end of April there will be eight venues across the world, including the mobile units.
In regards to Vegas, CEO Hannigan said, “Why Vegas? The reason we were really drawn to Vegas is that it inspires excitement and anticipation like no other place on Earth, and that’s something that we felt we could harness in our global offering.”
As always, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is looking for new ways to attract more foreign visitors to Vegas and Hannigan thinks that the eSports venue is the perfect way to do this.
“What we’ve created here is almost a welcome entry point in the sense that, in the front lobby, the hard-core gamer and eSports enthusiast is putting this on their calendars, but the passer-by is going to be intrigued, and we’ve broken down barriers to draw people in,” said Hannigan.
One of the major barriers that Allied Esports has removed is the price. It costs just $10 to play in a competition while spectators can enjoy food from celebrity chef Jose Andres, a gaming enthusiast.
Allied Esports aim to be “game agnostic” by which they mean that they will develop competitions and tournaments around any popular genre of game from a variety of publishers. As trends are continually changing, this means that there will always be new products for Allied to offer.
The new Vegas venue hosts multiplayer online arena games, known as MOBA, as well as first-person shooter games, strategy card games, and one of the latest genres, Battle Royale, which Hannigan described as being “almost like ‘The Hunger Games’ where 100 people are dropped in and must scavenge for weapons before taking the world by storm.”
He added, “Some of the games we’re playing today nobody had even heard of six months ago”.
One of the great advantages of the new venue is its flexibility. It can be set up for one on one, three on three and five on five matches for teams. Alternatively, it can put a huge number of participants on terminals spread around the arena.
There is a professional sports feel to the venue with a set of three video screens that stretch 50 feet wide and 20 feet tall across the front stage. Furthermore, some of the players are professionals who are sponsored by gaming companies to compete against other pros and players looking to climb the ranks.
The next stage for Allied Esports will be to introduce betting on the matches. The State Gaming Control Board has already prepared regulation for the idea of betting on events on a competition-by-competition basis but sponsors first have to seek permission to take bets.
You may not be able to take part in eSports betting at Casino Las Vegas but you can certainly bet on some virtual sports and various other games with a video-game feel to them. For instance, in our Arcade section you will find bowling, darts, horseracing, boxing, football and more.
Boxing is another sport closely associated with Vegas and if you choose to play Knockout then you can experience all the excitement of a major Vegas fight night. It is a simple game but one that can provide hours of fun and some huge winnings. The first thing you have to do is choose your fighter. You will then face your opponent in the ring and be presented with a number of targets and their odds. For instance, a punch to the side of the head has odds of x12. Then simply set your bet amount and click on ‘Punch!’. If your punch goes through then you win, if it’s blocked then you can just try again.
If football is more your thing then you will find a number of titles to enjoy such as Final Score and Penalty Shootout. Penalty Shootout is another simple game that offers lots of fun and potentially huge winnings. Simply choose where to aim in the goal and click on ‘Kick’. Each part of the goal offers different odds, the bottom left and right corners offer x3, the middle offers x5 and the top left and right corners offer x12. If you get past the goalie then you win! Final Score is a game that will appeal to wannabe football managers. You need to predict the outcome of major European leagues and win depending on the outcome of individual matches. Simply choose your league, two teams from that league, and the result of the match. Get it right and some huge winnings are coming your way.
If you want to keep an element of the casino in your play then take a look at Frankie’s Fantastic 7, an arcade game that takes you to the races. You need to choose from seven horses and predict which will win the race. Each horse has different odds offered on it. During the race cards are dealt for each horse and these cards determine the horses’ progress. The card with the highest rank wins a round and the horse will move one-step forward. If there are two cards with the same rank then the suit determines the winner. If two cards have the same rank and suit then both horses move one-step forward. Finally, if a joker is drawn for a horse the horse is eliminated from the race. With a bit of luck you can win payouts of up to 13:1 when your horse comes in first.
If you aren’t going to be able to make it to Las Vegas to experience the new eSports arena in the near future then don’t worry. There is more than enough on offer at Casino Las Vegas to keep you playing for hours on end.