HomePublicationsCurrent NewsletterVolume 27Issue 18iGamingBusiness Hosts Webinar on the Evolving Role of eSports Betting

On May 25, iGamingBusiness hosted a webinar discussing “The role of eSports in the evolving land-based sector.” The webinar offered insight from Seth Schorr, Chairman of the Downtown Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, and Jennifer Roberts, the General Counsel at WynnBET, on the growing importance of eSports in existing land-based casino establishments.

As the only major competitive sporting event during the COVID-19 pandemic, eSports witnessed significant growth in 2020. Most of this growth, however, occurred online, leading land-based casinos to search for new ways to integrate these activities into their operations. The unique ability to simultaneously bet on eSports competitions in-person and online has encouraged casinos to find the best way to appeal to customers on both fronts.

On the digital front, Ms. Roberts emphasized the ability of brick-and-mortar casinos to attract players through their brands’ existing reputations. In this way, casinos can extend their existing luxury and hospitality experiences into the digital realm to attract players.

Brick and mortar casinos face a different challenge in their efforts to draw eSports fans into their establishments. Mr. Schorr and Ms. Roberts both urge casinos to focus on developing amenities and accommodations that cater to the new, often younger generation of gamer-guests. Whether offering low-cost food options or streaming eSports competitions in casino restaurants and bars, according to Ms. Roberts, operators “must understand the audience.”

The cycle from gaming demand to integrated betting community adds another dimension to the challenge of attracting eSports fans into casinos. Ms. Roberts commented on the “vicious cycle” that relies on strong consumer demand. Without high levels of demand, operators will lack the drive to seek approval for eSports betting events. And without regulatory approval, eSports betting will remain an elusive opportunity for brick-and-mortar casinos.

To generate the requisite demand for eSports betting, Mr. Schorr expressed the importance of investing in media that showcases the excitement of eSports betting in a manner that appeals to eSports fans. Effective media, according to Mr. Schorr, must highlight the ways in which casinos have adapted to the habits of eSports fans, for example, by enabling interactive in-game betting, rather than single pre-game bets.

The legalization and regulation of eSports betting remains another essential step in attracting gamers into casinos. By promoting customer safety and ensuring game integrity, a regulated eSports betting industry will play a key role in turning an eSports fan into an eSports betting fan, according to Mr. Schorr.

Ultimately, the transition from eSports as an online-only betting experience to a brick-and-mortar casino attraction will depend on responsive marketing and regulatory efforts. And, as Ms. Roberts affirmed, it is “more than just games, but amenities that [will] appeal to the customer.”


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