Las Vegas is quickly becoming a prominent esports hub.
The desert city of Las Vegas has historically been more famous for its casino scene and live entertainment, but “Sin City” has also quickly developed a reputation as an esports hub in recent years. esports, which encompasses all forms of competitive video gaming, has become big business around the world with big-ticket tournaments hosted in Vegas and elsewhere around the world, attracting many of the world’s best esports teams and individuals to play for six-figure prize pools.
You’d be forgiven for wondering whether there is a demand for watching other people playing video games – but there clearly is. In 2017, more than 57 million viewers tuned in to watch the League of Legends World Championship, which was almost double the viewing audience of the NBA Finals in the same year. When you consider that the esports industry generated nearly $1 billion in 2016, it was clear to see why Vegas wanted in on the esports action.
Vegas has since hosted several esports tournaments in Neonopolis and Downtown Grand, while the University of Las Vegas has also staged collegiate esports events and launched its own “esports Lab” making budding esports competitors aware of the business of the industry.
Introducing the HyperX Esports Arena
The city has also invested in a dedicated 30,000 square foot esports arena in the heart of the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip. The HyperX Esports Arena is within the Luxor Resort and Casino, offering a multi-level, professional space to host all kinds of competitive video gaming.
There is a dedicated competition stage, making it easy for fans to watch the action unfold, complete with a 50-foot LED video wall. There is also a network TV-caliber production studio to make esports shows compete with well-established spectator sports.
Esports gamers visiting Las Vegas can head to the HyperX esports Arena and try the state-of-the-art gaming equipment for themselves, with hourly and two-hour passes as well as full-day and weekend passes up for grabs. A quick scan of the event page of the HyperX Esports Arena website shows that esports tournaments are being hosted weekly right now, bringing some of the world’s best esports talent to Nevada.
Even Vegas’ Topgolf venue has its own Esports lounge
Such is the impact of esports on the millennial generation that Topgolf is starting to install esports lounges into its venues. Topgolf Las Vegas was one of the first to trial a dedicated esports lounge.
It was demonstrated first at CES 2019, with Topgolf Las Vegas quickly gaining a reputation for being the place to visit to watch the latest esports tournaments live with wall-to-wall monitors, comfortable seating, and plenty of craft beers and bar snacks. Just like sportsbooks in Vegas have screens dedicated to major league sports, venues like Vegas Topgolf now have sites devoted to esports stars honing their craft.
How Esports betting is on the rise in Vegas and beyond
Revenues from global betting on esports have been forecast to reach $1.5 billion by the turn of the next decade. Las Vegas is slowly but surely beginning to recognize the benefits of esports betting markets. One of the main reasons why it has taken some time for Vegas’s to gain traction in this domain is due to the demographics of esports fans. Most esports fanatics are aged between 18 and 30. Betting is only legal for those aged 21 and older, so it takes time for some fans to be able to wager on their favored markets.
Since 2017, the Nevada Esports Alliance (NVEA) has campaigned for the legalization of esports betting, and it was only a few months later that those protestations were approved by the legislature. With Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena located just a short distance from the casino’s sportsbook and poker room, it would make sense for Luxor to take the lead and push esports money lines and prop bets from its sportsbook, creating new demand for the industry.
Vegas is evolving into a multi-faceted entertainment destination
Las Vegas may no longer be regarded as the world’s casino capital – usurped by Macau – but it still turns over substantial sums of money. That’s despite the growth of the iGaming industry and consumers’ growing opportunities to visit a live casino with real dealers on all computer devices today. While Macau turns over more than $25 billion in annual casino revenues, Vegas still turns over around $6-7 billion from slots and table games such as Texas Hold’em poker, blackjack, and roulette. It’s by no means an insignificant amount, but it does show that Vegas’ diversification into other forms of entertainment is the main reason behind its continued popularity among tourists.
Sure, people still flock to Vegas with the sole purpose of taking part in the World Series of Poker or spending an evening in a high-limit casino room playing blackjack, but others visit Sin City for other reasons. Whether it’s Michelin-starred fine dining, live music, a growing amount of major league sports, or unique experiences away from the Strip, Las Vegas is still a city that allows people to be anything or anyone they want to be, with very little off-limits.
When you consider that the possibilities in esports are similarly limitless, it seems somewhat poetic that Las Vegas would become the global hub for competitive video gaming. There is no doubt that gaming still makes the world go round in the Nevada desert, but it by no means has the monopoly it once had.
Image Via: https://www.hyperxesportsarenalasvegas.com/