Las Vegas is fighting tooth and nail to make a name for itself as a globally recognised esports destination. The city of lights takes another move towards this goal this week with the grand opening of the Millennial Esports arena in downtown.
The 15,000 square foot space will host esports tournaments. It’ll first a three day long $50,000 qualifier for the Halo World Championship, and there’s a Madden tournament scheduled for later in March too. The arena can comfortably seat 200 in front of the main stage, with space for hundreds more in another hall decked out with big screens.
Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and a member of the board of directors of Millennial Esports commented: “Las Vegas needs to consistently reinvent itself to remain relevant to the up-and-coming generation. We’ve always come up with ways to maintain our position as the entertainment capital of the world.”
So why is this venue opening in Vegas and why now? Land based casinos have long been worried about the declining numbers of gamblers in their 20s and early thirties. The casino floors are filled with slot machines, and whilst for a long time casinos opted for rebranding these to attract a younger generation, this tactic seems to have fallen rather short. It’s only now that major casinos seem committed to trying something new.
They’re now looking to competitive gaming; with gaming machines based on those that the ‘millennial’ generation grew up playing. Companies such as GameCo are answering this call and its VGMs went live in Atlantic City late last year with another rollout planned for other regions throughout 2017. CEO Blaine Graboyes commented: “We’re starting to build our business internationally with plans to expand soon into Asia, South America, Europe, and cruise ships too.
“A majority of players to date have been under 40 years old, which is great for the casinos’ goals to bring in a younger audience. And we’ve seen that skill-based games can meet or beat floor averages, as long as the right players are there.” You can read more from our most recent chat with Blaine here.
What else is happening with esports in the city? The Downtown Grand hosts regular tournaments, whilst William Hill Nevada has now taken wagers on two big competitions following the recent Dreamhack event in the city.
ESIC (the esports integrity coalition) recently hosted its first Future of Esports in Las Vegas summit; these will be regular meetings between the stakeholders and those involved in the space. As is well documented it’s an exciting time for the esports industry, and Las Vegas, with its plethora of hotels, venues, eateries and leisure facilities is undoubtedly well placed to be far more involved than it is right now.
The Millennial Esports venue, in the Neonopolis in downtown, should help to facilitate this and bring more tournaments to Sin City. Its location in downtown was no mistake either as Millennial Esports CEO Alex Igelman told the Vegas Sun: “As soon as I got into this industry, I knew I wanted to be in Las Vegas and specifically in downtown Las Vegas. The demographic and everything about downtown fits perfectly with esports.”
Esports Insider says: Now we’re itching to get out to Vegas. The city is especially well placed to put on major tournaments with the infrastructure it has long had in place. Millennial Esports finding a home at the Neonopolis is especially great news for the evermore attractive Vegas downtown too. Viva Las Vegas.