When you start from zero, any growth will be super impressive. Therefore any attention that professional video games (Esports) is getting today is impressive since it is starting from such a small base.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Esports is getting attention. NBC has shown Counterstrike: Global Offensive in prime time. The Dota2 tournament The International is underway this week and has a prize pool of over $24 million. A live audience has packed Seattle’s Key Arena in the past for that tournament (though this year the event has moved to Vancouver):
The defending champions — @TeamLiquid.
Captained by @LiquidKuroKy, from the budding start of 5Jungz and #TheDefense5 winners to #TI7 champions. Will this year be the first we see the Aegis reclaimed? pic.twitter.com/Tgg0997UAW
— joinDOTA (@joinDOTA) August 4, 2018
Las Vegas does not miss out on entertainment trends. Downtown Grand has installed an esports lounge that hosts tournaments and small events for players.
It is Luxor, thought, that has upped the ante by replacing an entire nightclub (LAX) with an Esports Arena. They are promoting it with a huge wrap ad on the pyramid, and the physical plant is impressive.
What is more impressive though, is that they are getting traffic. Your author was on site a couple of weeks ago, on a Tuesday, and saw plenty of the terminals in action, as well as the “sofa setups” where groups can play games like Mario Kart and so on.
The timing may be right for this for participation.
The missing ingredient is wagering.
As mentioned, there is a $24 million dollar tournament happening this week. You can watch online with Twitch. I was in Las Vegas last week. But I could not find odds. William Hill does offer odds in Europe on Esports, but not in the US.
We already know that gambling boosts viewrship for sporting events. If Esports is going to take off, especially in Las Vegas, having a line available for major events (and individual matchups) will be key.
The data is available online. There are plenty of places to find the best players, teams, records, stats, and so on. The research is readily done. Services are ready and willing to feed the sports books information.
The spread of sportsbetting around the country will lead to more innovation in Las Vegas to continue to differentiate, and Esports betting could be a part of that.
Conversely, betting could be a big part of the rise of Esports, in Las Vegas and elsewhere.