As more U.S. states offer up regulated gambling options, competition is getting fierce, and operators are looking for any advantage they can get to increase profits. In Atlantic City, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) sees eSports as a new opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.
On December 18, the board voted to put $700,000 into eSports events over the next year and a half. The competitions will be held at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center.
Frank Gilliam, Mayor of Atlantic City, was quoted as saying, “It’s something in my opinion that puts Atlantic City on the edge of something different and new.”
If no one else was willing to come right out and say it, a representative of the Attorney General’s office was happy to cut to the chase, specifically encouraging eSports companies to look into opportunities to make it a gambling event.
Inviting eSports competitions to Atlantic City, and as a result, it’s millions of young fans, gives Atlantic City casinos a big new potential clientele to bet on the games, and also frequent their table games and slots. Atlantic City casinos will want to capitalize on this opportunity, as profits have not been steady this year, and more competition is just on the horizon.
Commenting on the popularity of eSports, CRDA Executive Director Matthew Doherty seems to be grappling with what’s hip with the youth today. “It may sound odd to many of us, but thousands of people sit around and watch people play video games,” said Doherty.
As the popularity of eSports grows, Atlantic City might be coming in at just the right time to profit from the windfall. They aren’t the first in the game however, as one of the bigger eSports events of the year, Evolution Championship Series (EVO), is already planning for its 20th year in Las Vegas, this time at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The CRDA expects to review an application for an April or May fighting game event as soon as January.