Gambling/eSports Conundrum The Subject Of Atlantic City Panel

No multi-day gaming conference in the U.S. in the last several years has been complete without a panel on the future of gambling on eSports — and how industry pioneers can strike it rich. Yet in spite of literally billions of people on Earth having played video games at least occasionally, often with a competitive element that seems to lend itself to legal wagering, the gold rush has yet to come.

The panel at the East Coast Gaming Congress at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City on Monday didn’t have the magic answers, but at least it offered some tips for casino operators on how to address the concept effectively. Ari Fox, the co-founder of the Gameacon video gaming and eSports conference that is a parallel for the better-known Comicon events, has been analyzing the potential convergence of casinos and eSports for the past decade.

“There is such an amount of effort that goes into research, with all the numbers being tracked, to trying to understand millennials and Gen-Z,” Fox said. “From what I can see, the casino industry knows them well.”

But not well enough, Fox suggested.

“The key to earning them as customers is to gain their trust, to be able to show them, ‘This space is for you, not for your parents or your grandparents,’” he said. “We started Gameacon in 2015 as a grassroots event. That’s where you earn that trust. This [potential] customer likes philanthropic industries, to feel that you are part of their world. If you can, connect with them in a way that they are happy about.”

If you build it, build it right

Major video game events can sell out arenas of 15,000 to 20,000 fans, a phenomenon that is unfathomable to many over age 50.

But Grant Johnson, CEO of ESports Entertainment Group, said, “Don’t just build arenas; build something that is interactive. Right now, 60% to 70% of a casino floor is dedicated to slot machines. You have to give [younger consumers] a product they want to play on.”

Author: Wanda Peters