"It's going to keep Las Vegas relevant."
- Seth Schorr, chairman of the Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, on eSports
Playing (or watching others play) video games competitively is becoming big business, and at least one Las Vegas exec is hoping to get a taste of that business by revamping his hotel and casino to cater to eSports enthusiasts.
As part of a new Polygon feature that takes a look at what the rising tide of eSports hype means for Las Vegas, Downtown Hotel and Casino chairman Seth Schorr speaks to why he's spent more than a year studying the eSports community in an effort to entice them to staying at his hotel.
"We wanted to create an environment that caters to the eSports audience 24/7," he told Polygon, noting that the Downtown has removed a number of slot machines and blackjack tables to create a "Downtown Underground" eSports lounge that hosts regular events "We wanted to activate our property so that the eSports enthusiasts always want to come visit the property and there's always something going on."
Schorr claims the events are relatively small right now, but notes he'd like to see them grow and intends to work with state gambling regulators to allow for future video game competitions where players can wager money into a communal pot and compete for it. The house, of course, will also get a cut of the proceeds.
"They're not quite there yet," Schorr said. ""There's a lot of regulatory process to get that regulated and legalized, but we think that's the direction, at least partially, that gambling will be going."
The full feature, which includes more comments from Schorr as well as GameCo cofounder Blaine Graboyes (who hopes to put skill-based video game gambling machines in Las Vegas by 2017), is worth reading over on Polygon.