Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Casinos Attempt to Woo eSports Gamers

As with anything in life, if something is big enough, casino's will find a way to incorporate it into their field to turn a profit. There are themed slot machines (Dolly Parton has her own series of slot machines), miniature Nascar and horse racing tables, eBay chance games: you name it. So it shouldn't be a shock to anyone that casino's want to capture some of the hype behind eSports. But unlike traditional gambling, where hotels will comp rooms, food, and drinks to keep people sitting at a table, eSports gamers are willing to pay for those amenities to get the best seats at a tournament.

Gamers are a difficult market to capture. We see through the bunk of casinos, so we're less likely to pony up money to spend it at a poker table. But it won't stop them from trying! Some venues, such as Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City, hosted a small tournament in March that drew 900 people. The results were instantaneous. While the gambling side didn't see a bump, the growth in room reservations and the sale of food and drink were worth the investment. And if attending a casino to go to a video game tournament turns them into gamblers, then that's a plus for the hotel.

eSports is a growing industry, expected to hit $1 billion by 2019. Casino's know that their target audience of 20-30 year olds are not their traditional customer. They don't have the disposable income to gamble. But they are willing to travel for tournaments - which means they need lodging and food. It's a fairly straight-forward concept that more casinos could try to embrace. Does it mean changing their marketing tactics to woo these customers? Absolutely. But that's the case with every demographic. What gets a 30-40 year old into a retail location requires a different approach then a 50-60 year old.

Is it underhanded? Yeah. I'm not going to sugar-coat it and say that the casino's alternate motive isn't the best. Getting younger people in to try and start gambling. But it is their business model and that's what they do. As long as addiction doesn't grow from it, and one is responsible with their finances, gambling is fine in small quantities. We'll just leave it at that.

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