This Will (Probably) Be The First Esports Bet Taken In A Las Vegas Casino

Written By Joss Wood on June 1, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]This year’s EVO 2016 tournament is set to be the biggest in the event’s history.

Entries for the Street Fighter V tournament had exceeded 4,000 by early April, which is one reason why the Downtown Grand Casino (DTG) wants EVO 2016 to be the first esports event on which players can legally wager on the outcome in a Las Vegas casino.

EVO 2016 is scheduled from July 15 to July 17, with the early rounds taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sunday finals booked for the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

All the tournaments on the schedule are fighting games. The full list of games is out, but the schedule and times for the tournaments have not yet been released.

Full list of games at the event

  • Street Fighter V
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Melee
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • Guilty Gear Xrd:REVELATOR
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Pokkén Tournament
  • Killer Instinct
  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
  • Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

Size and data history give the DTG confidence it can make a book

The first EVO was held in 2002, and since 2005, the event has been held at various locations in Nevada. In 2009, it passed the benchmark of 1,000 entrants for the first time, and has been growing rapidly since.

The event’s relative longevity and the size of the fan base it attracts make it an attractive proposition for being the first esports event on which a Las Vegas casino wants to take bets.

ESBR interviewed DTG’s CEO Seth Schorr to get his take on both the process of applying for a license to take esports bets, and his plans to develop esports betting further.

DTG and EVO could offer the first legal esports bets in the U.S.

The DTG is the first casino in Las Vegas to create a dedicated esports lounge, and every weekend it holds esports tournaments with real money prizes. DTG began its journey into esports by sponsoring the Renegades team to live and train at the hotel.

The DTG’s bookmakers, William Hill, have submitted an application to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to take wagers on this summer’s EVO competition.

Schorr explained to ESBR that he and his team are working closely with the NGCB to help process the application which is the first of its type in Nevada.

“We’re taking a very proactive and personal role working with the NGCB getting them comfortable with the nuance of the culture and understanding how this is being facilitated in regulated markets today.”

At the last Nevada Gaming Policy Committee meeting, the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, took the chair and led the members in presenting a very positive approach to the possibility of permitting esports betting.

Schorr gave evidence at that meeting, and was left with the impression that the NGCB would approve the license application if the DTG could clearly show that it could manage the wagering at the high standard of consumer protection required by the NGCB.

If all goes well, EVO could make history as the first esports event on which fans in Las Vegas can legally place bets. If so, the credit will go to both Seth Schorr and the NGCB for their bold innovation.

Image credit: Kobby Dagan /

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

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