Nevada Esports Alliance Launches, Wants To Make Las Vegas A Global Esports Hub

Written By Joss Wood | Last Updated
[toc]Several top industry figures have launched the Nevada Esports Alliance in response to the developing overlap between video games and gambling. The NVEA is a not-for-profit organization which will try to establish Nevada as a global esports hub. Founding director of the NVEA, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, and Chairman of the Las Vegas Downtown Grand Casino, Seth Schorr said:
“Esports is one of the most important platforms to speak to millennials and create experiences that will drive continued visitation to our state.”
He sees esports as one of the ways in which Nevada resort operators can “remain relevant and speak to the up and coming generation.”

The Downtown Grand Casino has led the brick-and-mortar charge into esports

There’s no surprise at seeing Seth Schorr’s name among the list of founders. The Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel was the first Las Vegas casino to open a dedicated esports venue, and the first to take a legal esports bet last November. Alongside Schorr, the founders include:
  • Chris Grove of Narus Advisors and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming
  • Dr. Brett Abarbanel of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute
  • Jennifer Roberts of UNLV’s International Center for Gaming Regulation
The mix of academic and industry expertise is recognition of the need for a partnership between all stakeholders if the full potential of Nevada’s esports industry is to be realized.

NVEA membership

The first members of the NVEA exemplify a cross section of the organizations with an interest in the future of esports. Abarbanel explained:
“Esports has had significant global impact. We’re aiming to foster Nevada’s role in this domain by bringing together stakeholders from all areas of esports, including industry, regulatory, academic, and more.”

Nevada has a head start in the US

Schorr and William Hill worked closely with the Nevada Gaming Commission. With support from Gov. Brian Sandoval, they produced the first regulated esports bet in the state. The NGC is open to gaming innovation. It is ready and able to work with its licensees to make the regulatory framework flexible enough to adapt. This a great advantage for Nevada in expanding esports betting. Inside the esports world, Nevada has already established itself as a destination for top competitions. It is a great location for esports teams. However, the main competition for being an esports global hub comes not from other US states, as from other countries.

The UK is ahead in regulation and government support

The UK is further on than Nevada in its approach to regulation of esports betting. The government has supported the establishment of the British eSports Association (BEA). The BEA will act as the national governing body for UK esports competitions and report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). A national training center for esports will be built at the BEA HQ in Pinewood Studios. That level of government support will be hard for Nevada to match. There are also other countries — such as Poland and Germany — that also want to play a role in the global esports expansion. If it is to succeed in becoming a global esports hub, Nevada needs the new NVEA to harness all the potential of existing Nevada organizations. It needs to attract the esports industry with a comprehensive infrastructure that makes Nevada the obvious choice as the location for global competition. That’s a tough job, but the NVEA is taking on the task. Above all, it is making the statement that Nevada intends to be a big player in this game.