Can Las Vegas Become The Esports Capital Of The World? Nevada Gaming Committee Eyes Future

Written By Dustin Gouker on November 10, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee will meet next week to discuss the future of esports in the state, among other topics.

The committee, led by Gov. Brian Sandoval, includes gaming regulators, lawmakers and executives from gaming companies in the state. It has no formal power in Nevada, but its discussions on policy help frame how the state government moves forward on gaming issues.

Esports on the agenda

The agenda item for the meeting on Nov. 16 at 9:30 a.m. is fairly simple, and reveals Nevada’s ambitions quite clearly: “How Nevada can become the esports capitol of the world.”

Here is a look at who will be speaking at the meeting:

  • Seth Schorr, CEO, Fifth Street Gaming. Overview of e-sports events in Las Vegas and the future of the industry in Nevada.
  • Sam McMullen Jr., CEO and founding partner of FiveGen, LLC. Presentation on e-sports in Nevada.
  • Ian Smith, Integrity Commissioner UK/EU eSports Ethics Commission ESI. Presentation on maintaining integrity in e-sports contests.
  • Rahul Sood, CEO and cofounder of Unikrn. Presentation on the future of e-sports.

The committee is also going to talk about daily fantasy sports, a topic it discussed at length in the spring.

Certainly not Nevada’s first look at esports

The state has been eyeing the future of the rapidly growing esports market for some time now.

The NGPC discussed esports in an introductory fashion this spring, mostly in the context of how and whether to allow esports betting.

But Nevada’s designs on esports go far beyond that; any significant handle in the state on esports matches and tournaments is likely a ways off. Schorr’s Downtown Grand is already home to a specialty esports venue; Las Vegas would like to become a hub for live esports events, which can attract tens of thousands of fans in person and far more eyeballs via streamed or televised events.

Catering to esports in many ways meshes nicely with Vegas’ transition to a city more concerned with entertainment options than gambling.

The state is also looking to roll out its first “skill-based” games on the casino floor in the coming months, that will seek to target a demographic (millenials) that overlaps with esports.

What will come out of the meeting?

It seems unlikely that any formal recommendations will come out of next week’s meeting, as the committee is still trying to wrap its collective mind around the esports industry.

But it’s the next step for Las Vegas in its attempt to become a meaningful hub for the esports industry moving forward.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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