Downtown Grand Hotel Creates an eSports Lounge Called the Downtown Underground

Downtown Grand Las Vegas Casino eSports

The Downtown Grand was built on the grounds of the old Lady Luck Hotel & Casino by the CIM Group in 2007.

The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino opened an eSports lounge recently called the Downtown Underground. The casino’s management believes the new electronic sports venue is going to be a big hit with the Millennial Generation — those who came of age after the year 2000.

For those not in the younger generation, “eSports” is the term used to describe the playing of online games and video games in professional tournaments with spectators. People play before crowds for real prize money. Yes, audiences pay to watch people compete at Dota, Dota 2, League of Legends, Smite, Heroes of the Storm, Heroes of Newerth, and Vainglory.

eSports Betting Sites

If that is not a wild enough idea, websites exist in which broadcasters provide play-by-play analysis and color commentary, like one would see with a sporting event. Even wilder, other websites exist which allow people to gamble real money on eSports, like one would do on team sports or horse racing.

Sites like EGB, VitalBet, Nitrogen Sports, and Pinnacle dominate the international market. Seattle-based Unikrn has virtual betting on eSports, which allow players to collect merchandise (but not cash).

Changes in Gambling

Seth Schorr, the Downtown Grand’s chairman, said the new gaming lounge should draw in a much different clientele, but one important for the future of casino gambling.

Schorr recently told Gaming Today, “The landscape of gambling is changing. It’s undeniable. The world is changing based on technology. Gambling is no different.”

Schorr added, “As we see the way the younger audience approaches the casino, we realize that we have to keep Nevada relevant and keep gambling relevant by coming up with new ways for people to gamble. Competitive video games is one of the fastest growing technologies and businesses in the world. It’s only going to get bigger.

Reasons to Have an eSports Lounge

Several factors point to an eSports lounge as a potential winner. For one, eSports betting is a growing phenomenon on the international scene. While it is illegal to bet on electronic sports in the United States at present, many gaming experts believe that will not always be the case.

Also, the Nevada state legislature passed a law last year allowing skilled-based slot machines in casinos. Nevada casinos are set to launch skilled-based slots rows in the near future, as soon as the design work on the new games is finished.

Competing on Skill Slots

When skill-game slots make it into the casinos, spectators who come to see (or compete in) the eSports lounge might give a shot to the new skill slots. It might even gain an audience of people who want to see skilled players try to beat the game, much like arcade games would draw a crowd back in the 1980s. Such gaming might create buzz in the casino, and drive revenues.

Seth Schorr has an even more ambitious idea than that, though: gambling on eSports in a poker-style setting. Players would sit around a 10-player video game kiosk, pitting themselves against each other for real money prizes.

How the eSports Pit Would Work

Schorr says, “We have a contest model where people can pay a fixed fee to enter a contest for a fixed prize. What we’d like, maybe sometime next year, is to have people be able to play video games like you would play poker in a poker room. Ten guys down, they’re sitting at what we call an ‘e-pit’.”

“They all put money into a pot, the house takes a rake (commission fee).

There are still a few hurdles for such a concept. Most importantly, A.G. Burnett and the Nevada Gaming Control Board have to be convinced that the integrity of the game can be maintained. In such a setting, it would be easy for players to collude, so GCB needs to know it’s safe.

If that worked, then the Downtown Underground might become a gaming hub, as well as a big success for the Downtown Las Vegas casino.