An e-Sports venue branded “Macau EStadium” is to open on Tuesday at Cotai casino resort Studio City. The latter is promoted by Asian casino developer Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
The new e-Sports facility – announced via a Melco Resorts’ invitation on behalf of a body called Macau EStadium – is being promoted as “the first of its kind” in Macau.
“The Macau EStadium is a cutting-edge e-Sports multifunctional development,” the invitation stated. It will target “to build a gateway and a strong foundation for the e-sports development in Macau.”
Melco Resorts partnered in April with digital entertainment platform Garena, to host the “2018 League of Legends Master Series (LMS) Spring Final” at Studio City. The e-Sports event had a live audience of 2,000 people, according to a Melco Resorts release issued on April 23.
The April release added that e-Sports could help the firm tap into new market segments. “China accounts for over half of the global e-Sports audience, with the majority being aged 30 or below, an audience group which has generally been less represented in Macau’s tourism demographics,” Melco Resorts stated at the time.
Rival Macau casino operators SJM Holdings Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd have also engaged in hosting or sponsoring e-Sports events in Macau. SJM Holdings chief executive Ambrose So Shu Fai is on record saying e-Sports is “an emerging industry with huge growth potential and global viewership”.
According to some industry commentators, casino operators are keen to attract a new generation of consumers to their premises, and see e-Sports as a possible route. Macau academic and legislator Davis Fong Ka Chio as said e-Sports could be a good addition to the non-gaming offering of Macau’s casino resorts.
The governor of Wakayama – one of the prefectures vying for one of three casino resort licences envisaged in the first phase of casino liberalisation in Japan – has included the hosting of e-Sports events in the city’s six-point plan for a casino resort.
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“All of the [casino] concessionaires in Macau respect the law in China, and we never promote gaming in China”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China