Beijing-based Ourgame International Holdings Ltd, the owner of the World Poker Tour (WPT), is eyeing Las Vegas as a prime location to build an arena for competitive video games, also known as e-sports, reports the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.
Ourgame already runs such an arena in Beijing. Officials from the firm said this week that the company was linking with several other Chinese businesses in order to expand the e-sports arena concept to other countries. Ourgame’s e-sports arena in Beijing is a 14,000-square-foot (1,301-sq-metre) complex featuring hundreds of gaming stations, a 200-seat arena, and a broadcast studio.
Frank Ng, Ourgame’s co-chief executive, was quoted saying that he would like to see at least a dozen e-sports arenas worldwide within the next three to five years. Mr Ng said he would like to see an arena completed in Las Vegas next year.
If the plan moves forward, Mr Ng said it would require a local partnership, possibly with a television network, reported the Las Vegas Sun.
Ourgame is a Hong Kong-listed company specialising in social gaming. It has interests across Asia and a market capitalisation of approximately HKD3.4 billion (US$436.5 million), according to Bloomberg data accessed on Wednesday. In June last year, Ourgame paid US$35 million to buy WPT from Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc.
Adam Pliska, WPT’s president, told the Las Vegas Sun that Ourgame had only had “very preliminary talks” but noted that a few casino operators had already expressed interest in e-sports. Ideally, the venue will be located at a casino resort, Mr Ng told the newspaper.
According to a report last year co-written by Chris Grove, an online gambling expert, e-sports was forecast to be a US$523-million industry for 2015, excluding revenue from game sales, said the Las Vegas Sun.
Commenting on Ourgame’s plan in a post on website legalsportsreport.com, Mr Grove said: “That sort of permanent presence would go a long way toward increasing engagement and broadening the range of possible events that could be hosted by a casino.”
Proving demand for such an arena might be simpler than it sounds, Mr Grove said.
“The typical demographic of an e-sports fan – a millennial with greater-than-average disposable income – will also no doubt prove attractive to Vegas casino operators, who have expressed deep concerns regarding the ability of Las Vegas to engage the next generation of customers,” he wrote.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China