The popularity of esports has made its way to Las Vegas, where one casino will be leading the way taking bets on an esports competition, the League of Legends Championship on Nov. 4. The Downtown Grand will be offering a betting line on the championship match that will be held in Beijing, China.
The Downtown Grand was the first US casino to take a bet on esports in 2016, when it booked wagers on an LOL event in Oakland, California.
The downtown hotel and casino will offer a viewing party for the League of Legends World Championships Final Match at 4 pm in “the Commissary,” a dedicated esports arcade and lounge. Fans will be able to wager on the best-of-five series until midnight Nov. 3. Once the finals begin guests will be able to watch the competition and also play League of Legends.
The Commissary at Downtown Grand has operated nearly 200 esports tournaments with more than $200,000 in cash and prizes being won by competitive gamers. They have become one of the most popular spots in the country for the activity.
Catering to Esports Crowds
In addition to the Commissary at the Downtown Grand, the Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip also has a plan to attract people interested in esports. The resort announced in April they were would be building an esports arena in the casino that is expected to open next year.
When the League of Legends Championship was held last year at Staples Center in Los Angeles, nearly 20,000 people attended to watch SK Telecom T1 win its third title, defeating fellow Korean team Samsung Galaxy in a competition for $6.7 million.
Online viewership numbers were impressive, with more than 43 million uniques tuning in, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14.7 million. That prompted those in charge of the LA bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics to look into including esports presentation technologies used for LOL competitions. (LA was awarded the 2028 Summer Olympics, with Paris getting the Games in 2024, also acknowledging a need to consider esports inclusion.)
The 2017 League of Legends Championship will be the seventh year of the interactive video game competition that attracts teams from across the world. Qualifying events were held at four locations in China and now have been whittled down to the top four teams. Two teams from South Korea and two from China will compete for first place.
Beijing will have the LOL Finals at the National Stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, the venue can accommodate a crowd of more than 80,000.
Such large numbers are becoming less and less of a rarity for esports competitions. At this year’s Intel Extreme Masters, a marquee eSports tournament, 173,000 people attended a two-day stadium event in Katowice, Poland. At the League of Legends 2014 World Finals, more than 45,000 fans attended.