New Jersey Summit To Explore Connection Between eSports And Casino Industry

Written By Darren Cooper on July 12, 2022 - Last Updated on July 15, 2022
New Jersey Conference Focuses On Meshing Casino And Esports Industry

Bridging the gap between the eSports player and the traditional casino industry will be the focus of the CEC/EIC Northeast Summit in Atlantic City on October 18-19.

Drawing the next generation of players is always a key focus of the US casino industry, especially in the large hub of the NJ online casino market.

To the layman, it seems like a natural fit. Young people are now accustomed to playing games online, linking up with fellow players around the world in games such as Fortnite or League of Legends at any time.

The casino industry works in a similar dimension. Brick and mortar casinos are open 24-7, but it’s usually man/woman vs. machine either in a slot machine or video poker or man vs. man in a table game. Those games differ from the eSports model because they all come with money at stake, and, no matter what, the casino gets a piece.

Drawing in the eSports crowd for New Jersey

Andrew Weilgus is the executive director of the Esports Innovation Center at Stockton University. He sees a new era where players show up at a casino and can quickly go head-to-head in MarioKart against another player (don’t throw that mushroom at me!), place a small bet, winner takes almost all.

“That’s a time-tested model,” Weilgus said in an interview on Yogonet discussing the conference.

“Being able to regulate and introduce those types of technologies into a casino environment is something we’re hoping to facilitate.”

Weilgus looks at the current casino infrastructure in Atlantic City and sees an area teeming with eSports opportunities. But there are concerns. One is what casino is going to pull out money-making tables and machines to make room for an eSports tournament lab?

But the way to do that is by making the location more attractive than the stereotypical computer basement set-up. If you build it, they will come and play.

“There is no infrastructure in place in the casino market right now to facilitate what we are discussing,” Weilgus said.

“We’re trying to create technologies and work with the regulators that are involved to put eSports in a casino environment and give users a chance to compete in a way that would never be accessible in their home environment.”

That means better equipment on hand, better sound, bigger screens, plush chairs, and a tournament with clearly defined rules and prizes.

The conference agenda for New Jersey eSports

The EIC and the Casino Esport Conference will host the two-day Northeast summit seminar jointly with discussions on the current state of eSports, wagering, eSports in the Northeast, and what the casino industry is looking for when it comes to investing in platforms.

“The casino eSports conference is something that brings in a business-to-business focus on how the casino industry can take advantage of this new and growing experience which appeals to younger gamers,” Weilgus said.

“Young gamers are a huge demographic shift from who is in the casino.”

Connecting the next generation and beyond with the help of eSports

Monday, the Atlantic Cape Community College in South Jersey announced it was adding an eSports program that will be part of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association). The school would compete against more than 80 community colleges from around the country.

The school will retain its volleyball and soccer programs for traditional athletes.

“Adding new opportunities at Atlantic Cape will help us attract student-athletes locally and from around the country,” said Atlantic Cape Athletic Director Jamal Edwards in a release.

“Our vision is to not only be competitive in these sports but to create a culture where student-athletes graduate and receive Division I and Division II scholarships.”

Weilgus believes the EIC has the potential to not just provide a playground for competitive eSports players but train the next generation of game builders.

“We’re interested in training the next generation of coders, modders, marketing executives, all the different people that are associated with those eSports, because that is a very, very large market and ecosystem compared to the very slim market of professional gaming,” said Weilgus.

“People in the eSports industry have to understand the casino industry, and people in the casino industry have to understand who the eSports target market is. And right now, they just don’t.”

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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper is a staff writer for PlayUSA. He’s been a sports writer in the Northeast since 1998 and developed a keen interest in covering the gaming, casino and sports betting industry and has written for multiple additional Play state sites. He always bets responsibly although his grandfather did have a secret system for betting on the ponies at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

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