• Joseph DiDonato

Atlantic City has the Opportunity to be a Leader in Entertainment Again

Skill-based gaming and eSports have gathered an inordinate amount of attention and headlines in recent years. However, New Jersey legislation has stalled and the gaming industry has yet to embrace the concepts and provide marketing to attract the “next generation” of gaming. The technological “link” between millennials, generation x and the latter end of the “baby boomers” is evident in everyday life and could be the “bridge” to the introduction of eSports if allowed to become part of gaming in New Jersey. As Atlantic City casinos try to find ways to attract gamers, the answer may be sitting on the desks of legislators. The introduction of eSports and skilled based “slot machines” could provide the much needed destination attraction the casino need to complement the beach this summer.

Much like the transformation from traditional “squared circle” boxing matches has given way to the “octagon” of mixed martial arts fights, traditional gaming must yield and recognize both eSports and skill based slot machines to lure younger gamers. The audience for the “octagon” matches is the same audience for this “new type” of gaming. Legislators in New Jersey need to take the lead and expedite legalization so that Atlantic City can lead again in the area of entertainment.

Newly appointed Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan recently told an audience at the UNLV Gaming and Hospitality Education Series – 2020 that she was hopeful companies would bring their new ideas for gaming to Nevada. “Skill-based slot machines have not gained significant popularity on the casino floor,” Morgan said. “Similar to skill-based gaming, there seems to be public interest in eSports, but not a significant demand from licensees to offer wagers on eSports events”. Thus, Nevada’s gaming industry has not yet embraced these concepts.

New Jersey therefore has an opportunity to take the lead to introduce these events to the casino floor and become the leader in “new” gaming and to provide the “template” for implementation. Much like traditional boxing was a featured attraction in Atlantic City for many years during the “boom” of casino gaming in the city, these new types of gaming and events could boost the excitement in the city while generating a tremendous additional income based on an infrastructure that already exists.

New Jersey currently is discussing legislation which will bring eSports to Atlantic City casinos in the near future to further support the casino industry and the resurgence of the city. Image by tpsdave2 on Pixabay

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