Atlantic City, N.J. — Video games are massive in popularity, expected to generate $196.8 billion in revenue in 2022 alone .
Though nascent in North America, competitive video games, also known as Esports, is expected to generate $1.38 billion in global revenue in 2022, according to Newzoo, a company that compiles video game and igaming data.
The first Casino Esports Conference (CEC) on the East Coast at Stockton University Atlantic City on Oct. 18 and 19 was created to help bring some of that business to southern New Jersey.
24 experts spoke in the Fannie Lou Hamer Room in the John F. Scarpa Academic Center to that regard.
Chief among them were Anthony Gaud, CEO of the Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group and the chair of the Esports Trade Association, the Regulated Video Game and Esports Committee; and keynote speaker Tim Sullivan, the chief executive officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“I think South Jersey needs esports and esports needs South Jersey,” said Ari Fox, the producer and CEO of the CEC. “It’s an issue of how do you build that infrastructure. You start on the business-to-business side by educating entertainment venues and places where people congregate to enjoy competition.”
The conference featured the ribbon-cutting of the Esports Innovation Center (EIC) at Stockton, located on the Boardwalk as part of the university’s Residential Complex. The center is a nonprofit that was set up in partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Stockton to promote esports in South Jersey and Atlantic City, said the center’s Executive Director Andrew Weilgus.
“We want to help define and craft a casino strategy where they can take advantage of this growing boom of esports, both with events that come into Atlantic City, as well as potential wagering opportunities,” Weilgus said. “Those opportunities could be people betting on professional esports, or on a peer-to-peer model where they can offer an experience-based platform, like playing Madden (the football video game).”
In addition to how the casinos can get involved with the industry, the conference touched on competitive esports at the collegiate and high school level and what future new businesses will evolve from professional-level esports. Panel discussions also included the future of esports in Atlantic City and jobs that are available in esports besides just playing games.
For more information, go to the CEC website.