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New alliance aims to make Nevada esports hub

A group of businesses, advocates and academics have formed an association focused on advancing the development of Nevada as a global hub for esports.

The Nevada Esports Alliance is a new non-profit organization that plans to boost the state as the center of the convergence of video gaming and the casino industry.

Nevada regulators approved rules for skill-based gaming last year and that has led to growth in esports competitions and wagering on game outcomes. In addition, the first esports lab opened last year at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.

William Hill US took the first legal wager on an esports match in November at the Downtown Grand. Esports are projected to draw 100,000 people to Las Vegas in 2017.

The alliance’s founding directors include Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and chairman of the Downtown Grand; Brett Abarbanel of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute; Chris Grove of Narus Advisors and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming; and Jennifer Roberts of UNLV’s International Center for Gaming Regulation.

“As Nevada continues to reinvent itself to maintain its position as the entertainment capital of the world, resort operators are looking for ways to remain relevant and speak to the up-and-coming generation,” said Schorr, whose downtown property hosts weekend esports events.

“Esports is one of the most important platforms to speak to millennials and create experiences that will drive continued visitation to our state,” Schorr said.

Initial members of the NVEA, officially formed Thursday, include the Esports Integrity Coalition, GameCo, Leet, Millennial Esports, Narus Advisors, Unikrn, the UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation, the UNLV International Gaming Institute and William Hill US.

Membership is open to persons interested in supporting Nevada’s emergence as an esports destination and a center for commercial, regulatory and legal best practices in video games and gambling.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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