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Skill-based game manufacturer GameCo gets licensed in Nevada

Updated March 1, 2019 - 4:50 pm

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo thinks he might be the oldest guy co-oping from an Xbox at 1 in the morning.

He told fellow commissioners that he believes in the prospect of turning skill-based video games into casino floor revenue generators.

“I’m probably at the tail end of the bell curve,” he said at Thursday’s commission meeting. “I’m kind of old.”

Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the Gaming Control Board recommendation of approval for GameCo and its executives.

GameCo, previously licensed in New Jersey, plans to bring skill-based games to market for play on casino floors in Nevada.

A fan of the idea of transforming video-game players into casino gamblers, Alamo said he was enthusiastic in his support of licensing Las Vegas-based GameCo, the newest company trying to bridge video gameplay to casino floors.

“I’m very excited about this that eventually, hopefully when I’m long done with this commission, I’ll be able to walk into a hotel-casino and see an entire area where I’m going to recognize some of these games and play them and gamble at the same time,” Alamo said during the vetting of GameCo and its CEO, Blaine Graboyes. Graboyes’ legal last name on the state application is Goldman.

“I always thought this was going to blow up, but I’m a little disappointed that it’s not blowing up, not just with you but with your competitors,” Alamo said. “I’m just not seeing the products coming.”

Call of Duty

Graboyes told commissioners his company is developing video game titles that will encourage young players to move to casino versions of the same game. Among the company’s titles are “Call of Duty,” “Nothin’ But Net,” “Steve Aoki’s Neon Dream” and “Terminator 2.”

Alamo, whose favorites are tactical warfare operations games, tried to pinpoint why the market hasn’t heated up.

“I blame a little bit on the manufacturers and the big mergers that have occurred, and I thought maybe that stopped some of the innovation,” he said. “I thought when that clears up, we’d see more. But I don’t know. I don’t want to be pessimistic with what you’re doing because I still believe in it. I’m just a little nervous that the traction hasn’t happened year over year.”

Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, operator of Downtown Grand Las Vegas, who was called before commissioners for licensing as a member of the board of directors, said he expects GameCo will move the industry ahead.

Knew of the risks

“When I had the opportunity to join the board of GameCo, I knew that it would be a really unique and exciting opportunity to get a front-row seat watching a man like Blaine create something new,” Schorr said. “I knew there would be great risks as an investor and board member. But I felt then and I feel strongly today that the greater risk for Nevada is not trying at all. I believe that great innovation will not come from the established companies in this industries, but will come from outside from a company like GameCo.”

Alamo said he got an indication of the potential of the esports when he attended a tournament competition and saw competitors introduced.

“It was like waiting for (champion boxer Oscar) de la Hoya to walk in,” he said.

Some analysts have said the worldwide following of esports and video game competitions could have viewership greater than any other sport except the National Football League by 2021.

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

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