The first Casino Esports Conference on the East Coast is set to make its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Stockton University, Atlantic City. The conference will also feature the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Esports Innovation Center at Stockton, located on the Boardwalk as part of the university’s Residential Complex. It follows the format of the yearly CEC Las Vegas.
“I think South Jersey needs esports and esports needs South Jersey,” stated 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 comes as esports keeps gaining momentum, set to generate $1 billion+ in global revenue this year. The event will tackle a number of issues related to the segment, from how casinos can get involved with the booming vertical to competitive esports at the collegiate and high school level, and the future of esports in Atlantic City, among other issues.
The new Esports Innovation Center at Stockton, to open within the framework of the conference, is described by center Executive Director Andrew Weilgus as a nonprofit that was set up in partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Stockton to promote esports in South Jersey and Atlantic City. The ribbon-cutting will be held at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“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 (NFL video game) Madden.”
More than 20 experts are scheduled to speak in the Fannie Lou Hamer Room at the John F. Scarpa Academic Center. Among the lineup of experts to participate are Weilgus; Anthony Gaud, of the Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group and the chair of the Esports Trade Association; and keynote speaker Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the NJEDA.
In an interview earlier this year with Yogonet, the Ari and Ben Fox brothers explained the “techtainment” concept they have coined, and the opportunities it represents for the entire casino industry, claiming that “they haven’t even scratched the surface”.
“Maybe those people who go to our classes will say, we have to hire someone. I have to talk to my HR people and we have to hire someone that knows how to develop and build metaverse spaces. And maybe we have to go through and build a techtainment department,” Ari Fox said.
See the event’s lineup of activities below:
Day one (October 18):
Day two (October 19):