Esports bookmaker Unikrn sets foot in Las Vegas casinos
The self-proclaimed world leader in esports betting, Unikrn, has acquired LEET, a startup focused on setting up in-house esports tournaments for casinos in Las Vegas. LEET enabled the Downtown Grand to become the first casino in Las Vegas to offer esports.
Both companies are eager to continue working with LEET's established partners while creating new esports experiences for the casino landscape.
“Our company has seen growth throughout 2016 with our casino events business and we’re looking forward to an even better 2017 and beyond with Unikrn”, said Kingsley Edwards, founder and CEO of LEET.
“It’s clear that casinos are in need of a modern strategy to engage young adults," Edwards added. "Unikrn and LEET provide exactly that with our complimentary suite of esports products, community reach, and talented team."
The Las Vegas casino industry saw some movement in terms of esports recently. The Luxor on the Strip is creating an esports venue where its nightclub was located, for example.
“Building a presence in Las Vegas is incredibly important to Unikrn,” said Rahul Sood, Unikrn's CEO and cofounder.
At the Global Gaming Expo 2015, Sood stressed the gambling industry’s need to reach younger demographics and suggested esports as an option. In a 2016 interview with CalvinAyre, Sood said casinos should invest in esports to remain relevant.
In fact, while traditional slot machines still generate the most revenue for casinos, they are not really attractive among the younger generation. Casino veteran John Acres put it this way in an interview with NPR in Dec. 2016:
“They come to go to clubs. They come to go shopping. They come to go to the pools. They don't come to gamble.”
Esports-only bookmaker Unikrn is willing to change that. With the acquisition of LEET, it's positioning itself at the forefront of the growing esports casino business. Specifics about the deal, including its valuation, remain scarce, however, as it has not been fully closed.