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ESports In Las Vegas


Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images

The studio audience watches a match between professional teams Dignitas (left) and Evil Geniuses (right) during the League of Legends North American Championship Series on Feb. 22.

With the Luxor hotel-casino on track to open a dedicated eSports arena on the Las Vegas Strip next year, competitive video gaming is picking up speed in a town known for gambling.

Part of this growth can be attributed to the Evolution Championship Series -- or EVO for short.  EVO is the world’s largest event for fighting video games.  It originated in Las Vegas more than a decade ago. 

Contestants travel to Las Vegas from all over the world and go head-to-head in games like Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers, and Marvel vs. Capcom.

One of those gamers is Las Vegan Cole Diamond. Diamond plays Marvel vs. Capcom and has for the past four years.

“When I found this outlet I wanted to be in it all the time,” he said.

He said it is surprising that more people in Las Vegas don't know about EVO or how big it is. He said he talks to people all the time that don't realize the crowd the event brings in and how many people watch it. 

“The event is the big event,” he said.

Diamond is preparing for the tournament the same way he does all other events. He plays video games all night with his friends.

Michael Duong, a writer for, said playing video games and watching other people play video games is a social event. Duong said EVO is like the Super Bowl. Even if you don't follow football, people still watch the Super Bowl. 

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“I think video games can be a very similar thing even if you don’t play very much or at all really, you can still appreciate the things that are happening,” he said,

Duong recently moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles because of the growing esports scene. He said both the casinos and the state government are interested in seeing the field grow. Casinos are embracing esports as a way to bring in a younger demographic.

“They’re hoping esports will be the link that gets them over here,” Duong said. 




Cole Diamond (a.k.a. YLT Cole), EVO 2017 contestant; Michael Duong, writer for

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