Firm aims to tap eSports from Antigua

Gambling CEO Grant Johnson says the Grand Princess Casino in Antigua can be transformed into the ideal venue for eSports tournaments.

The Canadian Internet gambling firm VGambling Incorporated is aiming to buy the Grand Princess Casino, located in Jolly Harbour, and set up a base in Antigua to tap into the global eSports industry.

CEO Grant Johnson told OBSERVER media that the firm put in a bid for the property, which is jointly held by the Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB) and Antigua & Barbuda Investment (ABI) Bank.

eSports, also known as electronic sports or professional video gaming, typically involves organised multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. Deloitte Global predicts that eSports will generate global revenues of US $500 million in 2016, up 25 per cent from about $400 million in 2015, and will likely have an audience of close to 150 million people.

Johnson said he has already met with Prime Minister Gaston Browne and toured the three-storey, 62,000-square foot casino, with former owner Tony Velarde. He also noted he has made an application for approval under the business investment option of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).

VGambling is the only firm to have submitted a written bid for the foreclosed property and Johnson said he expects to have the transaction finalised, one way or the other, before the end of the year. The Grand Princess Casino was opened in 2004 but by 2008, Velarde was already running into trouble running it.

The Grand Bay Casino at Dickenson Bay, also owned by Velarde, is also under foreclosure.

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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