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Anthony Gaud

CEO, G3

Anthony Gaud

As a media executive for the past 25 years, Anthony Gaud has an idea what people want. He won an Emmy for an innovative children’s TV program and now has set his sights on esports. His company, G3, is focused on advancing esports’ connection with gaming and has some unique ideas about how that’s going to happen. While he believes that betting on esports will largely be an online wager, he says esports an still play a role in the land-based casino by potentially working with the casino’s sportsbook. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros via Zoom from his house outside Atlantic City in September. (See video interview below, or listen to podcast above.)

GGB: Various casinos have tried many things to connect with the esports crowd without much success. Is there any real realistic partnership possible between esports and casinos at this point?

Anthony Gaud: Yes, I think actually that’s where it’s going. If we look at what has worked and what hasn’t worked, most people believe the esports business is a $200 billion market. More than 70 percent of the United States population are playing video games on a daily basis, whether it’s mobile games or console games. That’s a much larger market than the iGaming market, when you take into account how many people regularly gamble.

Isn’t there an issue with the young players in a casino?

The average demographics of video gamers is a 35-year-old male and a 45-year-old female. You have to wonder why these gamers aren’t engaging with casino products. And when they are, what kind of casino products are they engaging with? We know that slots take up 70 percent to 80 percent of the casino floor. And that’s exactly the kind of product that doesn’t engage with this demographic. That tells us the infrastructure hasn’t been created yet, and that’s what we’re doing now—not just through my company, but also through the esports trade association, the regulated video game and esports committee, and a whole bunch of other companies. We are working in partnership to create this space.

Let’s talk about how regulators approach this space. They want to know how you can tell when somebody’s cheating. When a little flick of the wrist gets you eaten by a dragon, was that just you throwing the game or a simple mistake?

That’s where I go back to the technology, which actually can be very sophisticated detecting fraud and tampering. So without getting into the weeds too much, a lot of things players will do is quit a match before the match is over and say they lost their internet connection or something. But we look into that ourselves. We know what their internet connection is and whether they lost a connection or not. So using technology, you can start to look into the different ways that players have to cheat and try to game the system.

Are you involved in any regulatory system right now, other than informing the regulators how this is supposed to work?

We are very deeply involved, actually. In New Jersey, we helped the Assembly draft an esports wagering bill and a new amendment to that bill. We have been working with regulators in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. We are working with lobbyists across the country to introduce the concept of video game and esports wagering. And of course we run that esports trade association’s regulation committee. We’ve held roundtables with 32 states and territories—with all the regulators from those states.

You seem to be suggesting that esports is only going to be played on devices because that’s really where they started and remain today. So the exercise of making an esports slot machine is just not going to work because it’s not the natural form? How authentic do you have to be for players to play one of your esports games?

Well, that’s the real trick with this generation, with the millennials and the Gen Z generation. The term that’s used in the esports industry is endemic, meaning that if you aren’t part of this group, they look at you as an outsider. There were companies that tried to create games that sort of looked like video games, but when you play them, it’s not a video game at all, and it’s also not a good gaming experience. It’s the worst of both worlds. So what we intend to do is to take the existing game world, existing games that are well known, and provide ways to make wagers and compete for real money with games that people already know and love. And I think that’s the only way to really do it successfully.

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

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