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Vegas Strip getting esports arena with nightclub overhaul

File - In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, teams compete against each other during the Dreamhack Masters e-sports tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip is getting its first space dedicated for competitive gaming when the Luxor hotel-casino transforms its nightclub into a multi-level e-sports arena. MGM Resorts International on Tuesday said the venue is expected to open in early 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Strip is getting its first space dedicated to competitive gaming when the Luxor hotel-casino transforms its nightclub into a multi-level esports arena.

MGM Resorts International on Tuesday announced plans for the arena that will feature a competition stage, LED video wall, daily gaming stations, food and drink and a streaming and television-quality production studio. Work on the venue will begin in early June with the goal of opening in early 2018.

“We’ve closely watched the growth and excitement around esports, and we are always looking for new amenities for our Vegas customers,” Niklas Rytterstrom, general manager of Luxor, said. He told The Associated Press that the decision to nix the LAX nightclub was not because of its performance, but instead, it was motivated by the desire to offer customers “something really different.”

This will be the second esports arena in Sin City. The first one began hosting gamers in March in downtown Las Vegas. The arenas are part of a trend that the casino industry hopes will attract the millennial crowd.

The announcement from MGM comes on the heels of a report showing that a third of Las Vegas’ nearly 43 million tourists last year were millennials — those between 18 to 35 — up from less than a quarter in 2015.

Competitive gaming now draws tens of millions of spectators to online platforms and real-world venues, including New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Los Angeles’ Staples Center and Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. Permanent esports venues are prevalent in Asia, but few public facilities are dedicated to competitive gaming in North America.

The arena at Luxor will have the capacity to host 1,000 people at a time. It will have areas for people 21 and older, and others open for a crowd 16 and up.

MGM has partnered with Allied Esports to develop the facility. The company’s network of esports venues includes facilities in China, Europe and North America.

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO / More of her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/ReginaGarciaCano .

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