The First Pro Gamer Says eSports Is A “Hustle In So Many Ways”

We already know that Crown Casino is trying to gain a slice of the pie locally with their efforts in the local scene and the expansion of Crownbet. But in the United States, one of the oldest — if not the oldest — professional gamers has revealed that casinos in Vegas are trying to get in on the act as well.

The small revelation, which isn’t all that surprising in the wider scheme of things, came courtesy of Jonathan Wendel. If his name isn’t familiar, then that’s because you might better recognise him by his online nickname: Fatal1ty.

Wendel was the first professional gamer back in 1999 when Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 were the biggest games in town. (Although if we’re talking strictly Australia, then it’d be remiss not to mention the success of games like Baldur’s Gate either, but let’s not get caught up in that now.) The former Quake star’s moniker now appears on a range of hardware and peripherals, including headphones, motherboards, sound cards, mouse pads, power supplies and more.

In any case, Wendel recently finished an AmA on Reddit. He’s offered up plenty of quotes on a range of topics, but the best quote by far is him describing eSports as “a hustle in so many ways”.

He was asked about the tournaments and independent sponsorship framework that many players, teams and organisations are currently built around, and Wendel’s preference was for a guaranteed format — perhaps something like the Championship Gaming Series, where teams are given a base salary and then prizes on top.

“I prefer the guaranteed model more than the hustle and bustle. The teams themselves have to do their recruiting the best as possible, just like you see in traditional sports,” Wendel replied. “eSports is a hustle in so many ways, it would be great to see it more legitimate like Soccer, Football, Baseball, Basketball,” he added.

It wasn’t the only nugget in the AmA. Wendel, who lives in Las Vegas, revealed that he personally knew of some casinos that were trying to find a way to get into eSports themselves. Given that the state of Nevada recently forced fantasy betting sites and their staff to acquire gambling licenses — and plenty of fantasy betting sites have some affiliation with eSports, or are trying to — it’s understandable that the casinos would want to capitalise somehow.

Wendel also said he was looking forward to Gearbox’s Battleborn and Overwatch, the latter of which he said he could “definitely see it being played as an eSports game, especially with Blizzard backing it”. His opinion on Reflex, however, was far less optimistic, with the former Quake professional saying he “tried it” but “didn’t fall in love” with the Australian arena shooter.