Playing video games for money rises in popularity amid coronavirus lockdowns

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The coronavirus shutdown is hurting most parts of the nation’s economy, but some industries are thriving as a result of people staying home. Playing video games for money has been around for almost two decades but is currently seeing a spike in users as a result of stay-at-home orders and millions having recently lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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GamerSaloon allows online videogame players to compete for cash prizes through either head-to-head or multiplayer tournaments. It has been a pioneer in the esporting industry since it was founded in 2006. While there are several other large esports platforms that make up the almost-billion-dollar industry, GamerSaloon alone has awarded $67 million dollars in prizes and has over 1.3 million registered users. Those numbers, however, have continued to rise as people remain in their homes due to state-mandated stay-at-home orders.

“We have seen a tremendous surge in activity across all metrics. Pretty much all metrics are up over 100 percent since most of the states have enacted stay-at-home orders,” Gabe Rubin, the CEO of GamerSaloon told Fox News.

With many forms of entertainment still closed due to coronavirus shutdowns, people are looking for new activities to fill their time. For those who like to gamble but have no sports to bet on or casinos open to go to, gaming for money may be a fitting substitute.

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“We've always seen a direct correlation between our specific user and their interests, and have always correlated it to a user of a casino or a sports betting operation. We think that GamerSaloon offers those types of users the kind of entertainment that they're seeking but can't do at this time,” Rubin said.

Playing competitive video games is not just a pastime or a way to get your gambling fix, it can also be someone’s main source of income, said Rubin, if they have the skills.

“Given the current situation with COVID and people getting laid off, we will definitely anticipate more people using GamerSaloon and other websites and tournaments and other EA Sports-related activities as their primary source of income,” said Rubin.