GamerSaloon is a platform that allows video game enthusiasts to compete online against other in their favorite video games to win cash and other prizes.

Gabe Rubin, founder and CEO of GamerSaloon, joined [a]listdaily to discuss their how they’ve paid out $35 million in prizes over the last 10 years, their new “Madden Pro League,” and the necessary steps they’re taking to work with game titles like FIFA and NBA 2K as official partners.


GamerSaloon facilitates video game tournaments for cash prizes. Can you explain how this process works for those that are unaware of your platform?

A user signs up for free, creates a profile, and funds their account. They then find an upcoming tournament to join or create an on-demand tournament and invite challengers to participate. All entry fees are collected securely by GamerSaloon and held in escrow until the outcome of the tournament is verified. Matches are played on the user’s console, PC or mobile device. Typically, the winner of each match will report the results of the match to the site. The loser then has a time window to verify or dispute the reported result. If the loser doesn’t respond the reported results are verified by default. Once the results are a verified, applicable prizes are awarded.

You’ve dished out over $35 million in prizes since operating in 2006. What are the most popular titles gamers play through your platform?

The most popular game titles are Madden, NBA 2K, FIFA, MLB: The Show, and NHL.

How is the business model for GamerSaloon structured? Who gets paid what? takes a service fee on every tournament entry. The service fee can vary but the average service fee is 14 percent.


How are you generating serious interest for the “Madden Pro League?” What were your key takeaways from your $15,000 live tournament in Las Vegas earlier this year?

The GamerSaloon $15,000 Madden Community Championship in Las Vegas reinforced the demand for Madden as a competitive eSport and solidified GamerSaloon as reputable tournament organizer. Top players from the community attended the event and provided valuable insight for future live events and online action. In fact, it was through our open dialogue with players that we decided to launch Season 1 of the GamerSaloon ‘Crew-v-Crew Madden Pro League.’ Teams of three players competed individually each week to earn wins for their team and the chance to play in the finals for $1,500. The first season was such a success that we recently launched the second and have brought two sponsors on board, including Title Sponsor, StockX, and JerkyXP. The action is streamed every Wednesday night on the GamerSaloon Twitch channel with play-by-play coverage, similar to the RedZone channel. We’ve created a full Crew-v-Crew portal that includes real-time standings, player profile cards, past videos, and upcoming matches. Team and player rivalries are already running deep and drawing interest from all sides. As an official Twitch Partner, GamerSaloon is working with Twitch to feature the final stream for the officially named ‘StockX Madden Crew-v-Crew Pro League.’ We’re actively looking for strategic partners and sponsors to help grow the Madden community.

What steps are you trying to take to work with Madden, and others titles like FIFA and NBA 2K, as official partners? What needs to happen for this to become a reality?

We have had previous talks with TakeTwo Interactive, the developer of NBA2K, as well EA. Both are actively pursuing eSports as a means to increase gameplay of their respective games. We’re currently focusing on running high-quality live events, facilitating consistent online gameplay, and creating a deeper layer of content around the competitive scene. Our main goal is to continue to grow the sport eSports titles and extend gameplay throughout the year. We’re very open to working with game developers to do so.

The proliferation of daily fantasy sports has made some serious headlines over the last year. How are you regulating gambling?

What we offer is not considered gambling in most jurisdictions. We offer skill-based contests, similar to a golf, fishing, bowling, or billiards tournament in the physical world. If a video game relies predominantly on elements of chance to determine the outcome such as card games or dice rolls, we don’t offer contests in those games.

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You have over 1,000,000 registered members. How are you engaging and interacting with your community?

We have a very strong community. We’re actively engaged with our members through social media, email and internal site messaging. Our community relationship department has an excellent relationship with the Madden, NBA and FIFA communities. Our team is constantly listening to our community to ensure that we provide our members with an amazing experience.

What’s the No. 1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business?

The No. 1 lesson that I’ve learned since being in business is that execution and focus are crucial in creating a successful company.

How do you envision this space progressing in the future?

Over the past 10 years, I’ve witnessed the eSports space evolve from something that was considered to be underground to mainstream. Everyone is talking about eSports and trying to figure out where this space is going. I think that over the next three-to-five years, there’ll be even more growth within the industry. Live events, streaming and corporate sponsorships are all areas that I see gaining tremendous growth.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan