The fantasy gaming industry continues to innovate, bringing with it fresh ideas that provide more types of games in a variety of contexts.  That is certainly the case with the announcement of Latitude 360‘s foray into the space, promising to roll out the first chain of live in-venue “fantasy sports books.”  Its dining and entertainment venues are currently located in Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, with plans to open another location in Albany, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and a 100,000 square-foot location in the heart of Wall Street.

Latitude 360 will not venture into the competitive fantasy sports space alone.  It has also revealed an acquisition of Major League Fantasy (MLF), a growing destination for online daily fantasy sports that is partnered with the Golden State Warriors.  According to MLF CEO Jesse Merl, MLF has seen its user base triple over the past 2 months.

“We’re thrilled to become a part of the Latitude 360 family,” added Merl.  ”We can’t imagine a better way to grow our audience than to make it accessible through the most exciting entertainment destination to come along in a very, very long time.  The Latitude 360 venues ensure that after proper game implementation, our competitors will be fighting for second place in the live real-money fantasy vertical we are creating.”

The plan starts with including iPads in Latitude 360′s sports theater that offer patrons the ease of interacting through fantasy-style gaming.  It extends to the creation of VIP rooms for high rollers with contest entries projected to range from $250 to $25,000 along with a viewing experience for players and spectators that will cause many to flock to Latitude 360 venues.  The concept is centered around enticing fantasy-crazed people to come to Latitude 360 locations for sporting events, because it will be the optimal entertainment venue to participate in fantasy sports.

“Our HD Sports Theaters are the perfect venue to prove that people want to play fantasy this way and ‘360 Fantasy LIVE’ will be available by NFL kickoff,” said Latitude 360 CEO Brent Brown.  ”The Latitude 360 brand has never been second best in any category we entered willingly. We are confident that this will be a shining reflection of this continuing trend.”

Latitude 360 is unique because it is essentially a company that owns dining and entertainment venues that is entering the fantasy sports space as opposed to a technological start-up seeking to build a platform from scratch.  It quickly fills a need of having a fantasy-related platform through the acquisition of MLF.  Incorporating that platform into its existing and future locations, Latitude 360 has the opportunity to focus on capturing a share of a fervent fantasy sports market that few, if any, have attempted to attack.

Sports-related shareholders of Latitude 360 include Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks, Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants, Derek Wolfe of the Denver Broncos, Chris Ivory, Tyson Alualu and other current and former National Football League players.  The company also recently signed a partnership with wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons.

The deal between Latitude 360 and MLF was brokered by Matthew Gavin of Brand Synergy Group.

Darren Heitner is a lawyer and the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C., which has a focus on Sports Law and Entertainment Law.

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