ATLANTIC CITY — A private investment of more than $5 million into the construction of an independent data center at the Atlantic City Convention Center could turn the resort into an East Coast mecca for competitive online gaming — aka, e-sports.

Global network solutions provider Continent 8, based in the United Kingdom, plans to have a data center ready to go in the next six months — in an underutilized area of the government-controlled convention center — that would serve any entity in the region looking for a safe, secure location for their technology.

The data center, linked to Continent 8's private network of 30-plus locations around the world, would increase bandwidth capacity, security and disaster recovery capabilities for web-based services in Atlantic City and throughout the south shore region.

"Our hope is that by building a technology infrastructure through the addition of a data center, entities that are reliant on a solid technology infrastructure will feel more comfortable investing in the area, thereby increasing economic development and redevelopment in the region," said Barbara DeMarco, a consultant for Continent 8, with Trenton-based Porzio Governmental Affairs.

"As it relates to Atlantic City specifically, the hope is that the technology infrastructure within the Convention Center will allow for events that require technology — large amounts of data, fiber, security, power and redundancy — to be held in the city, thereby opening the door to industries such as esports," she said.

E-sports revenue is predicted to top $900 million worldwide in 2018.

According to Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, Atlantic City can become "the data center for e-sports" with this move, and if legal betting on these live gaming events becomes a reality, New Jersey will already be in a good position.

"If it ever does come to betting, you need to have the servers located in New Jersey, just as you do with internet gambling," Gros said.

Continent 8 already leases space at Ocean Resort Casino and Caesars, but the data rooms are controlled by the casinos. Continent 8's data center at the convention center will be owned completed by the company.

The data center will be housed in a very large storage area in the back of the building, isolated from the public, according to DeMarco.

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