Skill-based slot games: Here to stay or a gamble that will never pay off? | Casinopedia

  • After legislation paved the way for skill-based casino gaming, the sector is showing positive signs of growth.
  • The pertinent question is whether this new-age gaming will be accepted by both younger and older clientele.

A set of new regulations adopted by the Nevada Gaming Commission back in 2015 heralded a new era in casino slot gaming that led to the introduction of skill-based games.

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Casinos are now able to offer these hybrid slot games that feature and element of skill, much like modern day video games, but still with a wager on the outcome.

Many casino operators have welcomed the advancement and see it as a great opportunity to attract a younger target market.

Since the first skill-based slot machine was installed at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in March 2017, the jury is still out on whether this new mode of playing slots will be widely accepted or simply lose steam along the way.

Experimental stage

GameCo is one of several companies including, Konami, Gamblit, and Scientific Games Corp that are jostling for pole position in the emerging video game gambling machines (VGM’s) sector.

Scientific Games Corp recently launched a new skill-based slot game at Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s in Atlantic City New Jersey in a colorful ceremony attended by many.

According to Rich Broome, a spokesperson from Ceasar’s Entertainment Corp, that runs Harrahs’s and Bally’s, the new game, Space Invaders, based on the 1970s arcarde classic, was introduced to gauge market acceptance.

“We expect this period of experimentation will continue for the next few years,” Broome told the Las Vegas Review Journal during the launch. Many casinos are taking a guarded approach when it comes to the video game-based slot machines, as the market continues to work out where it is.

So far so good

Manufacturers of the new-age of video slot machines are upbeat about the penetration of their new products and many casinos are keen on redefining one of the most iconic casino games of all time.

Companies such as GameCo are already landing contracts to supply video slot machines to various casino resorts in Nevada and Connecticut. Titles such as Pharaoh’s Secret Temple and Nothin’ But Net are proving to be quite a hit with patrons and some casinos have placed the new slot games in high traffic areas.

Targeting millennials

Land-based casino operators have been looking for ways of attracting younger clientele. The worry from market research is that classic casino games simply do not capture their imagination in the same way that other forms of digital entertainment do – notably video games and apps.

The average millennial has been inundated with a slew of interactive games on mobile devices and consoles and this has, more or less, become their benchmark for entertainment.

The conventional slot game is simply not interactive enough for the attention span of a youngster – it is thought.

The new skill-based games are bridging the gap between the old and the new by merging video game concepts with the conventional slots. The same idea is also being adopted for other table games such as Gamblit Poker that offers the poker experience infused with interactive video game aesthetics.

Skill-based casino games may also have a hand in boosting land-based casinos through eSports engagement. The eSports sector is an emerging competitive video gaming association that is youth-centered and could be a catalyst for the adoption of video game-style casino gaming.

What does the future hold?

Modern technology is taking up more of people’s lives and the same effect is being felt in the casino sector. The classic games like slots are still popular but there is clear evidence that younger people are not not as interested in them as previous generations – not yet, at any rate.

The launch of video slot machines and other VGMs is seemingly a reaction to this from the casino industry and there is a general positive outlook regarding market acceptance.

But it is still a very niche area, and no casino operator will be pinning their hopes on this one just yet. Todd Haushalter, of live casino provider Evolution Gaming likened getting skill-based slot gaming right akin to writing a hit record – a combination of elements that are hard to pin down, but just somehow work.

Online casinos and skill-based games

There is no doubt that the online casino world holds just as much, if not more, potential for skill-based slot games than the land-based one.

As yet, skill-based slots are the preserve of the land-based casino. But many of the developers of skill-based slots, such as Scientific Games, also make games for online casinos.

It should only be a matter of time before online casinos make a proper play for this growing area.