A look at what’s to come in skills-based slots
Global Gaming Expo Las Vegas
A new generation of slot machines are on the horizon – games that blend elements of skill with chance and promise to give Las Vegas Casinos a boost in the year to come. These new slots will not only be considerably different to the one-armed bandits of yester year, but will also have the potential for different payouts altogether, offering a way for casinos to appeal to an entirely new generation of players, namely the millennials (those currently under 35).
As most people know, slots are a critical factor to online casinos the world over, with the exception of Macau where slots play contributes a mere 5% to Macau casinos revenue, with 95% stemming from table games like Baccarat. In the US however, slots play accounts for more than half of Nevada’s $11.02 billion in casino revenue.
It is anticipated that the new generation of skill-based slots will make their appearance on the floors of Las Vegas casinos as early as the beginning of 2016. This is largely attributed to the fact that Nevada is the first U.S state that is working towards establishing technical standards to ensure that the new skill-based machines are fair and provide accurate payouts. By all accounts, MGM resorts, the biggest Las Vegas casino operator will be the first to offer these games.
With the focus shifting towards skill based games, gaming manufacturers like Scientific Games and Game Technology, currently the two largest slots manufacturers are now including skill based versions of games in their offerings.
How do skill-based slots differ from regular machines?
At present the results after the spinning of the reels on your favourite slot machine are purely dictated by chance. A random number generator with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of outcomes is set in motion and the outcomes are truly random. There may seem to be elements in the game where you can control the outcome – for example when you are asked to pick X of Y in a bonus game, but ultimately you hold no influence over the game and results are always mere chance.
Skill based games on the other hand will require a certain level of skill on the player’s part in order to influence the outcome of the game favourably – this could mean that they are required to answer trivia questions relating to sports, pop culture or even academic pursuits.
Another idea to appeal to the Millennial generation is to offer skill-based slots based on classic video games like Space Invaders, where within the game points are awarded for the number of enemy spaceships destroyed. Themes like this being integrated into slots could open up an entirely new field for video game producers like Electronic Arts and Sony.
In addition, players will also be able to compete against one another individually or in teams rather than gambling as a solitary pursuit. According to Bryan Kelly, Senior Vice President of Scientific Games, the social and strategy based aspect of games are a key feature when appealing to Millennials.
What this does mean is that we’ll see an entirely new, completely different generation of games creeping onto the casino floor, changing the way we gamble forever.
Social, Smartphone Gaming Integration
Game manufacturers also foresee using technology such as smartphones and tablet devices as part of the game integration, allowing people to use their devices during play. Other games will offer built-in devices that allow multi-player tournaments for friends around a single table. Test models of the latter are already found in some Las Vegas casinos.
According to analysts there is a great deal of buzz and excitement surrounding skill based gambling, but it is yet to be seen as to whether this buzz will translate into casino revenue. We’re betting that it will…how about you?