Skill Game Machines Debut in US Casinos

December 30, 2016 / by: Gray Peterson

In efforts to attract Millennial demographic into casino gambling, skill gaming machines have started rolling out in many US land-based casinos.

Casinos in the US are being swayed into modifying their offering as the Generation X, and Baby Boomers continue to age and the millennials starting to take over the middle age demographic. When speaking to the New York Times, Gamblit Gaming CEO Eric Meyerhofer stated that a larger percentage of players who visit Las Vegas are below 50 years, however, many of those who play slot machines are above 50 years. He argued that most of the millennials have grown up in the digital age and the experience of spinning reels doesn’t resonate with them.

The Ground is Set for 2017

In the course of 2016, many state gambling agencies including the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and Nevada Gaming Commission provided new guidelines and regulations for the release of new slot machine hybrids and video gaming.

The slot machine hybrids which are also known as Video Gaming Machines (VGM) differ from the standard chance-based playing pieces of equipment in that they offer varying payouts. A player using the standard slot machine has the same odds as the next one when playing to hit the jackpot, but when using the skill-based VGM, one player’s odds differs from the next one.

Most of the gaming laws instituted by various states require that all payout percentages be standardized for all players to ensure fair play. However, when a skilled millennial is playing a VGM machine on “Guitar Hero” or Grand Theft,” they are likely to have better odds than a 75-year-old player.

The recently updated DGE regulations overruled the previous New Jersey stipulations, declaring that all games that rely entirely on players’ skill or do not use the Random Number Generator are not required to achieve or hold any set theoretical percentage.

The DGE further clarified that once a game with a skill-based feature commences, no function or aspect of the device being used can be altered during the play to make the event more or less likely to occur.

The First VMG Set to be Homegrown Innovation

As players walk into US casinos in 2017, one hybrid machine they are likely to encounter was designed and developed in Las Vegas.

The puzzle game slot hybrid was unveiled in October 2016 by UNLV undergraduates Evan Thomas and Troy Pettie. This slot game uses a skill-based format inspired by “Candy Crush” and “Bejeweled.”

When speaking to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Thomas explained that they took the aspects they loved about the games mentioned above and elements that made them popular, and then combined those aspects with what they knew about traditional slot machines and gambling games.

While VMG seems to be the future of gaming, the daunting part for casinos is finding games that are challenging enough but equally enjoyable and entertaining to keep the player put, and also be hard enough to prevent the players from scooping regular wins.

Tagged with: Land-Based Gambling