Having seen the crossroads of technology and gambling, the question arises: Which is the path best taken to bring back the younger generation to casinos.
According to the Applied Analysis for the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, the money that casinos receive from slot players has increased marginally by 6.2% but the amount of money that players bet has dropped by 6.2%. Given that slot machines generate 75% of the total annual US gambling revenue of $60 billion and gambling used to account for almost all the casino’s revenues, the trend of non-gambling visitors is a major cause of concern.
Filling the Millennial Bill
Recent surveys by Moody’s Investors Service on the Las Vegas Strip found non-gambling revenue to be between 55% and 65% of total revenue. This means that visitors to Vegas are more interested in staying at hotel, ordering food and beverages, and spending on entertainment such as professional sports events, musical shows and aerobatics than in gambling.
The new generation does not seem to be interested in spending money on a game that is purely dependent on luck. They are used to seeing more direct outcomes that are a result of their own engagement and interactivity with the machine or game. This has led to a change towards games such as blackjack and poker (as in the case of James Bond), where skill has a greater role to play.
Matching Expectations All Around
There is a slew of ideas that are already in development to provide casino floors with different skill-based games that look and feel like videogames that are commonly seen on consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation. There are even first-person shooter action games such as Danger Arena, that give you 45 seconds to shoot the bad guys and ear between $1 to $5,000. The game has been approved by the New Jersey state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement and is expected to be seen in major casinos such as Bally’s, Harrah’s and Caesars Atlantic City. According to the game developers, GameCo has 10,000 maps that control the game mathematically to provide high and low payoffs to players, just like a real slot machine.
It looks like even the gambling industry has come around to admitting that content is king when it comes to attracting the younger generation. How else will casinos get players to log on and spend years playing the game? Right now, game developers are urgently looking at ways in which skill-based games can be monetized for casinos. Some of the options looked at, besides shooter games, are games that require hand-eye coordination, dexterity and even fantasy video battles between two players in an eSports format.
While there are some casino operators who are willing to embrace change in view of the writing on the wall, there are others who are looking to reinvent the wheel by combining existing game titles such as Call of Duty with the choice of taking a chance on bonus money payoffs. The industry has just felt a need based on the sign of the times and it is still too early to infer how much the casino industry should bet on skill-based videogames.