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Slot machine providers are planning to add skill-based features


To move with the times, some of the biggest slot machine providers have decided to focus on skill-based products. The idea is not new and industry experts have been aware of the concept for years.

The Global Gaming Expo (G2E) industry expo held in Las Vegas on October 14 shed more light on skill-based products designed to appeal to a younger customer base, but there are still a few wrinkles.

In fact, companies have already been on the move with Next Gaming CEO Mike Darley outlining a course of action.

Hopefully pulling at the heartstrings of millennials, Mr. Darley and his team will focus on re-imagining classic arcade games such as Asteroids, SlotJava, Tempest, Arkanoid, and Missile Command.

Once the Nevada Gambling Control Board (NGCB) has cleared the games, Next Gaming will be launching the products for a trial run in prime Las Vegas properties, and specifically the Planet Hollywood and The Linq Hotel.

While skill-based games picked up steam in 2016 – 2017, they haven’t quite made the cut into the mainstream. Pushing such games through licensing has also been a bit more difficult.

The industry is clearly preparing to live up to the expectations of youthful generations, but even now, estimated 72% of millennial visitors to Las Vegas participate in gambling activities.

H2 Between Two Wrongs and One Right

There have been numerous concerns about ushering in a spade of skill-based games, or in the very least – games branded as such. Regulators require from developers to create slot titles offering “equal probability of winning”.

However, an outright statement by the developer that skill would determine the amount paid, might incentivize players and lead to higher incidence of gambling addiction. With these qualms to the front, some watchdogs are still willing to reconsider.

Gambling presently brings $9 billion in taxes across the United States, and a drop in the customer base could lead to shrinking payments to the coffers. Both New Jersey and Nevada already have skill-based standards.

In fact, the Silver State passed legislation back in 2015, although these games haven’t been introduced en massed. 

H2 Not Everyone Happy

Some commentators, including Acres 4.0 owner John Acres has expressed dissatisfaction with creating slot games based on recognizable gaming experience, as in the case of arcade games. He further added:

“People might feel misled, thinking if they’re really skilful, they’re going to win money.”

Of course, industry leaders have also been treading carefully. As SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Barry Jonas puts it, there are no guarantees this would be a successful gamble for the industry.

In fact, there is little to indicate that skill-based games have brought more revenue than any counterpart in the slot segment. Meanwhile, companies such as IGT and GAMBLIT GAMING are pushing ahead with their own unique takes on the skill-based segment.

IGT has introduced the so-called hybrid skill games as Fuzzy’s Fortune, Texas Tea Pinball and Cleopatra. Another addition to this testy line of titles includes Bloomtopia. Meanwhile, Gamblit has released Pac Man Cash Chase.