Nevada supports video games in casinos

In a move to boost casino innovation and appeal to a new generation of slot player, Nevada is looking to bring video game themes into casinos. Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board A.G. Burnett is the latest to announce his support of a measure that paves the way for skill-based slots in casinos. Senate Bill 9 is constructed to develop advanced slot machine technology that includes elements of skills within games, rather than purely focusing on chance. It requires for gaming regulators to adopt legislation that supports development of innovative devices on the casino floor. Leading the US in terms of gaming regulation, the bill could be the foundation for other states to follow suit. “The bill encourages regulators, both the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Gaming Control Board, to take a look at new modes of gaming, including adding a certain element of skill to our already chance-based games,” described Burnett, adding that if approved, the next step would be for regulators to enact legislation that removes some of the restrictions and make way for this new type of game. As more integrated resort experiences open in Las Vegas, less revenue is coming from the casino. Official figures show that back in 1989, revenue on the Strip comprised 59pc from gaming, while the remaining 41pc was from non-gaming businesses such as restaurants and retail. The figure has gradually shifted and non-gaming revenue now generates some 63pc of total Strip revenue. The rise of mobile technology and today’s fast-paced lifestyle means millennials, which refers to the generation born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are favouring the restaurants, nightlife and retail culture in Las Vegas. Typical slot machines that engage gamblers for long periods of time are no longer appealing to younger players, which the new measure aims to reverse. “Millennials need to have some forms of entertainment on the gambling side,” remarked Burnett. “But this is not a cram-down for the slot floor where the old-style of games would be replaced by any new-style of games. Those games would be able to coexist on the casino floor.” Casino content has focused on attracting younger players for past several years and numerous titles have been released based on major brands that appeal to this demographic, such as Avatar, Friends and the Flintstones. Adding skill into forthcoming titles wouldn’t be a quick process, but according to Burnett, passage of the bill would be the first step in making it a reality. Adding skill to games would change the model of traditional slot machines. The language of the proposed bill infers games would still be fundamentally based on chance, but if a player took the time to master certain skills, the possibilities of winning would increase. This would boost time on device, bringing more players back to the casino floor, but give gaming manufacturers a challenge to ensure players couldn’t become so good as to gain an edge over the casino. The technology to include skill in slot games has existed for some time, but Nevada will only approve games based more on luck. Until now, engaging gameplay, winning tournaments and big jackpot opportunities have been enough to lure players. Several games have introduced skill, such as a joystick to steer players through a bonus, but the territory still remains largely unknown. Currently being considered by a state Senate committee, Senate Bill 9 would facilitate the production of such games. If passed, the Commission would support skill-based gaming concepts, but manufacturers would still have to get on board. According to A.G. Burnett, it would take about six months following passage of legislation before skill-based slots could make their way to Nevada casinos.