The introduction of skill-based games to Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s three Atlantic City properties in November was hailed as a game-changer by casino officials. That, however, has proven not to be the case and as a result, the slots-video game hybrids have been pulled from the gaming giant’s New Jersey casino floors.
At the time the video gaming machines (VGMs) were unveiled in November (picture), the co-founder and CEO of skill-based gaming developer GameCo Inc, Blaine Graboyes, proclaimed, “We envision a bright, revitalized future in Atlantic City as a new generation of gamers find their way here,” as cited by the Press of Atlantic City.
However, after reportedly having failed to generate enough profit to cover their vendor fees, Caesars’ first-ever skill-based gaming experiment has proven to be unsuccessful. And after just six months, the more than 21 games installed at Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, and Bally’s Atlantic City have been removed, said Caesars Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Gaming Enterprise, Melissa Price, according to the Atlantic City news agency.
Skill-based games reward players based on their skill, rather than relying solely on luck, as traditional slots do. And while their [skill-based machines] financial model is similar to the latter, the major difference is that the house advantage can be reduced by player by having more prowess at a certain game. Unlike before, when the law dictated that everyone who played casino slots had to have the same chance of winning.
Graboyes said, “We all understood that we were learning and experimenting,” and, “It was a big learning experience for all of us. People have to come find the games in a sea of 1,500 slots.”
Skill-based gaming was promoted as a means of attracting the millennial market, those individuals born between 1980 and 2000, to the slot machines. Atlantic City’s casino industry has over the past few years searched for ways to entice millennials, who number in the neighborhood of 75.4 million, from e-sports to skill-based gaming. According to U.S, Census data, their generation has surpassed baby boomers as the United States’ largest generation. Their generation makes for a much-sought-after target for business, considering that their buying power ranges as high as $2.5 trillion and is expected to speed past their elder demographic cohort by 2020, according to the news agency.
Citing Graboyes, the Press of Atlantic City reports that GameCo has no hard feelings regarding the removal of the machines and will continue its working relationship with Caesars to continue developing skill-based gaming. Graboyes said. “Video-game players love playing video games, and we are looking for that type of experience in the casino. What the casinos have to offer is a level of hospitality that you don’t get at the arcade.”
This on the heels of Caesars having reportedly recently signed a deal with gaming machines developer Scientific Games Corporation that will see its innovative Space Invaders slot, which features a skill-based bonus round make its debut at the casino giant’s Bally’s Atlantic City and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City properties before being made available at its properties “in additional jurisdictions.”
While they may have been removed from Caesars’ Atlantic City properties, skill-based gaming machines are, however, still available at Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City, where three games, including GameCo’s basketball-themed VGM, “Nothin’ But Net”, are offered on the main casino floor as well as in Slots at The Quarter.