The gaming industry continues to integrate wagering functionality. Players are risking weapon skins in Global Strike: Counter Offensive while waiting for Grand Theft Auto Five Online?s mythical casino.?However,?the shoe hasn?t always been on the other foot.
Casinos haven?t been that keen on adapting video game technology. This is despite the striking similarities between modern day slot machines and the arcade games of old.
However, that one-way street changed course in late September. GameCo Inc. debuted its innovative video game skill-based slot machine (VGM) at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
Casino Meets FPS
The game, titled Danger Arena, is a first-person shooter (FPS) arcade game reminiscent of arcade classics like Area 51 and Quake. But rather than insert quarters simply to pay for the cost of play, Danger Arena users will be risking real money on the casino floor. It hopes to generate higher payouts by applying hand-eye coordination, marksmanship, efficiency, and other gaming skills.
Danger Arena Details
GameCo Inc.?s co-founder and CEO Blaine Graboyes spoke?with the Las Vegas Review-Journal during a promotional blitz. He offered the following elevator pitch for the VGM concept:
?Our first game is called Danger Arena. It?s a first-person action game. You?re fighting danger-bots, or robots, and the game lasts 45 seconds. If you take out six or more robots you?re in the money, 10 robots for the highest payout.?
While?Danger Arena was being debuted in?this year?s G2E, Graboyes and GameCo Inc. worked to secure approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). This is for the installation of VGMs on casino floors for real money play. On October 12, the NJDGE rendered its decision. It approved?Danger Arena for installation within three Atlantic City casino properties: Caesars, Harrah’s Resort, and Bally?s Wild Wild West.
The approval made Atlantic City the first jurisdiction in America to offer real money gaming through VGMs. The VGMs?rely on the skill of players rather than random number generators to determine payouts. Accordingly, GameCo Inc?s Danger Arena became the first VGM to be approved by a state gaming regulator. It beat Gamblit, a company in Nevada that’s also working on skill-based VGMs.
Catering to the Millennials
Older casino players who preferred traditional slot machines are spending?less time on?their favorite games. This is why?the casino industry is trying to adapt. It’s hoping to cater to the millennial market ? much of which grew up playing video games. In line with the continuing fusion of slot machines and popular culture, global casino equipment manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) achieved great success with its Centipede slot. It?was inspired by the 1981 arcade classic.
Other popular slot machine models patterned after video game and arcade themes include Space Invaders, Guitar Hero, and Angry Birds.
To secure approval from the NJDGE, GameCo Inc.?created a VGM that closely replicated the appearance and interface of a typical slot machine. While skill-based VGMs like Danger Arena play much more similarly to a classic arcade title, the company?s ?Tri-Pod? VGM Carousel was designed to mimic the cluster setup preferred by casino floor managers.
Based on GameCo Inc.?s patented mathematical model and game design, Danger Arena offers players a payback percentage between 89 percent and 92 percent. For players who prefer the house edge model, this means the casino can expect to hold between 8 percent and 11 percent of every dollar wagered.
These percentages may be slightly lower than those found on traditional slot machines. However, with the?skill-based target shooting element, proficient players increase their payouts on their own volition, without hoping to beat the odds on a randomly generated draw.
In a statement, Graboyes celebrated the progressive decision issued by the NJDGE.
?We are thrilled to be the market leader in a global industry effort to attract the next generation of players to the casino floor. With this approval from the DGE, the VGM is officially the first skill-based video game gambling product approved by any U.S. gaming jurisdiction regulator,? he said.
David Rebuck, Director for the NJDGE, also praised the agency?s willingness to break new ground within the realm of video gaming in casinos.
?The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was excited to have the opportunity to review and approve this game through our New Jersey First program. We have been at the forefront of encouraging innovation and are pleased that the efforts of GameCo and Division staff have culminated in this skill-based video game becoming available in Atlantic City before any other jurisdiction in the United States,? he stated.
The initial rollout for Danger Arena will include 21 installations in prominent areas of all three Atlantic City properties. These include three Tri-Pod carousels at Caesars, two inside Bally?s Wild Wild West, and another pair located within Harrah?s Resort.