The talk amongst Las Vegas execs this year is all about skill-based slots. Perhaps once the triennial is over, suggests Aden Simpson, this is something we should all be talking about.
The giants on Vegas’ strip knew they had a problem: slot machines are a vital part of their business models, yet their target clientele is aging rapidly. Young people, who have grown up with powerful consoles capable of virtuoso complexity, are simply bored by the spinning gems format of even the most modern one arm bandits. So in a bid for their survival, the biggest players in US gaming got together and lobbied lawmakers and regulators to relax the distinction between skill and chance, to develop more complicated, gamified gamblers. It’s too early to say whether skill-based slots will revive footfall in Sin City, but the initial results looks promising.
The situation chimes much with the UK, yet in our distraction with stakes and prizes the UK has overlooked this latent threat. While the triennial review could soon prise apart a decade of deadlock, such a result is bound to be more amelioratory than rejuvenative. Forgetting the beef between bactas and bookmakers, there is a worrying age gap on our machines too. With so much new tech flying around, and igaming afforded unbridled innovation, it may not be long before the genre becomes outmoded. Perhaps when this review is truly dead and done, the industry should put aside its differences and push for something genuinely different.