Caesars makes skill-based slots move

Caesars makes skill-based slots move

Thursday, September 8, 2016
‘Gamblified’ games such as Catapult King have hit the slot floor

Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CEC) is breaking new ground in the US land-based casino sector after it announced plans to introduce skill-based gaming machines to some of its casinos as it looks to attract younger generations to the slots floor.

The deal announced yesterday with real-money and skill-based gaming publisher Gamblit will see various games rolled out across Caesars properties in both California and later Nevada including a game and word matching effort and a ‘gamblified’ version of Gamblit’s hit video games Catapult King and the zombie smash Into The Dead.

The introduction of Gamblit’s Model G interactive tables and the Tristation gaming stations are a first for the gambling industry, according to Caesars. They will be debuted at the Harrah’s Rincon in Southern California and will also be trialled in Nevada, including at Las Vegas pending regulatory approval. Each position will have multiple themes and skill-based games. Should this be forthcoming – and if the trial is a success with the customers – then Caesars plans to introduce 125 Gamblit gaming positions into multiple Nevada properties. A further 100 positions will be introduced in other markets in early 2017.

“Our agreement with Gamblit and the introduction of their skill-based gaming positions to our casinos are key milestones in our gaming innovation strategy and demonstrate progress towards creating the ‘Casino of the Future,’” said Mark Frissora, president and chief executive of CEC. “Caesars is proud to be first to bring these innovative games to our customers, and we plan to make skill-based games an increasingly important part of the gaming floors.”

The US casino industry is hoping the introduction of skill-based gaming can help slow or even reverse the long-term decline in slots play at US casinos. According to a study commissioned by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), slots revenue across 16 markets in the US fell from a total of $355m in 2007, just before the financial crash, to $291m in 2015. Though the study suggested the contraction had occurred initially due to the prolonged recession that afflicted the US in the wake of the financial crash, it did not explain why slots handle didn’t increase again in line with the consumer rebound.

Gamblit says it can help casino operators compete on innovation while driving growth and revenues via a new entertainment experience. The games pay out according to the skill of the consumer and attract a younger audience that otherwise might not be interested in traditional slot games.

Eric Meyerhofer, chief executive at Gamblit, was enthusiastic about he preferred partner choice. “We wanted to start our landmark transformation of gaming with Caesars Entertainment as their forward-thinking strategy, innovative moves and wide reaching influence among consumers perfectly aligns with our objective to revolutionize the casino floor.”

The news on the new-style slot machines will come as welcome relief for CEC which is currently weeks away from a potentially momentous court hearing in New York that could tip the company into bankruptcy. The hearing was given the go-ahead by a bankruptcy judge in Chicago at the end of August but the company did manage to plead for a short grace period before the hearing gets underway, likely in early October.

Totally Gaming says: Without seeing the games in action, it is hard to say whether Caesars will be on to a winner with its Gamblit deal. However, the slots floors of US casinos are going through a period of change, and skill gaming in one form or another will definitely be a part of the mix. It will be interesting to see how the regulators in Nevada treat the format.

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