The Skill-Based Slots Movement and Its Risks

skill-based-slotsThe biggest storyline in the slots industry over the last year-plus has been the mission to attract more millennials. This generation has largely ignored slot machines, leaving casinos puzzled at how they can draw millennials. But casinos now feel like they have an answer in skill-based slots.

Casinos hope that by incorporating skill into the equation, millennials, who’ve grown up on sophisticated video games and social gaming, will be more apt to play.

The idea sounds good in theory, with games similar to Call of Duty or Angry Birds beckoning young players to the reels. But the movement is not without risks either, as the Wall Street Journal covered.

First off, casinos are slow to change, as evidenced by how it took more than a decade for most casinos to join the trend of replacing coin-based machines with ticket-based slots. Skill-based slot machines could go through a similar lengthy process.

Two more problems include slower gameplay and the possibility that skill-based games will cannibalize luck-based slot machines. Here’s an excerpt on this from the WSJ:

skill-based-slot-machines“Slot players wager once every five seconds, compared with every 20 to 60 seconds for some Gamblit games, which may prove less lucrative than traditional slots even if they attract new gamblers. And some casinos worry the new games will cannibalize traditional slot-machine sales—which still account for 77% of total gambling revenue at commercial casinos nationwide—for the sake of luring youth, who aren’t known for their long-term loyalty.”

One more concern is that skill-based games could be dangerous for gambling addicts because they might think the skill element gives them a real shot at beating the house. However, the truth is that the house still holds a slight edge, even over the most-skilled players.

Regardless of the concerns, the casino industry is going through with skill-based slot machines to see how effective they are.