Caesars slots are getting a makeover in a bid to lure millennials and the Candy Crush generation away from their mobile phones.
The Caesars Entertainment Corp. are looking for a way to convince millennials and the Candy Crush generation that slot machines can be cool. To do this they are rolling out a new generation of devices in their casinos that look very much like the games these young people are enjoying on their mobile devices.
In 2007 revenue from slot machine gambling was at its peak at $335 billion but this fell to $291 billion in 2014. Caesars who are the largest owner of casinos in the U.S. are trying to do something about this fall in revenues. According to the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufactures, casino owners are blaming this drop on the fact that millennials don't play slots like their grandparents did and they are too focused on enjoying social games like Candy Crush saga.
The new slots being released by Caesars looks to address this problem and they will pay out based on a player's skill level as well as luck. This change has required tweaks to casino regulations. These new slots games have been developed by Gamblit Gaming and they will challenge players to find hidden words on a board or match flavors of smoothies in a virtual juice bar. One such title is called "Grab Bar Poker" where four people stand around a flat, waist-high screen and press buttons to see who will snag the card that pops up in the middle. The player with the best poker hand at the end wins. This is similar to online video poker games but allowing a group of players to compete against each other.
These new slots style games are designed to lure millennials who prefer to gamble interactively. This younger generation also prefers to spend more money on booze and food. Caesars is planning to install six new devices in its Harrah's resort which is enough for 25 players. They will also follow this up with 36 devices in Las Vegas in 2017 which will have room for 125 players.
Eric Meyerhofer, Chief Executive officer of Gamblit said, "Typically slot machines are a very solitary experience. Our games are designed to be played in groups with friends. Gamblit's new skill based games are designed to create a small series of small wins rather than one big jackpot and over a period of time the payout percentages should average that of traditional slots."
Unlike normal slots which are based solely on chance, casinos will be challenged to make sure that the new skill-based machines aren't so easily conquered. After all, the aim of any casino is to make money.
A.G. Burnett, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said, "We expect some manufacturers to make their games progressively harder as the players score higher, a big change from the static play of a game like blackjack."
Casino regulators in Nevada and New Jersey have been reworking their regulations over the past two years to allow for skill-based games. Top online casino software providers such as Scientific Games and IGT casino software have been developing their own versions of interactive devices. IGT already has a skill based machine based on the classic Atari video game Centipede which can be played at MGM Resorts International's Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas-based Caesars has been struggling to compete with the onslaught of mobile gaming and these new app-like games will give them a way to compete against addictive titles such as Candy Crush that have thrived on mobile phones.
Melissa Price, Caesars' senior vice president of gaming, said, "Our world has shifted. There are a lot of entertainment opportunities that don't always exist at the casino."
This rollout by Caesars is part of a larger strategy by Chief Executive Officer Mark Fissora to introduce more technology to the business.
Caesars shares have already begun to rise after dropping 22 percent this year. Could these new skill based games be the turning point that casinos need?
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