New Jersey DGE approves skill-based games for Atlantic City

GameCo VGM skill-based gaming stations coming to a casino near you, provided you live near Atlantic City. (Image: GameCo)

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has rubber-stamped skill-based slot machines for deployment on the casino floors of Atlantic City. The machines, known as VGMs and made by New York-based GameCo, have ticked all the regulatory boxes and could be introduced to any of Caesars’ three Atlantic City casinos as early as Monday.

The machines are designed to modernize casino gaming for millennials and, if they’re a success, their introduction could prove to be a transformational moment for casino gaming.

According to the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, the amount wagered on slots machines has fallen from a 2007 high of $355 billion to $291 billion in 2014.

The reason for the dip, according to the casino industry, is that millennials don’t find slots interesting enough.

Danger Arena

The new machines will balance the kinds of games young people do like to play, from first-person shooters, to racing and puzzle games, with a financial model similar to that of traditional slot machines.

The difference is, though, the new machines will be equipped to offer “variable payouts,” which means skilled players will have a higher chance to win. Previously, everyone playing a slot machine had to have the same chance to win over time, by law.

The first skill-based gambling game in casino history is likely to be “Danger Arena,” GameCo’s first-person action game, but the company promises that new games will soon be prominent in US casinos, drawing on an array different genres, such as action, adventure, sports, racing, fighting and platformer.

Caesars will feature 21 gaming positions in “high traffic, prominent locations in all three properties, with three triple-unit carousels at Caesars Atlantic City, two at Harrah’s Resort, and two at Bally’s Wild Wild West,” the company said.

California and Nevada to Follow

“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,” said David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“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.”

Caesars also has a deal with GameCo rival Gamblit, and is due to debut six Gamblit gaming stations, each with room for four players, at Harrah’s casino in Southern California sometime this month. They will then be rolled out at its Nevada properties shortly afterwards.