Skill-gaming Innovator GameCo Seeks Funding for Expansion

Posted on: March 27, 2017, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2017, 05:50h.

GameCo is betting the future belongs to skill-based casino gaming, and it’s asking potential investors to put their money on it too.

Blaine Graboyes’ GameCo seeks funding
Blaine Graboyes, founder and CEO of GameCo, is looking for funding, although he admits that his VGMs have got off to a slow start on the casino floors of Atlantic City. (Image: nabshow.com)

The New York-based company made gaming history when it provided the world’s first ever commercially-operational skill-based casino gaming machine, “Danger Arena,” to Harrah’s Atlantic City in November, and now its seeking a new funding round to aid expansion.  

The company expects to roll out about 10 games this year, including a new basketball game called “Nothin’ but Net” and a title still in development based on Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

“We are just starting on our next round now with the target of raising $20 million to $30 million depending on market conditions,” co-founder and chief executive officer Blaine Graboyes told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week.

Feeling Like the Cool Kids

GameCo’s skill-based gaming terminals, known as video gaming machines (VGMs), balance a financial model similar to that of traditional slot machines with the kind of games young people like to play, like first-person action, racing, fighting and puzzle games.

The big difference is that, while previously everyone had to have an equal chance for an equal payout from traditional slots, by law, VGM’s can offer variable payouts, or better payout odds for skilled players.

Casinos hope it will make the casino floor “cool” again and win the hearts of the millennial generation, which holds no truck with slots. 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.

“Gamers also have a propensity for gambling and they don’t have any place to get together and socialize,” Graboyes said. “The opportunity was to create a destination at a casino that makes gamers feel like the cool kids.”

Slow Start for VGTs

It’s way to early to draw conclusions about the success of VGTs, but they have, thus far, failed to set the gaming floor alight. Danger Arena has yielded below the house average, said Graboyes, while the company’s second game, “Pharoah’s Secret Temple,” has fared slightly better, with some machines hitting the average.

These things take time to catch on, though, and Graboyes feels the decision to use a console on Danger Arena may have put some customers off.

He noted, however, that VGM’s have been more successful when placed in different areas from slot machines; naturally, since they’re targeting different demographics.  

“It is only a matter of time before there is a video-game casino,” he said. “We are driving ideas for it and we would hope to be a key partner of the first one.”