Study Claims 70 Percent of Casinos Mulling Skill-Based Games

Posted on: February 10, 2019, 07:00h. 

Last updated on: February 8, 2019, 01:56h.

A study finds that skill-based games are being strongly considered by 70 percent of casinos polled. However, the report comes from Synergy Blue, a California-based manufacturer of skill-based games and platforms.

skill-based gaming casino slot machines
A survey of 100 casinos found that skill-based gaming is still very much in play. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

In the company’s “State of Skill-Based Games in a New Era of Gambling” report, Synergy Blue says seven out of 10 casino reps who completed the survey answered “they have, plan to, or are considering adopting skill-based games.”

Skill-based gaming – all the rage in recent years as the innovative machines were seen as a way to lure millennials to casino floors – combine elements of aptitude with chance. So far they’ve been slow to catch on.

Synergy says respondents to its online survey were random, voluntary, and anonymous. The study didn’t give a scientific margin of error.

Other skill-based gaming manufacturers include Gamblit and GameCo.

Move Over Millennial

Perhaps most surprising in the Synergy poll is that 50 percent of casinos are most heavily focused on Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980. The general reasoning is that Gen Xers are more financially stable over the next five years.

Despite the Baby Boomers growing older, their love for the traditional slot machine still has the attention of 28 percent of casinos. The Millennial, however, is the focus of only 22 percent of casino operators.

Those numbers will presumably shift over the years, as the millennial becomes more financially sound. The major concern for the gaming industry is that those in the demo have much less fondness for slot machines than their parents and grandparents.

The initial implementation of skill-based gaming machines didn’t go as planned. Platforms placed in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City struggled to catch on with guests.

We all understood that we were learning and experimenting,” Caesars Entertainment Senior VP of Product Strategy Melissa Price said in 2017. “It was a big learning experience for all of us. People have to come find the games in a sea of 1,500 slots.”

Las Vegas-based gaming attorney Gregory Gemignani told this year, “The problem is if you have a really skilled player, no one else wants to come up and play. They’re multiplayer, so if one person is consistently beating the others, everybody kind of walks away. They’re going to have to figure that out.”

Gemignani predicts the games that will do well in the future will have skill elements, but random payouts.   

Sports Betting Impact

One new weapon casinos now in eight states have is sports betting. Nielsen Sports concluded in a recent study that legal sports wagering will greatly appeal to the 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

“Expanding access to legal sports betting will bring millennial audiences back to sports broadcasts and stadiums, which is a huge benefit for sport enterprises across the country,” American Gaming Association Senior VP of Public Affairs Sara Slane stated.

The research deduced that regulated casino sportsbooks would attract more affluent adults. Nielsen Sports says 44 percent of sports bettors are under the age of 35, and 29 percent have a household income of more than $100,000.