GameCo Wants To Bring Skill-Based Gambling To Atlantic City Casinos To Draw Millennials

Written By J.R. Duren on October 7, 2016 - Last Updated on February 8, 2021

[toc]Slots and millennials don’t mix, the research says.

As a response to this, New York-based GameCo has announced its aim to introduce skill-based slots to three New Jersey casinos this month, pending approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The new style of slots are a gamified version of the traditional pull-and-play machines, a twist which game designers hope can attract millennials to casinos and other gambling properties.

“They are aimed squarely at millennials and those who like playing games on social media networks or on their phones, and who may be less inclined to play traditional pushbutton slot machines,” the Las Vegas Sun wrote this past week.

New casino games mix video gaming and gambling into one

GameCo introduced its new slots on Sept. 27 at the Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The company hopes to introduce 21 terminals to Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s in Atlantic City.

The game is called “Danger Arena” and has the following features:

  • Gamblers pay to play rounds of the game.
  • The gaming terminal gives the gambler a tutorial on how to play.
  • Players navigate a randomized game board with a specific objective (e.g. kill robots).
  • Players have 45 seconds to navigate the game board.
  • Killing a certain number of robots gets you in the money.

Essentially, the company is offering a proprietary platform where video game-loving millennials can place wagers on their esports ability.

GameCo, however, isn’t the only player in the gamified slots world. According to the Sun, California-based gaming company Gamblit announced it intends to put their gaming terminals in California and Nevada casinos.

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Recent research suggests skill-based slots may appeal to younger audience

One week before the Global Gaming Expo, Cleveland.com noted the results of a study from Stockton University’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (N.J.).

The study pointed out that millennials “would be more attracted to slot machines if playing them involved an element of skill.”

Researchers also found that traditional casino games don’t have quite the draw with the current generation as it did with older generations. Twenty-one percent of respondents under the age of 35 said gambling was important to them, while their older counterparts were twice as likely to say gambling was important.

Other interesting statistics were:

  • Fifty-seven percent of millennials play table games like blackjack and poker.
  • Forty-four percent play slots, but they prefer to do so with family or friends.
  • A majority of millennial respondents had visited Atlantic City in the past year, and 91 percent said it was a positive experience (most survey participants lived in New Jersey).

The implications for the gaming industry are huge, considering there are more than 83 million millennials.

GameCo and Gamblit seem to be on the leading edge of millennial-focused gambling, but it remains to be seen how gaming officials in California, Nevada, and New Jersey will respond to this new type of gambling.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has been awarded the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism prize three times. A freelance writer and author covering the legal NJ online gambling industry, J.R.’s work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Our Amazing Norway, and Bespoke Post.

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