Vegas gets more Serious about Video Game Gambling

For the past few decades, Las Vegas casinos have fed visitors a steady stream of blackjack, baccarat, roulette, slots and video poker. But now, in an effort to connect with millennials, America’s largest casino destination is looking to shake things up with video game gambling.

By law, Nevada’s 151,000 slot machines award prizes entirely by chance, but this is set to change in the coming future. “It’s certainly not your father’s one-armed bandit anymore,” said Marcus Prater, director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, which fought for legislation that will soon pave the way for skill-based video gambling.

Games like blackjack and video poker of course already offer skill elements. However, millennials, born in 1980 or later, aren’t playing these classics much. According to the Seattle Times, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found that only 63% of millennials gambled during their visit to Vegas, while 68% of Generation X (aged 35-50), 78% of Baby Boomers (51-69) and 87% of visitors aged 70-90 gambled.

“The next wave of people aren’t going to stand there and play slots,” said Greg Giuffria, who, along with his son, is working on developing console-type gambling. “The industry has to change or disappear.”

Peter Trombetta, a Moody’s analyst, seconded this notion by saying, “I think there are definitely people not interested in sitting in front of a slot machine and pushing that button for an hour.”

So far, it’s hard to say exactly what the future of Las Vegas gaming will look like because manufacturers want to wait and see what the Gaming Control Board approves. But one things is definitely for certain: change is coming. Eric Meyerhofer, CEO of Gamblit Gaming of Glendale, California, envisions this change including game zones on casino floors with a club-type feel, with even a bar or DJ nearby.

Assuming Nevada indeed goes through this transformation in order to appeal to younger people, it’s very likely that Atlantic City and other U.S. gaming destinations will quickly follow suit.

“If it’s good enough for Nevada, then it’s good for everyone else,” said I. Nelson Rose, a well-known gambling law expert from California’s Whittier College. Rose’s words definitely have some truth to them since the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has already explored skill-based gambling. So the gambling industry not only looks to change in Vegas and the surrounding areas, but also in America as a whole.