The Nevada Gaming Control Board began workshops with industry representatives last month designed to aid the regulators in formulating the rules that will govern approval of electronic gambling devices that require skill to play.
Earlier this year, the Nevada legislature unanimously approved Senate Bill 9, providing for skill-based games designed to attract the next generation of casino players, who are drawn to games that involve competition and require physical and/or mental dexterity to succeed. The aim is to create new casino players from the generation that grew up playing video games.
The first workshop examined how to effect in-game purchases and connecting games to social media accounts. More workshops are likely to be held.
“This is the most important regulation I’ve worked on in 17 years,” Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told the hearing room. “This is a turning point that could reinvigorate the slot machine floor.”
Attorney Dan Reaser of Fennemore Craig, which represents the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers—the force behind SB 9—testified at the hearing that the industry has to abandon “old notions” of what a slot machine is, to account for the generational shift in casino customers, taking into account different payback systems, multi-player setups and social networking.
“The game may not look like a slot machine,” Reaser said.
“Really, what we are looking at is attempting to steer the state onto a new path, onto a new road, in terms of gaming,” said Burnett. “Everyone here knows that we need a complete reinvigoration of slot games.”
There is no shortage of suppliers ready to create the new skill games. Eric Meyerhofer, CEO of Gamblit Gaming, is one of the suppliers at the forefront of the skill push. In an interview with the Detroit News, he said that while slots as they are today are likely to be offered for years to come, they could be accompanied by new “game zones” designed specifically to appeal to younger players, with lounges, DJs and other attractions for millennials.
“It’s more of an arcade experience,” he said, “without it being for, you know, children.”
“The next wave of people aren’t going to stand there and play slots,” added Greg Giuffria, who is developing a line of video console games, complete with joysticks, that allow wagering. “The industry has to change or disappear.”