The Slot Machine Industry is About to Change
For the past decade, gaming has accounted for less than half of all Nevada casino revenue. On the Las Vegas Strip, table-gaming revenues have been on the decline since 1998. Fiscal reports note that casino gaming amounted to less than 37 percent of the Las Vegas Strip’s overall $16.3 billion of revenue in 2014.
Spending patterns on the slots floor seem to be holding steady for the time being, but fewer young adults are seen playing live dealer games. To a state accustomed to raking in big dollars associated with blackjack, poker and other table games, this downward trend could be interpreted as alarming. Fortunately, the gaming industry is about to change.
Never one to be down for long, the gaming industry is poised to enact significant changes in slot machines. According to Marcus Prater, executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, a measure that was recently passed by the Nevada state senate is bound to make a major difference in the way young adults think about casino games, slot machines and online casino games.
Why did in-house gaming decline?
Alex Bumazhny, a gaming industry researcher at Fitch Ratings Service, said that when adults ages 35 and under visit Las Vegas, they are more apt to spend money on things not related to table gaming. This could mean that the millennial generation is more interested in seeing live shows, attending sporting events and visiting Las Vegas nightclubs and music venues than they are in casino gaming. Bumazhny noted that when young millennial adults do play games in a casino, they tend toward skill-based games in lieu of games based on luck. He added that when young adults deign to gamble, they overwhelmingly prefer blackjack tables over slot machines.
What will slot manufacturers do about it?
When Senate Bill 9 passed in the spring of 2015, slot machine makers moved a step closer to the ability to build familiar video game features into traditional machine games and slot machines. For millennials born in the 80s and 90s, the addition of familiar, skill-based video game play could increase casino-based and online gaming revenues in a meaningful way.
Senate Bill 9 was brought before the state of Nevada by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers. After both legislative houses gave unanimous approval to the measure on May 21, the bill was signed by Governor Brian Sandoval. As Sandoval signed the bill, he said, “This bill allows gaming manufacturers to use cutting-edge technology to meet the challenges prompted by a younger, more technologically engaged visitor demographic.”
The next and final step is consideration and final approval by the Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission.
With the anticipated passage of the law, slots manufacturers may see an influx of new designers who will utilize their understanding of video game technology to create exciting new slot machines that incorporate elements of skill to traditional slot machine games.
One thing that is certain is that when Senate Bill 9 passes, Nevada casinos will change the way they market gaming to young adults.