Australia casinos are filled wall to wall with pokies. Those traditional reel spinners have captured our hearts, and our extra spending cash, for decades. If speculations over skill gambling games are to be believed, many of those poker machines could soon be replaced with skill-based, arcade-style pokies.
Danger Arena VGM by GameCo
Late last year, Las Vegas-based GameCo Inc became the first manufacturer in the world to successfully produce, gain regulatory approval, and install skill gambling games in casinos. Following an exclusivity contract with Caesars Entertainment, the games first appeared in three Atlantic City casinos, Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s.
Since then, the game’s have also been installed at Tropicana Atlantic City, as well as Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. According to reports, they’ll appear in Nevada casinos before the year is out.
The latest industry news calls for GameCo’s skill gambling games—officially patented as ‘Video Gambling Game Machines‘, or VGMs for short—to appear halfway across the world.
A publication this week in GGRAsia confirmed GameCo will be applying for regulatory approval of its VGMs in Macau. The US games manufacturer is optimistic that they will appear in Macau casinos before the year is out.
“We are hoping to be here in 2017,” asserted GameCo CEO Blaine Garboyes while showing off their skill gambling games at G2E Asia (pictured above). “We are currently working on an update of our game for the Macau 1.1 [electronic gaming machine technical] standards,” he said.
GameCo exhibited two skill gambling games at G2E Asia in May, held at the Venetian Macao. One is Danger Arena, a VGM that mimics immensely popular first-person shooters like Call of Duty; the same game that went live in New Jersey in late 2016. The second is Pharaoh’s Secret Temple, a touch-screen, match-3 puzzle game (à la Bejeweled and Candy Crush).
Skill Gambling Games in Australia Casinos?
Garboyes told GGRAsia that, once the company has solidified its presence in Macau, expansion throughout this side of the globe is imminent. While he didn’t specify any exact locations, the insinuation is that Australia casinos will be very high on the list of intended destinations.
In reference to GameCo’s infiltration of the Asian market, Garboyes said:
“We are targeting Macau initially, with the aim of very quickly moving outward from there. We are just starting the [Macau] licensing and registration process. We have established partnerships with distributors here in Macau and other areas in Asia.”
Occupying the southernmost stretch of the Asia Pacific region, Australia is home to one of the most gambling-centric communities in the world. Historically, pokies have been a popular pastime among 80% of adults, but like everywhere else in the world, millennials aren’t so inclined to ‘spin the reels’ of what they view as old-fashioned—dare I say antique?—gambling devices.
Skill gambling games were specifically developed to target the millennial audience. They provide an experience intended to mimic the PC and console video games this generation grew up on.
The real question is whether these games will succeed in attracting millennial players. This age group, ranging from 21-34, has become so assimilated to mobile technology, that it could be too little, too late.
With online casino games, including the skill-based variety, so readily available, bringing today’s younger gamblers into land-based casinos has proven difficult.
When GameCo’s Danger Arena VGMs were installed in Caesars’ Atlantic City casinos last November, it was only a trial run. Once the trial ended in May 2017, the skill gambling games were removed due to lack of revenue generation.