26 Aug

Crown Resorts preps for Australia’s first Skill-Based Gambling Demo

Skill-Based Gaming in the works for Crown Resorts via Chill Gaming.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Crown Resorts confirmed that skill-based gaming is on the horizon Down Under. The company is planning a roll out of new gambling machines with “skill-based” variables.

Crown ventures into Skill-Based GamblingCrown previously partnered with New Gaming Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of electronic games manufacturing group, Wymac Gaming Solutions. Through that partnership, the Australian casino group and New Gaming have initialized a 50/50 joint venture in a new company, Chill Gaming, which is already producing prototypes of the skill-based gambling machines.

The arcade-style electronic games will feature a mixture of winning conditions, with payouts determined by a player’s skill, as well as chance. Such devices have already made their way onto the gaming floors of casinos in other markets, most notably in the US.

Ken Barton, Chief Financial Officer for Crown, commented on the future prospects of skill-based gambling in Australia.

“Skill-based gaming is an interesting concept that is getting traction in a number of markets. It is a reaction to the emergence of games that are different to traditional games,’’ said Barton.

“We have got prototypes developed,” he confirmed,. The CFO noted that the new variety of skill-based gaming machines should be ready for demonstration “at gaming shows that are coming up over the next few months”.

If all goes as planned, Crown could be ready to roll out the new gaming machines at its Australia casinos as early as 2018. However, legal restrictions could push that timeline much farther back.

Skill-Based Gambling Dependent On Regulatory Approval?

When these new skill-based gaming machines first appeared in the United States, it was several years after the first prototypes were demonstrated. The problem was that state regulations were not capable of licensing them for installment.

Legislators first had to amend the existing gambling laws to make way for such revolutionary machines—after being convinced of their value on the gaming floor. Then the games had to undergo rigorous testing to ensure they complied with those new laws.

There’s every chance that—unless Chill Gaming is working to manufacturer these games to meet existing regulatory demands—the same process will have to take place in Australia. If that’s the case, it could be well beyond 2018 before skill-based gambling makes its way onto the floors of Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne casinos.

Will Skill-Based Gaming Catch On?

The whole purpose of delivering a new genre of casino games that incorporate a player’s skill is to attract the younger generation of potential gamers to the casino floor. We call them Millennials, and they are unlike any previous generation of casino goers. They grew up on action-packed, graphically rich PC and video games, and often require a more immersive, interactive experience to get their attention.

New Jersey (USA) was the first jurisdiction to regulate, license and install these types of devices in several Caesars-owned Atlantic City casinos. They had high hopes for them, but after a few months of trial-runs, Caesars elected to have the machines removed. Not only did they fail to draw many players, they were costing the casinos a lot more to have them than they were generating in profits. In the end, the casinos lost millions.

Gaming establishments in California have seen more success with skill-based gambling by delivering an elevated social experience. Many variation allow players to compete against one another in 2-to-4-player games, with the casino taking a cut of the wagers, more akin to a poker rake than a banked casino game.