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2017 GLOBAL GAMING EXPO (G2E): The Story Behind the Story

by Nicholas G. Colon

Nicholas Colon is a long time advantage player and cofounder of the casinomegastore.com, the largest online gaming lifestyle store on the web.

Every October the casino gaming community converges in Las Vegas to display their newest ideas, with the hopes that their products will overtake the gaming industry and be the next big thing in gaming. Few, if any, of these products make it pass the initial casino trial phase. This year's conference was no different.

In 2017 we are seeing G2E attendees continuing to build on the initial foundation of skill-based gaming presented at the 2016 G2E. More importantly, they are learning from their missteps experienced on their initial roll out.

There were a few growing pains that skill based slot gaming companies experienced over the past year. The introduction of the "first person shooter" seemed to be a natural fit for millennial players. They had playing games like Call of Duty and HALO for years. The factors that were erroneously over looked were:

  • the speed of the game and
  • the available gambling dollars that this desired demographic has avaiable.

For these games, the forgotten variables were a very fast playing speed and not players that don't have very many dollars to spend on the game. Players in first person shooter games, like Halo, are accustomed to having infinite ammo, and because the slot games are based on a one reel spin for every pull of the trigger, the approach caused players to burn through their bankroll very quickly. This eliminated the value and time on device proposition for the player.

Another aspect that was overlooked by the game developers was unfamiliarity of new games. Gamblit Gaming introduced a few table-top bar games in 2016. Many of these games were not familiar to the public, and consequently, little interest was given to them by players. The internet offers a great opportunity for players to become familiar with a new gaming concept. To combat the unfamiliarity dilemma, we can likely see a major push in the free-to-play game market driven by social media.

One game that did not suffer from the unfamiliarity dilemma that launched at the 2017 G2E was the slot game Casino Solitaire. For years I've heard rumors that Las Vegas casinos had offered a gambling version of the classic game Solitaire. Most of the internet rumors orbited around the ideology that "a friend of a friend of my mailman saw it once, years ago." I was never able to substantiate the rumors, and more importantly, I was never able to locate a photograph of the game being played at a casino; however, whether or not it was ever available in a casino no longer matters.

Casino Solitaire has been developed by the innovative casino gaming company Solitairus. It is now being offered as a skilled-based game for monetary play online at casinosolitaire.com and will be a part of the new suite of games offered by the cutting edge online game development company CyberGaming.co, and will hopefully be available in land-based casinos in the not too distant future. "With over 2 billion games of solitaire being played on PC's across the globe, we think solitaire is a natural fit for the real money gaming space," says Danielle Benham, Director of Operations at CyberGaming.co.

All of this has been made possible after Solitairus was able to get their math models supported and approved by gaming regulators, meaning the best possible return to players on the game of solitaire is being offered. The approved idea went on to be protected by Industrial Patent US8,721,415,B2, and Design Patent US D713,469.

In addition to skill-based gaming, the gaming industry is gearing up for the legalization of online sports betting in the United States. The positive court decision is expected to come down in June of 2018, with full implementation occurring within six months of the decision. The market is expecting a massive increase in wagering, with a smaller average wager. Sports books are will have to implement apps and increase their technical support divisions.

The intro to skill-based wagering is intended to increase the value to the customer. Increasing the time on device proposition for the player is the primary objective. This is intended to create value for the player. However, in my view, the gaming industry, is working against itself because they are creating value on the games, while at the same time, deceasing value in other areas of the resort. Paying for parking and charging players for drinks come to mind, as well as charging a resort fee that is in the neighborhood of $30 a day. So the value proposition is a wash.

Casino resort companies will constantly say that their revenue is up, which is essentially true, but it needs to be evaluated in full context. In 2015, the gaming companies lost a cumulative total of approximately 660 million dollars, and that was less of a loss than the industry peak in 2008 where they lost approximately 7 billion dollars. The gaming companies combined scored a victory in 2016 when their combined total profit was around 1.5 million dollars. And in my opinion, the only reason it was this high was because companies started charging for parking, casino executives took major pay cuts, and the comps were greatly reduced, even to the point of charging customers for alcoholic drinks.

We have to understand the full story before making any assertions, and these facts put things in perspective. Casino gaming is in trouble and they are presenting facts in such a way that it puts a positive spin on their facts and figures. But if things were really in good shape then they would not have to spin their facts. Things need to change if gaming intends to survive.

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