Skill-Based Slot Machines could arrive in Atlantic City next week

Skill-Based Slot Machines coming to Atlantic City via GameCoTalk of bringing skill-based slot machines onto the gaming floors of land-based casino has been circulating for more than a year now. Although Nevada was the first to pass a law permitting the installation of these skillful arcade slots, it now looks like New Jersey will be the first to reach the finish line as 3 Atlantic City casinos could be hosting these new games as early as next week.

Three Caesars Entertainment-owned property’s – Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s – are poised to present their customers with Danger Arena, a new arcade style slot machine developed by New York-based GameCo in which a player’s odds of winning are determined not just by luck, but skill.

Danger Arena was designed to mimic today’s popular massive multiplayer online (MMO) games – the ones millennials grew up on and are often quite adept at playing. The arcade slots even use a standard controller, like those provided by console video gaming machines (XBox, PS4, etc). However, GameCo founder Blaine Garboyes admitted the gambling variation is a little more “cartoonish” than the more graphically intense and violent nature of MMOs like Call of Duty.

Danger Arena Arcade Slots Demo at G2E Las VegasA recent demo of the new skill-based slot machine in Las Vegas showed off the more skillful aspects of the title. While the base game plays like a standard slot machine, proffering the same odds as any other reel spinner, the bonus round is where the real action happens.

Either sitting or standing, players who reach the bonus round are given 45 seconds to shoot down a series of attacking robots. Garboyes confirmed that players must achieve 7 hits to break even, and will earn the maximum payout of 25x the triggering bet for destroying all 10 robots.

With a bet range of $0.25 up to $20 per spin, a highly skilled player can earn as much as $6.25 to $500 for skillfully eliminating all robots.

Atlantic City Gets First Crack at Arcade Slots

Having grown up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Mr. Garboyes said it was a sense of nostalgia that led him to seek out his first contract with regulators in New Jersey. “I spent my summers going to the Boardwalk and the arcades,” he explained.

It makes sense economically that Atlantic City casinos would be the chosen to debut these new skill-based slot machines, as well. The gambling industry in New Jersey has struggled immensely, experiencing a more than 50% decline in revenue over the last 10 years, largely attributed to growing competition in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In the last few years alone, the city lost 4 of its 12 casinos, with another scheduled to shutter its doors and windows next month. By installing these new machines, regulators hope that the Atlantic City casinos will be able to attract millennials to their gaming floors and bring revenue back above sea level.

Regulatory Approval Pending

NJ’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck, who’s been one of the strongest supporters the movement towards skill-based slot machines, confirmed on Tuesday that his team is already reviewing GameCo’s application in Trenton.

“The division has been actively encouraging the industry to submit innovative products, and we are glad to have the opportunity to review GameCo’s skill-based game through our New Jersey First program,” said Rebuck.

“That program allows products that are submitted to our technical services lab before any other jurisdiction and that meet our high regulatory standards to get out onto the casino floor expeditiously,” he explained.

Garboyes said Danger Arena is just the first of many more arcade slots to come from GameCo. The company intends to release more titles each month, including fighting, racing, adventure and other themes, once they receive approval from the DGE.

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