Meet the ‘next generation’ casino slot machine

For the first time video gamers may be able to win money in a casino with their skllls. Skill based slot machines that offer the highest winnings to the best players are expected to come to Ceasar’s, Harrah’s and Bally’s casinos in Atlantic City this fall. All three are owned by Caesars Entertainment.

GameCo, the maker of the skill based casino games, says it’s just waiting for final approval from New Jersey gambling regulators. Once the green light is given the company plans to deploy three triple-unit carousels at Caesars, two at Harrah’s and two at Bally’s, with a total of 21 playing stations.

Titled “Danger Arena,” the games give the player a brief tutorial, make sure the customer knows how to use the controls and that they are working properly, and then presents the customer with a map, or game scenario. This scenario will vary randomly, and constitutes the element of chance or randomness that is the hallmark of traditional slot machines. It is then up to the player to maneuver through the playing field in 45-second increments.

“If you take out six or more robots, you’re in the money, and if you take out 10, you get the highest payout,” Graboyes said.

Each game also includes a secondary random winning opportunity, with a possible instant cash win ranging from $1 to $5,000, he added, so that even poorly skilled players have a chance at winning.

They are aimed squarely at millennials and those who like playing games on social media networks or on their phones, and who may be less inclined to play traditional push button slot machines.

The company is seeking licensing in Atlantic City through the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s New Jersey First program, which speeds approvals for new gambling products if they are introduced first in the resort town.

“We are glad to have the opportunity to review GameCo’s skill-based game through our New Jersey First program,” said DGE Director David Rebuck. “That program allows products that are submitted to our DGE Technical Services lab before any other jurisdiction and that meet our high regulatory standards to get out onto the casino floor expeditiously.”

GameCo is among several companies developing skill based games for casinos. Gamblit, a rival firm, plans to put similar machines in California and Nevada in October, also at Caesars-owned casinos.

Both companies are awaiting approval from gambling regulators in the respective states in which they hope to launch. Other manufacturers working on similar products include IGT and Nanotech Gaming.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.