Vegas Looks to Video Games to Attract Younger Gamblers

By | 1 year ago 

Most modern gamers have done it: spending hours in what ultimately amounts to busy work, trying to track down the last few collectibles or pull off a particularly tricky stunt, all just for that inexplicably satisfying “Achievement Unlocked” notification. It’s a fleeting and ultimately pointless bit of carrot, but there’s something undeniably addictive about pushing a game toward 100% completion.

The best achievements at least require more skill than time. But what if all those hours spent clutching a controller could actually provide a more concrete reward than just a higher gamerscore?

After all, most players won’t be able to parlay all those hours spent gaming into a career as a pro. Even those who manage to find work related to their favorite pastime, for instance as a journalist or a game tester, soon discover that the work still involves a lot of, well, work. But now one of the entertainment capitals of the world is eager to embrace video gaming in a way that could actually put cash in players’ pockets….assuming they can beat the house.

The powers that be in Las Vegas have always been eager to find new ways to get people through the casino doors with their wallets open. As reported by The Day, now Nevada is looking at phasing in new arcade-style casino games that swap cards and dice for virtual assault rifles and race cars. It’s designed to entice millennials and others raised on video games, but who might not have any interest in traditional casino games such as slot machines or video poker. As Marcus Prater, executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, puts it, “It’s certainly not your father’s one-armed bandit anymore.” The AGEM pushed for a new Nevada law regulating this sort of skill-based casino game, and the law passed unanimously earlier this year.

The move is designed to combat declining gambling revenues in recent years, spurred by the fact that, while the younger crowd still frequents Sin City, they’re significantly less likely to gamble during their visits than earlier generations. Gambling revenue from Vegas casinos has slipped from $12.9 billion in 2007 to around $11 billion in 2014, with slot machines taking a whopping 20% hit in popularity.

Vegas Video Games -- New Vegas

According to a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority survey, “87 percent of visitors 70 to 90 years old gambled while visiting Vegas last year, compared to 78 percent of baby boomers (ages 51 to 69), and 68 percent of Generation X members (ages 35 to 50).” That steady drop with each succeeding generation has continued with the so-called “millennials,” in this case defined as people born after 1980. Only 63% of that prime demographic gambled during their Sin City excursions last year, according to the survey. Obviously, this isn’t a trend Vegas is happy about.

“The next wave of people aren’t going to stand there and play slots,” said Greg Giuffria. He and his son are a pair of game designers eager to carve out a piece of this new frontier, working to develop new Vegas games that mimic mainstream video games but with the added perk of being able to bet and win money on them. “The industry has to change or disappear,” added Giuffria. Certainly traditional Vegas attractions like card games and roulette aren’t going anywhere, but the statistics above definitely do suggest the casinos are going to have to think outside the box to get younger gamers’ attention…and their money.

Honestly, it’s kind of surprising it has taken Vegas this long to hop aboard the video-gaming bandwagon. Gaming is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with AAA games regularly surpassing Hollywood box office numbers by leaps and bounds. Pro gaming has evolved to the point that there are sponsorships and tournaments, and somebody had to coin the term “eSports.” If nothing else, the scent of all that money was bound to get Vegas’ attention eventually. And while video-game-style attractions in Vegas might not solve all the casino owners’ problems, there’s definitely a good chance the younger demos are more likely to put their money on the line for something that looks and plays like Call of Duty than a slot machine that just has “Call of Duty” written on the side of it.

Personally, I just wish Xbox Live would bring back 1 vs. 100. I never did win any of those prizes…

Source: The Day