You’ve already heard this before but casino operators in Las Vegas are trying to increase gambling revenue by changing rules and odds so they can squeeze every penny from a shrinking customer base.
Meanwhile, casino gambling is available all over the country so it isn’t quite as special to Las Vegas anymore. I’m not going to get into that again, you can read about it in my article from a couple of weeks ago.
Gambling in Las Vegas is different today and it’s going to be very different tomorrow. It almost feels as though we’ve been in-between eras of great gambling and the future of gambling for the past five years. The rules of the old games are changing while casino operators are looking for something (anything!) that will attract younger gamblers.
Why younger gamblers? Because they’re not set in their ways and are open to new experiences. Experienced gamblers may already have found what they like and stick to those games. I have peers that will only play craps, 3:2 blackjack, and video poker and will never try a new game unless the house edge is less than those games. In other words, they won’t play anything else.
There’s nothing wrong with customers looking for the best games - we should always look for a low house edge. However, casino operators are looking for recreational players willing to play a game with a higher house edge.
Welcome new games into and around the casino. Don't be fooled by casino marketing, even skill-based games and contests may have a larger house edge than the best old casino games. However, the games are new and might be more interesting than what you'll find in a casino today. Here are some new games you may find in and around Las Vegas casinos the next time you visit.
Skill Based Contests
The Level Up gaming lounge at MGM Grand has a unique golf game for anyone to reserve and play. Golfstream is similar to a golf simulator but is much more than driving, chipping and putting on flat ground. This game has lasers, changing putting greens and more. I can’t do the product justice. Check out this demo from last year below to get a better idea.
MGM Resorts has been pro-active creating contests where winners are paid at Level Up. Their most recent contest was with Golfstream and previously they’ve had video game contests where top scores were paid. As I am writing this, I just received a press release for a cornhole contest being held at The Linq this summer.
Don’t sleep on your golf, video game, and cornhole skills - they could make you some money in Las Vegas. These contests don’t offer life-changing prizes yet but if that could change as the game evolves. If nothing else, these skill-based contests are more interesting than slot machine tournaments where you sit and hit the spin button for 5 minutes.
Skill Based Casino Gambling
Don't confuse this with the skill-based contests - these are casino games that incorporate skill. The current versions are either based on video games or traditional casino games. Planet Hollywood is currently testing a couple of games from Gamblit Gaming called Cannonbeard’s Treasure and Gamblit Poker on their casino floor that are based on blackjack and poker, respectively.
These are low limit games that start at $2 and have four seats. The casino takes a rake and the player’s win money based on their skill versus the other players. If the field trials go well the games will be placed at The Linq and Caesars Palace. Even though these are machine games they are more social casino games than traditional single player slot machines. More on this in a second.
GameCo is another skill-based gaming manufacturer. Their games are intended for individual players and based on video games. These games are being tested in markets outside of Las Vegas but could be introduced if the Gamblit games take off.
You’ll currently find free social games in Suzo Happ tables (those tables at The Mirage that look like giant iPads) at many MGM Resorts casino bars and sportsbooks. While they’re fun to play while having a drink, I think Scientific Games is on to an idea that will incorporate this technology with gambling.
Prizm GameTables are more social than slot machines and can be located in more interesting locations than traditional table games. Prizm offers table games and slot machine games that have been “gamified” to fit the loungy vibe of the tables.
This table doesn’t stray too far from either traditional gaming experience. The games will have a typical casino house edge and offer something new to recreational gamblers - advantage players won't find much interest in this.
However, if you like a little extra action while hanging out this could provide a few minutes of fun. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat at The Mirage sportsbook drinking a beer while wishing I could wager a few bucks on fake Frogger or fake Androids. Expect to see this soon. Check it out their demo.
Esports Contests And Gambling
The world is crazy about esports because it’s a way to connect with younger customers. Las Vegas doesn't seem to have any idea what to do with esports, but they want in on the revenue it could provide. Casinos are hosting major and minor esports contests. Some contests are national with final rounds in Las Vegas while there are smaller contests held fully in Las Vegas.
Downtown Grand, Silver Sevens and the Millennial esports Arena all host regular tournaments. Luxor will be transforming LAX nightclub into the first esports venue on the Vegas Strip next year. Mandalay Bay and others have hosted larger events over the years.
William Hill is taking wagers on some of the larger esports contests around the country. They don’t book every event yet but they’re first to market here. There could be some good money if you know how to handicap the larger esports teams. Time will tell how Las Vegas will take to esports. The current model seems as though esports contests are just an excuse to get young people in the door and generate revenue in other parts of the casino. Sounds a lot like how some casino operators treat their sportsbook.
Electronic Table Games And Stadium Gaming
These kind of games aren’t new to casinos but they’re beginning to explode in Las Vegas. You’ll find a variety of table games (blackjack, baccarat, roulette) that are either dealt by machines to a handful of players or by dealers to large groups.
These games have grown in popularity for a host of reasons. Casino operators often have these games available to replace dealer games with low limits. You’ll typically find games between $1 and $5 so you can get some gambling action for just a few bucks. This appeals to low rollers who don’t want to spend more money than they might have to with higher limits games. The casino operators like them because they reduce expenses.
Younger recreational gamblers enjoy the Electronic Table Games because they’re less imposing than sitting down at a traditional table game. There’s not much more annoying than having plays scrutinized by other players. Electronic Table Games aren’t isolated like slot machines but they’re not quite as social as traditional tables. This is a decent combination for newer players.
Casino operators and gaming manufacturers are always looking for casino games that appeal to a new generation. Some of these ideas might work while others likely won't.
Casino operators could offer better versions of the traditional casino games so that money last longer and players have more fun.
Nah, that's probably too simple.