Skill-based casino games developer GameCo has launched its video game gambling machines (VGM) in its second US state.
This week saw the launch of GameCo VGMs at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. The move marks GameCo’s first product launch in a casino outside Atlantic City and its first launch with a US tribal gaming operator.
GameCo has installed two triple-unit VGM carousels in “high traffic, prominent locations” in the Fox Tower casino. The machines offer two GameCo titles, the Match-3 game Pharaoh’s Secret Temple and the basketball-themed Nothin’ but Net.
Foxwoods CEO Felix Rappaport hailed skill-based electronic gaming as “the next generation of gaming” and said the GameCo partnership was further evidence of Foxwoods’ commitment to offering something to appeal to every visitor.
GameCo CEO Blaine Graboyes credited Foxwoods for embracing the opportunity to offer guests this “new type of gaming entertainment.” Graboyes said the target demographic for GameCo’s VGM was the 23m gamers over 21 years of age, who represent “the top percentile of household income” and enjoy both video games and brick-and-mortar casinos.
GameCo first launched its VGM titles in Caesars Entertainment’s three Atlantic City casinos last November but the company ended up removing the 21 VGMs from the casino floor six months later.
The Associated Press quoted Caesars senior VP Melissa Price at this week’s East Coast Gaming Congress saying the VGMs were removed because they weren’t generating enough revenue to cover GameCo’s vendor fees. Price said the experience hadn’t soured Caesars on the concept of skill-based games and the company would deploy future games as they were developed. Caesars is currently offering Gamblit Gaming’s skill-based games at select casinos in Nevada and California.
GameCo’s VGM are still in operation at Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino, offering all three current GameCo titles, including the first-person shooter game Danger Arena.
In April, Graboyes wrote an op-ed in Global Gaming Business magazine titled “The Case for Incremental Revenue.” Graboyes admitted that most skill-based games offered a slower player pace, and thus it was only natural that most of them “may not achieve [win per unit per day] similar to the highest-grossing slots.”
Graboyes suggested that the optimal strategy for casino operators would be to replace older, underperforming slots with skill-based games. This will help the casino floor attract “net new players” in a younger demographic with an established track record of spending money on non-gaming amenities, while avoiding traditional slots like the plague.
At least, that’s the theory. But as Caesars’ experience demonstrates, the appeal of skill-based games is proving trickier to forecast.