A survey released by Las Vegas-based skill-based game maker Synergy Blue shows that video gamers can be turned into gamblers with the right slot games.
As part of a report, “The Rise of the Gaming Gambler,” which was created by 104 West for Synergy Blue, an online survey took in the the opinions of more than 1,000 gambling consumers.
According to the results, which will be released Thursday, there’s a growing trend toward the use of thought, skill and intuitive playing as the key drivers of game engagement. An emerging generation of gamblers are influenced by arcade, video and mobile games and look for a more engaging gambling experience, according to the findings.
If casino gambling machines were more like video, arcade or mobile games, 63 percent of those surveyed said they would spend more time playing the games. Also, 79 percent of gamblers said if casino games were more like video, arcade or mobile games, they would be more likely to play inside casinos.
The underpinning is that 84 percent of gamblers said that if a game requires more thought, strategy or skill to play, they have or might have a better chance of winning. That in turn leads to more frequent game play and longer playing times.
Synergy Blue CEO Georg Washington said the findings should be encouraging to skill-based game makers. The sector is still in its infancy and trying to gain wider acceptance in the casino industry that wants to appeal to a new generation of slot players.
“As always, perception is everything, and we’re finding that this is increasingly true in gambling,” Washington said. “In a chance-based world, players want gaming qualities that make them feel like they have some control. The ability to think, make choices, and get better at a game over time not only offers more engaging play and longer playing times, but it increases the very powerful perception that the odds are shifting in their favor, which further increases engagement and play. Bringing the gaming experience into gambling is the key to emerging generations of gamblers, the gaming gambler.”
The perception of winning in gambling is a strong influencer for people to play. Washington said that aspect will become even more of “a driving force” to bring in the next generation.
“If it has some thought and skill into it, they feel like they have a better chance of winning,” Washington said. “It’s nothing new to the gaming industry. We’re trying to entice that new generation. There are so many slot machines out there, and they’re not going anywhere. The new generation may not totally be interested in slot machines but may be interested in (skill-based) because 93 percent of them have played arcade, video or mobile games.”
Synergy Blue published a report in 2018 on casino operators that found 67 percent of casino executives thought skill-based games could help appeal to a new generation of gamblers.
Washington said the survey can help educate the market and shed light on what that next generation is seeking. The survey reinforces that demographics are shifting, but not necessarily from an age standpoint.
“There’s a market for what we are doing, and we don’t want to underestimate the video game generation and how that’s going to impact us,” Washington said. “As we adapt and move forward as an industry, we can definitely capture that market. We have a very positive outlook. We have been approached by numerous properties. There are challenges but we’re working together to find the right mix and make it a better gaming form.”
The survey found the modern gambler may not require as much instruction as previously thought, with 77 percent saying that if a casino game resembled an arcade game, they would understand how to play.
The same survey also found that table games were perceived by gamblers as the most exciting games to play due to the ability to make choices. Players improve over time and there is an increased chance of winning. Washington said those surveyed wanted to see these qualities replicated in slot machines.
Increased play in both live table games and electronic table games “also reinforces that critical thinking and skill and social aspect,” Washington said. “We brought in that table game aspect to the survey because we see a lot of similarities between skill-influenced games and table games.”
Synergy Blue, which relocated to Las Vegas from Southern California this summer, has products and applications in six countries. The company plans to launch field trial of several games in three Nevada casinos. It also plans to announce the introduction of new games before next month’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. The company has 19 titles to date.