Slot machines set for evolution

The slot machine as we know it, the most popular game in casinos throughout the world, is set to evolve as slot machine manufacturers and casinos seek to widen its appeal and attract a new generation of players.

Since its invention in the 1890’s by Charles Fey, the slot machine’s design and concept has changed relatively little. Most slot players are of the older generation and usually female but a new concept is expected to attract the younger market.

Slot games are being developed that will be skill-based and require an element of interaction – some will even have a joystick. It is hoped that the new concept in the ubiquitous machine will keep the younger crowd interested for longer and perhaps to a larger extent, stimulate an interest.

As an example of the direction the industry is going, Las Vegas-based slot machine developer Bally Technologies and the video game company Atari have signed a deal to develop a series of skill-based slot machines.

The younger crowd, who will tend to have a higher disposable income, spend less time in the casinos than the older players.

"Younger players come to town to party," said George Maloof Jr., president of the Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort

"They drink, they go to nightclubs, they go to the after-hours clubs, they check out the pool for the scene there. Gambling in general is not high on their agenda."

Even though slot machines are responsible for nearly 75 per cent of the revenue generated by American casinos, the industry is aware that the machine must progress to remain at the forefront.

"With all the growth going on, every casino has to bring in new players or we'll see a drop in everyone's market share," said Frank Legato, managing editor of Global Gaming Business, a trade journal.

"It's critical to keep bringing new players into casinos rather than recycle those who are already there."

That view is echoed by Rob Bone, marketing director for WMS Gaming, one of the top slot manufacturers, who said: "We can't just make a slot thinking about the 55-year-old lady who comes to the casino a few times a month. We need to appeal to new buckets of players, or we'll die."

Editor, - 2007-12-10 11:07:48

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