We have all read the news stories, explaining how some kid became rich overnight by winning a Fortnite competition or got plucked from obscurity to earn a place on a top eSports team. Yet, as it turns out, the massive casino operators of Las Vegas and the online world have been watching the popularity of competitive video gaming and thinking they can get in on the action themselves.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and the idea of bringing video games to casinos is essentially being thought up to attract millennials to casinos. Companies like Synergy Blue have been busy creating skill games for casinos, and some of the prototypes have already been made available on casino floors and been popping up at conventions.
Poker and Blackjack Already Require Skill
Of course, casino fans would argue that skill games already exist at casinos, both online and at resorts. For example, have you ever played live Hold’em Poker at a casino site? It’s real poker game played with live dealers and real cards, using just as much ‘skill’ as sitting in a real poker room. Blackjack, too, could be argued as a skill game, although it’s harder to make the case for games like roulette and slots.
Yet, casinos want to tap into a market that will attract fans of video games, and that means that there will be a shift away from the cards, dice games and slot machines. So, how is it going to work? Well, it’s about a bit more than running competitions on Mario Kart of Mortal Kombat. Companies like Synergy Blue offer what they term “skill-influenced” games, meaning that being adept will influence the outcome in your favour but not necessarily guarantee the win.
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As the idea gets more traction, there will invariably be more revenue models floated by casinos. For instance, you could have simple tournament games where the casino takes a fee for hosting – similar to the way the rake works in poker or how fantasy sports sites earn their money. You could also envisage business models with which the players control all of the pot, but money is earned through advertising revenue. The latter might be the option if casinos want to introduce versus the house skill games.
Playing Pac-Man For Cash
The good news for video gaming fans is that many of your favourite games could be played competitively. For example, another company behind skill games, Gamblit Gaming, has launched a Pac-Man casino game. Made for between 2-4 players, the game looks and feels like the 80s arcade classic, with the main exception of cash prizes being doled out to the winner.
There are many plans for these types of growth in terms of their ambition. And, it might not be long until we see epic skill casino games that resemble the worlds of Call of Duty, Fortnite or World of Warcraft. The ambition, technology and the will to create these games is there, so it’s just a matter of working out the revenue models. Moreover, you can expect some push back from regulators over licensing and legal issues, which can always be difficult when it comes to the legal definition of skill games and games of chance.
Regardless, this area looks like it will define the casino industry in the 2020s. So, before you head off for that bachelor party in Las Vegas, you might want to hone your Pac-Man skills first if you want to head home with some money in your pocket.