New Jersey Approves Video Gambling Machine (VGM) Gambling for GameCo and Caesars Entertainment
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement approved the New York-based GameCo, Inc. to become the first skill-based slot machine designer to place gaming machines in Atlantic City. The plan is for GameCo to deploy skills slots in the Caesars Entertainment’s three casinos: Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Atlantic City, and Bally’s Atlantic City.
With licensing now complete from the DGE, the skill slot machine could be places in any of the casinos starting on Monday. The machines are called VGMs, which stand for “video gambling machine”. GameCo recently debuted their VGMs at the Global Gaming Expo 2016 in Las Vegas.
Blaine Graboyes Speaks
Recently, Blaine Graboyes of GameCo said, “Fall is gearing up to be a pivotal time for GameCo, first with the impending launch of our VGM in Atlantic City, as well as our participation at G2E. The debut of our VGM on casino floors will be an historic first step in the evolution of slot gaming.”
Skill slots are designed to attract millennials, who do not enjoy traditional slot machines as much as previous generations. The millennial generation grew up playing video games and online games which feature a high degree of skill, so they are less interested in slots, because they have no strategy or skill component.
Graboyes said of Caesars Entertainment’s embrace of VGMs, saying the casino sector is “an industry that is adapting for a new generation of players.”
Readers might be wondering what VGMs are, so here’s a brief overview of this form of gaming.
What Are Video Gambling Machines (VGMs)?
Video gambling machines are slot machines in which the player’s skill determines the payout. VGM content runs on existing slot platforms and has the same return-to-play as slots. They are designed for single player and multiplayer worlds, but they have many features you wouldn’t find in a traditional slot machine.
A VGM allows for single-player games against the house. The player bets on their video game skill at racing, fighting, first-person action, sports, platformers, classic 80’s style video games, and puzzle games. GameCo slots offer everything from multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) gaming, first-person shooters (FPS), hidden object (HDN OBJ) games, and Match 3 games. Payouts are based on a pay table, while a leaderboard tracks your progress.
Legal standards now allow for skill gaming and GameCo has devised games which comply with New Jersey gaming law. GameCo claims it is trying to prepare people for the next generation of gaming: the video game casino.
The “Tri-Pod” VGM Carousel debuted at G2E from September 27 to September 29 at the Sands Exp in Las Vegas. The exhibit was called the Integrated Resort Experience. Blaine Graboyes, the CEO of GameCo, took part in a seminar called “eSports and Casinos: The Coming Collision“, which discussed the topic of skill-based slots machines.
Two other exhibitions featured the new GameCo technology: the Suzo-Happ Booth and the Danger Arena Demo by Quixant. Quixant is a PC-based computer system manufacturer which helped in the design of “Danger Arena”. Suzo-Happ is the company which designed the video gambling machine’s game controller.
About GameCo Inc.
GameCo Inc. or gco.gg was founded in 2015 to be a pioneering company in uniting slot machines with video games. Executives from Scientific Games and IGT are a part of the company, which raised $8.25 million in seed money on September 22, 2016 to further develop their games. Investors in Series A include Javelin Venture Partners, Courtside Ventures, New York Venture Partners, New York Angels, QB1 Ventures, and Steel Partners Holdings L.P.
The game designers behind GameCo’s skill slots have worked for award-winning producers like Blizzard Entertainment, Dreamworks, WarGaming, The World Series of Video Games, and Ubisoft.
Danger Arena is the first game produced by GameCo, and Danger Arena Slots is expected to be the game which players can enjoy in the Caesars, Harrah’s, and Bally’s casinos in Atlantic City.
Danger Arena Preview
Steve Bourie of the Casino Gambling Guide recently interviewed Blaine Graboyes. The resulting YouTube video (taken down) features Danger Arena, so readers can get a glimpse of the world’s first legal skill-based slot machines. Viewers seemed to complain that the frame rate was too slow and it only had the illusion of being skill-based, but that was a consensus based on a few minutes of video and no gameplay.
The game has a ruggedized game controller fit for casino gaming. The game box features three games, though all three consoles are independent of one another. Players choose one of seven different bet amounts: $0.50, $1.00, $2.00, $3.00, $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00.
How Danger Arena Works
In Danger Arena, a player has to take out 6 bots in a round to be paid out. If you take out ten, then you’ll win big money. The game allows for power-up pays, which are another way to up the wager.
The characters in the game are Baz, Thyme, and Pepper the Dog. They are shown in the short introduction in a graphic novel format. Players can choose whether to play Baz or Thyme, while offering a Level 0 tutorial.
Blaine Graboyes says that the math model at the core of the game produces new maps at the beginning of each round. Some of these are easier and some are harder. Graboyes suggests these are like the deal of the cards in blackjack or some other card game — sometimes, the odds are weighted in your favor and sometimes not.
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