Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Approving an Arcade-Style Gaming Machine Bill

Pennsylvania casinos are adding arcade-style gaming machines to their list of playable games. Rivers Casino is the latest brick-and-mortar casino to add “party pits” full of such games, in the hopes of attracting millennial-age gamblers.

Gamblit Gaming, a California-based casino digital games developer, has developed the game Smoothie Blast, which Pennsylvania casinos might soon feature. Smoothie Blast allows players to fill a blender full of fruity smoothie ingredients. If they fill the blender with the right combination of fruits in a short enough time frame, they win more cash.

Skill-Based Gaming Machines

The ability to increase the payout percentage with real strategy and skill is appealing to millennials. While a game like Smoothie Blast has a house edge, that amount given back to casinos can be mitigated with skillful play. That is expected to appeal to players between the age of 21 and 35, and thus generate more business for the casino.

Millennial Gaming Habits

Conventional wisdom holds that millennials — Americans who came of age after the start of the new millennium — do not play slot machines. A 2014 study showed that 60% of millennials who visited a Las Vegas Strip casino played the slots, while baby boomer generation players played at an 80% to 85% rate.

That research studied those who visited the casinos from across the United States, and therefore were much more inclined to try out the full range of casino games. The American Gaming Association released data which showed that only 2% of millennials preferred to play the slots, though players aged 21 to 35 represents the largest demographic visiting the casinos.

Dislike of Slot Machines

A variety of theories explain why millennials are not enthusiastic about slot machines. Marcus Yoder, the VP of Sales for Gamblit Gaming, suggests that slot machines are considered boring to the younger generation, because of the proliferation of technology.

Yoder said of millennials, “They’re so surrounded by awesome technology all the time that the concept of a slot machine is boring to them.

The game designer added, “Even though the slot machines that are out there are beautiful machines with fantastic graphics, it’s still the function of pressing a button and waiting to see what happens. And that’s just not interesting.

Others suggest that the boredom comes from knowing the game is “rigged” against them. A traditional slot machine has no skill or strategy, but instead allows on probability and random number generation to produce results.

Players can win, but only if they get lucky. That prospect bores millennials.

Pennsylvania Gaming Laws

To cater to their game preferences, the states of Nevada, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have allowed the introduction of skill-based slots. Pennsylvania is considering passing a similar law. It isn’t enough to allow arcade-style games which allow for an interactive game experience, but does not include skill. Decisions produce results, even if there is not a large degree of skill in the decision-making.

State Rep. George Dunbar, a Westmoreland County Republican who is sponsoring an arcade-style gaming machine bill for Pennsylvania, said that a new law is needed to maintain casinos’ profitability. Dunbar said of casinos, “They have to continue to reinvent themselves. One way to reinvent themselves is to find things the younger generation is used to and want to participate in.

Differences in Millennials and Baby Boomers

Research shows that other stark differences exist between the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennial generation. Shannon Redmond, VP of Marketing at Rivers Casino, said millennials look at a casino trip as a social endeavour. They go with a group of friends and socialize while they play.

Baby Boomers are a different matter. They might visit the casino by themselves and are just as likely to prefer the solitary experience of slots row as a social experience. Their need for socializing is a great deal more malleable.

Shannon Redmond to the Las Vegas Sun, “They have no problem coming to the casino by themselves. And they like the choice where they can say, ‘I want to sit at this slot machine and not talk to anybody. Or if I feel like being social today, I can talk to my neighbor.’

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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