Both slot machines and smartphone apps like Candy Crush and Words with Friends can be addicting for players. And the reasons why include that both types of gaming are simple to play, and they offer rewards (comps) to dedicated players.
But smartphone gaming is now the most-addictive type thanks to the fall of slot machine revenue. Data from the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers reveals that U.S. slot revenue has declined from its peak of $335 billion in 2007, to $291 billion in 2014.
One big reason for the decrease is that millennials, or those born from 1980 to 2000, have avoided slot machines like the plague. But as you'll find out below, slots makers are now emulating popular games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds in their quest to capture millennials' attention.
Gamblit Gaming is subscribing to the old adage "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" by creating slot machines that closely minim popular smartphone apps.
The company's latest games include Lucky Words (like Words With Friends), Slice of Cake (like Fruit Ninja), and Grab Poker (like Zynga Poker). These social gaming clones will hit Caesars Entertainment-owned casinos in the near future.
It seems like a desperate measure to merely copy popular social games and hope that millennials play. But Gamblit Gaming is counting on the app factor to draw young casino visitors' attention, and the gambling aspect to keep them hooked. As company VP Marcus Yoder puts it, they want to "gamblify" smartphone games and attract a new generation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, millennials aren't visiting casino resorts for the slot machines and other gambling. Instead, they spend money on food, drinks, nightclubs, and unique experiences.
But new slot machines, like those produced by Gamblit, will try to break this trend by adding skill to slot machines. The house will still retain an edge over players, but skill-based bonus rounds will give gamblers an opportunity to lower the house advantage.
An example that's been floated is using the Atari game Centipede, where you use a joystick and gun to blast alien invaders in the bonus. The more skilled you are at the shooting the aliens without getting blown up, the more slots credits you'll earn.
One interesting aspect of this all is that both casinos and mobile game developers rely on "whales," or big spenders who provide a large portion of business. In the case of app designers, they count on whales for 70% of their earnings. Now the question will be if casinos can attract some of these same whales by crossing with mobile gaming.