Design + Technology Viewpoint: Skill-based Gaming

a group of people sitting around a table looking at a laptop

Is skill-based gaming really the answer for the next generation?

skill-based gaming

Casinos are looking for new ways to engage Millennials including new skill-based gaming. This past September regulations covering skill-based slot machines were approved by Nevada gaming regulators. New Jersey also put in place skill-based gaming laws.

Baby boomers and older gamblers have been cycling out of the casino revenue pool and the allure of the Vegas-style slots. Younger generations including Millennials are visiting Las Vegas but only 63% of them who visited last year gambled, preferring to spend their time by the pool, shopping, dining or in the clubs.

As designers, how do we make the casino experience meaningful and fun for this new generation who grew up with video games and arcades? A generation who has a different idea of entertainment?

What we do know about the Millennial born after 1980:
1. They are tech savvy
2. They want to gain satisfaction from their free time, not waste it
3. They want to be engaged and connected
4. They want to be recognized by their peers for their authenticity

Given this insight, we think that there are opportunities with Millennials that still need to be discovered that will draw them into the casino. Customer-centric organizations are using Design Thinking to simplify, humanize and reinvent their user experience.

Design Thinking focus on the experience:
1. Observes real people in daily environments to uncover patterns
2. Leverages multidisciplinary expertise
3. Provides ideas to be tested against Millennials’ emotions and aspirations
4. Enables simple prototyping and multiple iterations

The gaming industry needs to be reinvented – it’s not just about adding a skill angle on a flashy Electronic Gaming Machine. Young people today don’t want to be shoe-horned into an existing solution, but want to enhance their lifestyle. Other industries have reinvented their business models to meet new challenges.

Casino gaming can learn from:
1. Ford – looking to find the answer to the next car – beyond driverless vehicles
2. Products that moved to the cloud – music, movies, gaming
3. The sharing economy – reinventing ride-sharing, hotels and more

While skill-based gaming offers potential, it may not be the total answer. We need to do more to learn and understand the whole experience. Applying Design Thinking we can observe and see what will engage the new casino consumer and provide an entertaining, rewarding experience over future visits to Las Vegas.

By Charles Curbbun, Chief