As gaming industry executives gather in Las Vegas for Global Gaming Expo this week, the casino industry is dealing with several crucial issues.
From creating skill-based games to attract a younger demographic into the casino, to legalizing sports betting nationwide.
Then there is the controversial issue of whether playing daily fantasy sports online for money is gambling.
“Kudos to those who have created daily fantasy sports,” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, told KNPR’s State of Nevada. “They have obviously tapped into a very interested market. They have created a unique product that has captivated peoples’ interest.”
But Freeman cautioned that from the AGA’s point of view, these games were gambling.
“Our point of view is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck,” Freeman said. “And in the case of daily fantasy sports there is a lot of it that might look like gambling.”
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 56.8 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada, which they describe as a game of skill. An argument the gaming industry has made in its pursuit to open more U.S. markets to online poker.
Freeman asked whether the industry was “asking for the government to come in and regulate this product when there currently isn’t any money being make in terms of profit?”
He said what the gaming industry will be asking for, most importantly, is that if daily fantasy sports is legal “then the casino industry should be able to provide it.”
Another hot topic at G2E, which is being held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, is the introduction of skill-based slot machines on to the casino floor.
The idea is to attract millennials, who are willing to spend money on clubs and restaurants, to drop a few more dollars in to the casino.
“I’m very interested and intrigued like many are with this concept of skill-based games,” Freeman told KNPR. “I don’t think it is a secret that the slots that have been made in previous years while they still resonate with one part of our audience, they don’t tend to resonate with the younger member of our audience.”
Freeman said the slot industry is diversifying.
Konami Gaming Inc. is already developing so-called skill-based casino games, but it’s also using G2E to launch its Frogger slot machine.
“Frogger has remained one of the world's most singularly recognizable video games for more than 30 years, and players have the chance to experience their favorite Frogger features with a real-money casino spin,” Matt Reback, vice president of marketing at Konami, said.
Reback told KNPR the company decided to release the new slot machine in an effort to try and help their operators attract some new customers.
“We are trying to diversify the products that we have,” Reback said.
Geoff Freeman, president and CEO, American Gaming Association; Matt Reback, vice president of marketing, Konami Gaming.
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