Changes are coming to Las Vegas casinos. Over the recent four-day Global Gaming Expo slot makers showed off their next generation of games.
Gamblers still love time-tested games like Wheel of Fortune and Blazing Sevens.
But over the next few years, those traditional games of chance will be joined on the casino floor by games of skill that look like what your children play on their PlayStation or Xbox.
The question is - Will traditional slot machines be replaced by devices with themes similar to Space Invaders or Angry Birds?
Howard Stutz, gaming reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, told KNPR's State of Nevada that the new games may include a bonus round that requires skill, or they may look like the popular game Candy Crush.
However the games look, Stutz believes: "It will be a while" before the games are truly on the gaming floor.
Gaming executives are looking at more skill-based games as customers who grew up on video games and mobile-devices games become a bigger part of the gambling pie.
"The younger crowd... they don't play slot machines," Stutz explained, "They're boring. The slot machines they see on the casino floor are boring."
He said most of the younger crowd come to Las Vegas to go to the nightclubs and restaurants, which is why so many more non-gaming amenities are being offered. Gambling is secondary.
However, Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, told KNPR's State of Nevada that many gamblers don't move to slot machines until they are older.
"I think the industry is panicking a little about millennials," Gros said. "Every generation until now have become slot players at about 40 years old."
He doesn't see a reason why the millennials won't do the same thing.
Jeffrey Compton, the publisher for CDC Gaming Reports, said there is a risk of focusing too much on millennials.
"You do not want a core audience to ever feel that they are no longer number one," he said.
He said putting in a few games for younger players is one thing, but changing the music too much, for example, can risk running off the core customer.
Compton also said that it's not just customers but people working in casinos who will determine the speed at which the new technology will move forward.
"Casino owners and operators and managers still have to be primarily sold on this entire function," he said.
Gros believes many casinos and game manufacturers are focusing on skill-based games so they stay ahead of the trend.
"I think everybody is trying to get ahead of the curve here," Gros said. "They want to be able to attract these millennials when and if they do come to the casino floor"
The other problem with trying to implement these games, according to Gros, is that the gaming industry does not have a great record of embracing skill-based games.
"It's just not in the casino's DNA to encourage skill gaming in the casino," Gros said.
Everyone believes while skill-based games are coming, it will be more of an evaluation rather than a dramatic shift.
"It is going to take awhile for these types of games to really take off here on the floor," Stutz said. "One thing I know about this industry, it's very slow to embrace technology."
Howard Stutz, gaming reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Jeffrey Compton, publisher, CDC Gaming Reports; Roger Gros, publisher, Global Gaming Business
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