In a push to draw new younger players into the industry from the vast millennial generation, the US states of New Jersey and Nevada are providing slot machines with payback percentages that vary according to the skill of the player. It’s a move fully supported by the American Gaming Association.
Temporary regulations to govern the manufacture and sale of skill-based gaming devices to Atlantic City’s eight casinos were posted last week by The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
In the US, just like Australia, Millennials vastly outnumber the baby boomers that now dominate the industry customer base. Millennials like competition and social interaction, and have shown no interest in the traditional slot machines. Manufacturers and operators have been trying to determine how to offer games similar to the smartphone games like “Candy Crush,” competitive video games and arcade-game experiences to which the younger generation is drawn.
Member suppliers of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers have been working with regulators in both states to determine what form skill games should take.
Under the New Jersey regulations announced last month, casinos and manufacturers will be required to prominently display messages informing players that the outcome of their wagers can be influenced by their physical or mental skills, rather than the pure chance of traditional slot machines.
The rules also maintain the 83 percent minimum return-to-player requirement of current New Jersey law—regardless of the skill of the player. Games under this category will offer a theoretical RTP percentage based on chance, and a maximum payback percentage based on the capabilities of the most skilled players. The rules also prohibit casinos from making the games harder or easier to win while a game is in progress, based on the perceived skill of the player.
Other rules include monitoring programs to guard against collusion or money laundering in multi-player peer-to-peer games.
The New Jersey skill rules mirror those adopted last year by Nevada regulatory authorities, so skill games are likely to be approved in both jurisdictions simultaneously.