Enthusiasm wanes for skill-based games in European casinos

  • Skill-based casino games introduced as a way to attract millennials to casinos
  • Some European operators seem unsure of the whether they will achieve this

The days of skill-based casino games could be numbered, despite those days scarcely having started. It has been reported by Gambling Compliance that European casino bosses have come to the conclusion that it’s not economically viable to incorporate skill-based slots into their premises as they don’t provide a sufficient return on investment.

European skill-based games casino

This is a similar pattern to that which has been experienced across the Atlantic, where casinos in New Jersey and Las Vegas have recently removed a number of skill-based casino games from their establishments.

Attracting millennial players

The concept of skill-based games was supposedly based around a desire to get more millennials into casinos. They’re a demographic who’ve traditionally shunned land-based casinos, preferring to get their kicks by gambling online or video gaming.

Skill-based slots were intended to bridge the gap between video games and casino games. The technology was trialled in the US initially, but despite high hopes for the skill-based games, a number of operators eventually shuttered the trial, deeming the ROI to be less than the cost of leasing the terminals.

‘Sticking to core business’

Although the technology has yet to be widely trialled in Europe, it has been reported that the same consensus appears to be emerging: that skill-based games are an interesting concept but one that’s not quite ready to take casinos by storm.

“Skill-based slots are doomed to failure because they annoy gamers who don’t see why they should play their favourite game in a slots version and they disappoint gamblers who want to play a straightforward slot game and feel they are at a disadvantage,” said Simon Thomas, chief executive of Hippodrome Casino in London.

Other European casino operators have echoed that sentiment, averring that their priorities lie elsewhere. “I don’t think skill-based games are that important to us – we’re looking at other areas to see where we’re not attractive enough – I think we should be sticking to our core business,” says Eric Olders, CEO of Dutch casino JVH Gaming & Entertainment Group. “If you put skill-based elements into a bonuses that you play next to your neighbour it can become a bit more exciting, but in general it’s like putting table tennis tables into a casino – I don’t see that happening.”

Trying other innovations

Despite European casino operators passing on skill-based slots for now at least, that’s not to say they’re averse to innovating in an attempt to lure in a younger audience. Casinos Austria for instance have partnered with the country’s soccer league with a view to forming eSports teams within their premises.

Luring eSports fans into casinos is seen as a crucial step towards getting the next generation of gamblers interested in the land-based casino experience. Skill-based games might be on hold for now, but there’s every sign that European casinos will continue to innovate in other ways as they seek to bring in fresh blood.

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