Caesars withdraws skill-based casino games from Atlantic City

  • Caesars introduced skill-based casino games to attract millennial players
  • After a test period the machines are being removed as plans develop

In late 2016, Caesars introduced skill-based games to three of its casinos with great fanfare. The video game machines were trialled at several of the operator’s Atlantic City casinos with a view to rolling them out across its complete portfolio of sites if they proved a success.

caesars removes sill-based games
GameCo’s Danger Arena was one of the skill-based games launched by Caesars at its casinos

The verdict is now in and the games are being removed after the public appear to have not given them the attention that was originally anticipated.

Appealing to a new generation

It’s a marked turnaround compared to November of last year when the new technology was being hailed as the future of casino games.

It had been hoped that the skill-based games would lure in a new generation of gamblers, a generation that has eschewed casinos for stay-at-home entertainment like video games and online gambling.

GameCo was the developer whose innovative new skill-based games were introduced to Caesars in the hope of bridging that gap and enticing that lost generation.

Players, however, appear to have been eschewing the skill-based games for more traditional casino offerings. It’s been a rapid turnaround compared to when the games were introduced so optimistically back in November and billed as a new way of gambling that included titles like GameCo’s Danger Arena, a first person shooter.

Caesars didn’t want to remove the 21 gaming stations it installed in Harrah’s Resort, Caesars and Bally’s, but with the terminals failing to generate enough revenue to cover vendor fees, it was left with little choice than to temporarily take away the games.

A big learning experience

Although it would be easy to call the experiment a failure, it would be foolish to jump to conclusions. Caesars hasn’t given up on the concept of skill-based gameplay, believing it to be a viable way of reaching out to millennials whose interest in casinos is markedly lower than that of previous generations.

The reasons behind this are varied, but include the ease of online gambling and competition from video games, which have long been the go-to form of entertainment for many millennials.

Reflecting on the project, Melissa Price, senior vice president of gaming enterprise for Caesars Entertainment, said: “We all understood that we were learning and experimenting. It was a big learning experience for all of us. People have to come find the games in a sea of 1,500 slots. If I put a game in the middle of the sea of slots, it just looks the same. Potential players just walk right past.”

Although millennials are still visiting traditional gambling strongholds such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, they are wagering less than ever. For casino giants such as Caesars seeking to identify new revenue streams, the quest to tap into the lucrative millennial demographic continues.

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