G2E offered look at casino games, eSports of future

G2E offered look at casino games, eSports of future

October 10, 2017 3:10 AM


While the recently concluded G2E conference expectedly spent material time on the subjects of potential unfettered sports betting, the opportunities for eSports and continuing evolution of skill-based games there was not enough attention paid to the notion of how the industry should credibly, easily and effectively market eSports and skill-based games.

Casinos are very good at drawing people to their properties via themes, market stature, creature comforts, shows, clubs and dining experiences, however they are not really very good at guiding or pushing customers to particular new gaming activities. Most casino marketing is based on pulling customers into the property and pushing the games the customers have shown a prior preference for, not finding new customers or pushing new gaming events.

eSports and skill-based games are often touted as for the members of the Millennial Generation who grew up on interactive video game platforms such as Xbox and PlayStation. For those not familiar, eSports is the concept of treating individuals and/or teams playing a video action adventure or game against each other as a sport ala football, baseball or basketball, except the eSports participants use keyboards, video screens and finger dexterity rather than traditional physical talents.

Similarly skill-based gaming is designed around the concept that the customer can use their own physical skill or mental dexterity to improve their chances of winning on slot-style games rather than simply hitting the spin button as done on a traditional slot game.

In eSports the casino’s revenue opportunities are in three basic areas: 1) Treat eSports the same as traditional sports and take bets on the potential winner, 2) Host eSports competitions and take a percentage for hosting them, similar if you will to poker tournaments, and 3) Host events and sell tickets, getting revenue from the retail activities by the viewers and participants.

With skill-based games the casino’s revenue opportunities come from banking the play of the customers and receiving a mathematical percentage, similar to existing slot machines, or receiving a percentage/rake for providing games where the players are paired against each other.

Of the two, eSports is more widely recognized as millions of people play or watch eSports on a daily basis, whereas skill-based games will require more extensive player education. While there are opportunities for casinos to facilitate eSports in their sportsbooks both for betting and playing, skill-based games in some forms will require dedicated areas and in other forms require space on the traditional slot floor.

Though there are components of the gambling public that will try anything most gamblers are loath to risk serious money on activities they have little or no knowledge of.

Though there was no lack of products available for both the eSports and skill-based games there was not really a good solution presented by the providers or manufacturers for how customers would be driven to the games. Though they had ideas the providers and manufacturers were looking to the casinos to drive traffic to the games. But the casinos are used to providing space for games not driving traffic to them.

In a lot of ways casinos have become like shopping malls, providing space for shops but leaving it to the shops themselves to be successful with the customers. Those providers and manufacturers expecting casinos to drive traffic to a game may as well be asking a tiger to change its stripes, just not in its DNA.

As much as I hope for the success of both eSports and skill-based games on the casino floors, perhaps their respective developers should spend as much time looking for their marketing solutions as they are spending on their game developments. After all, you could have the greatest game on the planet but if no one knows about it or if no one knows how to play it, it won’t mean a thing to the casino.

Looking forward

Separately, in the fullness of time the shock and horror of the recent shooting in Las Vegas will fade and be remembered less for the horrific act itself and more from the ensuing acts of compassion, sacrifice and humanitarianism.

Though the senseless loss of so many young lives will not be forgotten by their families or the community of Las Vegas, their loss has been and will be the stimulus for subtle and overt changes in the community’s processes of safety, security and emergency response that will no doubt, in the future, save the lives of countless people through both prevention and protection.

Though it is with endless hope that we will never see another incident like this again, it has reminded us all to be and remain more compassionate and considerate toward our families, friends and fellow man.