Will server gaming be the savior of slots?

Jun 17, 2008 7:04 PM

By GT Staff | In the wake of last week’s news that slot win in Nevada had its sixth straight month of declining revenue, next week’s Server Based Gaming for Casinos Summit couldn’t come at a better time.

Scheduled for June 25-26 at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Summerlin, server-based gaming – often called downloadable slots or network-based gaming – will be explained by experts, who will also present case studies of working systems.

A network-based slot floor would allow the casino operator to control nearly every aspect of the slot machine – cost, payout, even the images that line up on the payline – through back-end servers that talk to computer chips inside the machines.

In addition to changing games and altering the machine’s payback percentage, the network would open an expanded communications window to the slot-playing customer.

The window would allow the casino to cross-promote everything from gaming promotions to dining outlets and entertainment venues. The system could also serve as a personalized slot club, in which a player could convert player points to cash, credits or comps.

Server-based gaming has been touted over the past few years as the next big evolution for casinos with slot machines.

"Server based gaming systems are set to impact every casino over the next 12 to 18 months," said Dan Ahrens, manager and creator of the Ladenburg Thalman Gaming and Casino Fund. "Those who are not braced for change will be left behind."

Field tests are currently under way on a limited basis in Las Vegas, but network systems probably won’t begin to replace existing slot systems until 2009. That’s when MGM Mirage is expected to open its CityCenter project with a completely networked casino floor.

The Server Based Gaming summit will feature panel discussions, forums and networking with professionals on practically every aspect of server-based gaming, including marketing, security, regulatory requirements, player benefits and concerns, and impact on existing casino management systems.

The Server Based Gaming Summit is organized by Casino Tech Today. For more information or to pre-register, visit their website at casinotechtoday.com.