Casinos Beyond Atlantic City Look To Expand Business With Skill-Based Games From GameCo, Others

Jessica Welman Updated on April 4, 2017
GameCo Nevada casinos expansion
Last Semptember, GameCo installed its first skill-based gambling machine on the floor of an Atlantic City casino. Now the company aims to generate new funding to expand up and down the Las Vegas Strip.

GameCo founder Blaine Graboyes hopes to generate $20 to $30 million in what will be the company’s third round of funding.

Company seeking gaming license, expanding portfolio

Graboyes moved to Las Vegas last December to focus on getting GameCo a Nevada gaming license. In February, the company received GLI certification which allows the machines to be anywhere in Vegas where slots and table games are offered.

In addition to getting machines on the Strip, GameCo also expects to be launching machines in Connecticut before the year is over. Meanwhile in Atlantic City, the company expanded to Tropicana Casino.

Like Caesars properties, Tropicana now hosts both skill slots and online casino entities to draw in younger customers.

The company is expanding its portfolio of games too. Some of the concepts in development include sporting games and a game based on the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Many of the titles mimic the major video game genres, as GameCo is trying to appeal to the same audience.

What are skill-based casino games?

The skill-based games movement aims to make slot machines appealing to a younger demographic. Graboyes started the company after seeing how many esports fans were walking right by slots in a casino.

He explained his motivation to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“Gamers also have a propensity for gambling and they don’t have any place to get together and socialize. The opportunity was to create a destination at a casino that makes gamers feel like the cool kids.”

GameCo games are a variation of slots in which a player’s skill has bearing on how profitable they are. The first GameCo game launched in Atlantic City is Danger Arena. The game is a first-person shooter offering.

Another game offered in Atlantic City casinos is Pharaoh’s Secret Temple. This game is similar to popular mobile puzzle games like Bejeweled. According to the Review-Journal, the puzzle game is performing better than the shooter game so far in Atlantic City.

Neither game is doing particularly well, but Pharaoh’s Secret Temple is doing average gaming business. Graboyes said he thinks the console for Danger Arena might be intimidating to players unfamiliar with the concept.

Other gambling companies entering the skill game market

GameCo is not the only company exploring this new category of gambling machines. Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas recently installed skill-based games.

MGM did more than just install machines. The Las Vegas casino features an entire entertainment lounge dedicated to video games, virtual reality, and skill games. Level Up is a 12,000-square foot lounge catering to avid gamers, giving them a place to both socialize and gamble.

The lounge recently installed skill-based games from casino provider Konami. Scientific Games is also developing titles for the skill game market.

The start may be slow for skill-based games, but GameCo and bigger casino brands predict this is how to market casino gambling to a younger generation and are willing to invest now with hopes of a big payoff later.

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