Last September, when speaking to crowds at a major gaming conference, casino mogul Steve Wynn had some pretty interesting insights to offer on what makes Vegas casinos popular.
As quoted in Fox Business, Wynn claimed that “it was never the slot machines” that drew enormous crowds to his and other casinos. It was the greater experience, he argued, and “things that give people a chance to live big.”
It’s easy to understand what Wynn means by this. Going to a major casino hotel is about a total experience, rather than any single game or activity, and Vegas has always emphasized this fact. At the same time, there’s no denying that slot machines are designed to attract players, and historically a significant portion of major casinos’ revenue tends to come from these simple little gaming machines. And this is where things have gotten somewhat dicey for casino owners. There’s a growing concern in Vegas and elsewhere that slot machines are slowly being phased out, as younger generations just don’t have much interest in the boring activity of pulling a lever and waiting to see which meaningless symbols flip up.
Perhaps that’s one reason that Wynn is openly downplaying the importance of slot machines. After all, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to champion new casino plans built around the concept of a game that’s perceived by many as being on its last legs!
But the really interesting thing about this issue is that while Wynn appears to be planning casinos around other activities entirely, there is a growing buzz that the casino industry may have an ace up its sleeve, so to speak. It looks like there’s a fascinating way to update and upgrade the slot-style gaming experience for a new generation. Apparently, they’re going to start replacing archaic slot machines with something that resembles an arcade.
This concept was brought up in a recent article in the Dallas News, with similar pieces popping up all across the Internet. It appears that Vegas casinos are “drawing up plans to introduce arcade-style video games,” essentially taking a standard arcade concept and turning it into a real-money gambling experience. Instead of winning tickets to buy small candies and useless toys with (as happens in ordinary arcades), players can risk and win actual cash. At least, that’s the plan.
The same article goes on to explain that “the idea is aimed largely at attracting younger people who … don’t get much of a thrill out of sitting in front of slot machines, watching reels of lucky 7s and cherries.” This idea makes perfect sense. When phrased that way, though, it’s also a little ironic given that the greater video gaming industry has already addressed the problem in some ways.
Online casinos have long since realized that the typical, boring slot machine format won’t get many younger gamers to stick around. Instead, they’ve taken to combining slot gaming principles with new themes and ideas, sometimes implementing original gaming concepts, and sometimes using licensed characters from existing pop culture, such as superheroes. By infusing the same old games with this sort of interest, they’re able to make the games at least marginally more appealing.
Building on this concept, Intercasino has extended the idea into other games. The site does plenty to spice up its slot machine and basic arcade offerings, but even in its blackjack section, there are numerous inventive tools in place to keep players interested. Several different styles of blackjack are available (to keep gamers from having to repeat the same game over and over) and there’s a live dealer option, which is a relatively new concept in online gaming.
The irony is that—whether we’re talking about blackjack, slots, or any other sort of gaming—the online casino industry that came into existence as a spinoff of the live casino industry has actually jumped ahead. At least, that’s true when it comes to generating interest among younger demographics. It’ll be very interesting to see if a Vegas transition to arcade-style gaming (more akin to what younger generations grew up enjoying) provides a substantial boost to casinos.