Deal Or No Deal: Can Sports Betting Help The Skill-Based Slot Industry?

Written By Jessica Welman on October 17, 2018 - Last Updated on November 26, 2021
Since June, sports betting has generated $40.4 million for New Jersey gaming companies.

The whole notion behind the skill-based slots industry is a way to get millennials into casinos. The gamification of everything in an attempt to get young people’s attention is something that extends far beyond the US gambling industry.

Now that US sports betting is a booming new industry though, do skill-based slots still have a place in casinos?

Gamblit still innovating new offerings

Gamblit Games thinks so. The company once again had a large footprint at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gamblit was center stage showing off its new offerings. These new games include changes and features that indicate the company is hearing the feedback and adjusting accordingly.

Tristations focus on video games and puzzle games

The single-player Tristation game stations allow players to pick their favorite games. Generally, the games fall into two categories. One is arcade-style games. Take, for example, Cover Fire. The first-person shooter game is reminiscent of Call of Duty and one of the newest titles on the platform.

The other category is more like games you would play on your phone. Some are direct adaptations, like Doodle Jump. Others, like Lucky Words and Match 3volution, are unique titles with very familiar concepts.

That is not the only part of Tristations that resemble your phone either. Some might recall that older iterations of these Gamblit games featured some serious hardware to go with them. At one point, you used an actual video game controller to play.

The latest Tristations feature hardly any buttons at all. There is a single button on the game, but everything else is done via touchscreen. Playing these mobile-like games in the same way you would play on your fun is much less intimidating. This is intentional, as the learning curve was proving to be a little too steep for some slot players.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

The lack of buttons is one of many steps Gamblit took to make its skill-based offerings more appealing to traditional casino customers.

After a good year or so of Gamblit reps lurking around the machines on casino floors. A Gamblit representative explained that the brand ambassadors were useful in educating both customers and casinos, but the program is no more. Instead, machines feature pretty thorough and clear explanations of exactly how each game works.

The multi-player Gamblit games are still in the rotation, but the company is clearly shifting away from them. When you think about it, it is a difficult sell to convince people to play a very social multi-player game with strangers. By the same token, you don’t want to gamble by winning your friends’ money.

The biggest pivot for Gamblit was taking the multi-player Pac-Man game and developing a single-player version. Pac-Man Cash Chase takes the same arcade classic but removes the multi-player component. The game debuted at G2E. Unlike multi-player games, which tend to last only short bursts, the new Pac-Man title is designed to keep people playing. You lose your life for standard Pac-Man reasons, like getting touched by a ghost, but the ability to pick up where you left off will hopefully result in longer sessions on the machines.

Trying to increase the time on machine is a big hurdle for the skill-based game set. Pac-Man Cash Chase is not the only game designed to keep you playing. There are still segments of gaming to some degree, but the ability to pick up where you left off is something that is increasingly common for the brand.

Sports betting should help, not hurt, Gamblit

As for the battle for millennials with sports betting? Gamblit thinks it is not a battle, but it is an opportunity.

The company created a version of Deal Or No Deal that plays very similarly to video poker. Given that, it makes sense that Gamblit is now offering bar top gaming. The ability to put Gamblit machines in social settings like bars could be huge for the company. As we have noted over the years, finding the sweet spot on the casino floor for these games has not been easy.

The multi-player games, in particular, seem suited for bar play. Deal Or No Deal could be just the beginning of getting Gamblit in a space with customers looking for a more entertaining slot or video poker experience.

And, of course, these tabletop games can easily go in sportsbooks. It is too strong to suggest bartop games in sportsbooks will be some sort of holy grail. However, the opportunity to place games in a space that attracts more millennials than the rest of the casino might be just the spark Gamblit needs for its casino presence to level up.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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