Every October, gaming manufacturers show off their latest and greatest games and gadgets for casinos to purchase at the mammoth Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The expo floor at G2E is very similar to actual casinos. The majority of space is occupied by slot machines. Table games are usually a distant second and everything else is an even more distant third place.
The 2018 G2E, held this past week at Sands Expo & Convention Center, was slightly different. Not only was there a huge interest in sports betting discussion (which even had a separate, dedicated symposium of educational sessions with notable speakers), but there were other noticeable shifts in traditional gaming. Slot machine manufacturers have minimized their focus on poorly performing skill-based games. The large slot machine and gaming manufacturers are using much more space to promote their sports betting products.
Here are five trends and technological marvels from the 2018 Global Gaming Expo:
Craps goes high-tech at Aruze Gaming
Last year, Aruze Gaming had a prototype of a craps game where players would roll dice on a coated video screen table instead of table topped with felt. The partially electronic craps game has betting stations for each player so there are no chips on the table.
Experienced gamblers might remember the similar Rapid Craps, the betting station that looks similar to the Shoot to Win bubble craps games currently in casinos. The lack of chips means there’s only need for one dealer, the stick person, to retrieve the dice.
The finished version of Roll To Craps is much more interesting than the prototype. Say goodbye to the traditional green felt and hello to optional colors and displays. Casinos may opt to display something cool around the edges, such as fire graphics, or promotions for amenities like shows, events or restaurants at the property.
We passed by a tournament that had a full Roll To Craps table of players and it was bonkers. Each wager placed at the betting station shoots a laser from the player to the location of the bet on the table. It looks like a one-way Star Wars battle.
This new craps experience probably won’t replace every craps table in a casino. It will offer a different craps experience for newer gamblers who are looking to move from Shoot to Win bubble craps to a traditional craps table with dealers.
PlayUSA is told that a number of casinos have shown interest in Roll To Craps. So far, Caesars Entertainment is the only casino operator to publicly confirm they will offer this game. Roll To Craps will be placed at The Linq next year, a nice complement to the hotel’s new high-tech sportsbook.
Sports betting kiosks are about to skyrocket
European sports bettors have enjoyed the convenience of betting kiosks for years. Well, the US is finally closing in on the punters. The first sports betting kiosks from SB Tech are already operating at Golden Nugget sportsbooks in Mississippi and New Jersey.
IGT was showing off their PlayShot kiosks for sports bettors at G2E. These kiosks will be placed in IGT partner casinos in those same states by the end of the year. IGT has multiple versions of PlayShot, so different casinos might offer different products.
The full-sized kiosk of PlayShot is adaptable to IGT’s Cardless Connect mobile loyalty club systems so bettors can receive players club points for their bets.
There are plenty more sports betting companies kiosks ready for dancing partners in the US. It’s just a matter of time until every sportsbook offers a betting experience for every kind of customer.
Once regulations pass mobile and kiosks in all states, bettors in America can walk up to a window and bet with a human, sit down and use a mobile app or peruse a kiosk trying to figure out who they want to bet.
The first in-play sports betting terminal
IGT debuted their CrystalBetting Terminal for In-Play sports betting at G2E this year. In-Play bets happen while a game is being played. While this type of wagering dominates Europe, it’s still just getting started in the United States.
Most bettors in New Jersey and Nevada use mobile apps to place In-Play wagers. Unfortunately, some of the apps aren’t quick enough for bettors to place a bet in the 10-20 seconds between plays in a football game.
Not only do CrystalBetting Terminals offer In-Play betting inside of a casino without using a mobile device, but they’re also super quick. The hyperfocused screen allows bettors to watch and listen to the game of their choice.
The screen also shows bettors live In-Play wagering options for the game they’re watching. When a wagering opportunity strikes their fancy, the bettor can place a bet right on the screen. Since bettors can pre-populate their wagers, there shouldn’t be problems placing a wager before a new play resets the odds.
The CrystalBetting Terminal still has to go through a field trial before it receives regulatory approval. This is one of the more unique items that could change the shape of sportsbooks in the future. Keep an eye on this being tested in a casino next year.
Slot machines are getting…girthy
Last year, the trend for slot machines was to go high. The main screen for most slot machines has gotten noticeably taller in the past year. Some slot games have added upper screens for bonuses above the already tall screens. It’s almost impossible to miss some of the new tall slot machines when walking through a casino.
This year, there is a noticeable trend of slot machines making cabinets wider. The wider screen allows for a huge, crystal clear display that’s visible from farther than ever. The wide seats can easily fit two people playing together. The wider seats can also fit larger slot machine players with lots of room.
Say what you will, the technology in slot machines continue to evolve. The slot machines in casinos today are a far cry from the one-armed bandits of the past. In fact, many new slot machines don’t even have arms.
MacGyver is the most comfortable slot machine ever
The iconic, pop culture-themed games get most of the attention at G2E. It’s understandable that people would be attracted to familiar names like Motown, South Park, Karate Kid, The Price Is Right, Billions, Madonna, Willy Wonka, etc. These popular brands will certainly see the light of day in casinos if they haven’t already.
However, big names don’t guarantee that a slot machine will be fun. The gameplay is what makes the slot machine fun. Technology is a large part of how to make slot machine games differently beyond the theme. Novomatic is taking a 33-year-old TV show and making one of the most unique slot machines on the casino floor.
The MacGyver slot machine is a unique three-piece game with two display screens and a chair that you won’t find with any other slot machine today. The adjustable, high-back leather chair almost makes the player feel as though they’re sitting in a flight simulator. There’s a cup holder in one armrest and a spin button on the other armrest.
If the play is so comfortable that they don’t want to move their hands, they can just use a foot pedal to step on a spin button that attaches the chair to the slot machine unit. And there are plenty of bright lights and loud noises in the game to satisfy anyone’s need for action.
This slot machine should be in casinos in 2019.