The Global Gaming Expo (G2E) is the annual Las Vegas gathering of the casino business in the US. There are panel discussions and speakers that dive into ways the casino industry operates today and how they can better conduct business in the future. The expo part of G2E is much more interesting.
Exhibitors at G2E have everything a casino needs in order to be in business. Product range from casino games to the spirits they serve in complimentary drinks to players.
Some of the games available, like new branded slot machines, are simple and ready for casinos today. Other items on display are prototypes that won’t see casino floors for years.
There are also products that fit somewhere between gaming for today and the future. These products might be ready for casinos but might need approval and, of course, a buyer willing to try something new. Last year’s G2E trends are a good example of this.
Many of the games and products were ready for prime time. Unfortunately, they either needed regulatory approval, buyers, or some finishing touches before reaching casino floors.
#1 – The future of sports betting is all about in-play wagering
In-play wagering, or bets placed on the actions taking place during a game, was the talk of G2E. Anecdotally, this kind of sports betting is about 50% of the European market.
In-play wagering is much smaller in the US. Sportsbook operators would like to grow this segment of the US sports betting market. Gaming manufacturers understand this and are creating products to aid growth.
One of the unique products introduced at G2E was the product now called the CrystalBetting Terminal from IGT. This is similar to a prototype introduced by the same company last year. This carrel betting station is similar to the horse racing desks in sportsbooks. The difference is that these are for sports betting.
Each station has a 27-inch touchscreen monitor and acts similar to a normal kiosk. The big difference between the CrystalBetting Terminal and a kiosk is the ability to watch and place an in-play wager on any game right on the screen. Each terminal has a headphone jack so guests can listen to audio for whichever game they’re watching.
Mobile devices are used for the vast majority of in-play wagering. The CrystalBetting Terminals are the first product that will allow bettors to have this kind of action without having to use a phone or tablet. These betting stations currently being tested at Pearl River Resort in Mississippi.
#2 – Bar top gaming is expanding
Just about every gaming manufacturer has a new bar top gaming machine. Earlier this year we introduced Winner’s World bar top machines from Aristocrat.
IGT is the operator of most bar top machines in casinos and revealed a new machine just before G2E. The new IGT machines look similar to the Aristocrat machine but have IGT titles. The popular Buffalo keno and slot games are only available from the Winner’s World machines.
Gamblit debuted a bar top machine with new games like Deal or No Deal. They are testing a couple of these machines at The Linq on the Vegas Strip. The Linq is pushing the limits of bar top machines. Re:match bar at The Linq even has free to play non-gambling machines.
GameCo also introduced a bar top machine at G2E. Similar to the Gamblit machines, these offer a variety (5) of non-traditional games like Cosmic Candy Heist, Nothin’ But Net, and Steve Aoki’s Neon Dream. These machines offer a unique bar top gaming experience that doesn’t involve keno or video poker.
#3 – Skill games 2.0
Remember skill-based games? A few years ago casinos realized they should start offering new types of gambling games to appeal to younger casino guests. Gaming manufacturers responded with skill-based games.
The concept didn’t really stick, as games of skill still had a house edge. One’s skill could only help so much. Over time, nobody could beat a game with a guaranteed house edge.
Skill-based games didn’t find a place in too many casinos beyond a trial period. The manufacturers continue to create new titles and they’re marketing them differently.
There’s a new wave of non-traditional games being marketed to casinos. The games involve skill but still have a house edge for casinos. These are being called “skill influenced” games according to the CEO of Synergy Blue, a new gaming manufacturer. The new name doesn’t lead potential customers to believe that the games are beatable by skill. Being good at a game still only helps reduce the house edge.
Gamblit, GameCo, Synergy Blue, and other manufacturers have non-traditional games available to win real money. The betting terminals now include bar tops, tabletops, and slot machine-style cabinets. Unlike the first iteration of skill games, these are almost all single-player games and are available in configurations that fit a traditional casino.
#4 – Slot machines are getting bigger
G2E is sometimes called a slot machine convention. There are so many of these games on the expo floor that it’s not entirely inaccurate. The amount of space devoted to slot machines at the expo is similar to the casino floor.
There wasn’t one singular groundbreaking slot machine invention this year at G2E. The new tech is mostly modifications to existing games. The thing in slot machines that stands out again this year is massive installations.
One panel discussion from G2E really stood out when it comes to looking at slot machines. Casino customers find that the properties are ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. The bright lights of the newest slot machines help influence that thought.
Aristocrat has a new tunnel installation that offers 180 degrees of light and connects machines a few feet away. The underpass is expected to create a more social environment for slot players. Once again, there are more large slot machines that use bench seating for two or more. Again, this should create a more social slot machine player.
One way to stand out in a casino is with massive slot machines. This trend started a couple of years ago and continues. Slot machines don’t only have large screens and seats but there are more screens above and/or to the side of the base games.
Individual slot machines can be huge relative to the small reel slot machines of yesteryear. The new multiple slot machine installations are so tall and wide that they can only be placed against the wall. The trend of bigger, brighter, and louder slot machines will continue.
#5 – Scientific Games is a step ahead
At first glance, the Scientific Games booth at G2E looked like every other major gaming company. There were lots of new slot machines, electronic table games, and twists on both.
A closer look at what Scientific Games actually offers is a step ahead of many other gaming manufacturers. They showed off many unique products that set them apart from other companies at G2E that weren’t quite as “in your face” as big, bright, loud slot machines. Here are some highlights:
- SG Unified Wallet: This allows casinos to offer cashless gaming. The wallet can be used for games from slot machines to sports betting. The one catch is that this will only work for their games.
- SG Cardless: This cardless players club operating system is similar to Cardless Connect from IGT. The big difference for casino customers is the ability to access the SG Wallet at the same time. This will make it easier to activate a players club account and put money into a machine.
- SG Vision: This object recognition technology can look at tables for chip and use biometrics from humans. The software allows casinos to keep track of chips in play at a table. The facial recognition can help casinos protect against banned and underaged gamblers among other things.
Scientific Games also had new sports betting tech, electronic gaming machines, electronic and physical table games, shuffle machines, and, of course, slot machines like Willy Wonka on display. All in all, the entire Scientific Games G2E expo display was one of the best at the show.