A pokies manufacturer with ties to James Packer’s Crown Resorts has launched the first applications in Australia to roll out a revolutionary new style of poker machine — “skill-based” gaming machines — aimed at attracting younger gamblers.
The Victorian gambling regulator is understood to be working with the company towards a possible trial of the new-style devices at Crown’s flagship casino in Melbourne, while the authorities in New South Wales are cautioning there is a lack of sufficient research into the gambling-harm risks.
In applications lodged in both states last month, Wymac Gaming Solutions is seeking approval of the so-called skill-based gaming product which mixes an element of skill with the ordinary pokies-playing experience, and is said to have more in common with video games.
The founders of Melbourne-based Wymac and Crown Resorts are in a 50/50 joint venture called Chill Games, developing a suite of new gaming machine products that determine payouts based on player ability as well as chance.
The push towards skill-based gaming follows rising fears among casino operators worldwide about the ageing population of their pokies players and fears of a looming drop-off in their pokies revenue — valued at $12 billion a year in Australia. The industry sees skill-based, arcade-style games as a way to widen the appeal of pokies to millennials, who find traditional push-button pokies mindless and uninteresting.
– Nick Toscano
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