Crown Resorts Introduces Skill-Based Electronic Games

Friday, August 11th, 2017 | Written by April Bergman
Crown Resorts Introduces Skill-Based Electronic Games

Crown Resorts Limited is working with New Gaming Pty Ltd to offer “Chill Gaming“, a skill-based electronic games. James Packer told The Australian that Chill Gaming provides “new entertainment product options” to his casino company.

New Gaming Party Limited is a subsidiary of Wymac Gaming Solutions, a Melbourne-based electronic games designer that formed a joint venture with Crown Limited on Chill Gaming.

Packer said the new gaming technology would debut at a gaming expo in the near future.

Chill Gaming from Wymac Gaming Solution

Wymac Gaming Solutions has manufactured electronic gaming machines (EGMs) for years in Victoria, competing with Aristocrat Leisure, IGT, and Ainsworth Game Technologies. The New Gaming Pty Ltd division focuses on arcade-style gambling machines. Wymac describes those arcade machines as “smart” technology which determines payouts based on a combination of skill and chance.

The technology sounds like the skill-based slot machines being produced in the United States by GameCo out of New York City and Gamblit Gaming out of California. GameCo provides skill-based gambling machines for Atlantic City casinos, with arcade-style games with a still-undetermined level of skill in determining results.

Skilled-Based Electronic Games in America

Gamblit Gaming provides skill-based slots to Caesars Entertainment casinos in California and Nevada. All such gaming machines are still in the developmental stage, so designers continue to tweak the concept to add greater skill to the gameplay.

While the earliest reviews from skill-based slots in New Jersey were mixed, those results led to some tweaking of laws by responsive lawmakers in New Jersey and Nevada. Those law tweaks allowed game designers to lower the house edge on skill-based gambling machines below the 83% level. While that might sound devious, what that does is allow game designers to offer skill gambling machines which have 100% skill elements. It also allows the games to offer a positive expectation, if the player is skillful enough.

Ken Barton on Skill-Based Gaming

Crown Resorts’ Chief Financial Officer, Ken Barton, described for Aussies how the new arcade-style EGMs work. Barton said, “Skill-based gaming is an interesting concept that is getting traction in a number of markets. It is a reaction to the emergence of games that are different to traditional games.”

Ken Barton said that Chill Gaming is a work-in-progress, but development of unique Crown Resorts skill-based pokies continues apace. The company CFO added, “We have got prototypes developed, and at gaming shows that are coming up over the next few months, we should have some demonstrations that we will be able to show.”

Crown Resorts Financial Reports

The announcement of Chill Gaming came during a Crown Resorts financial report that was somewhat lackluster. Crown Resorts is undergoing a transition period, as it completes its pullout from the Chinese market and refocuses on the Australian gaming market.

Crown Resorts also is launching its interactive online casino brand. Working on a joint venture like Chill Gaming allows Australia’s largest casino brand to innovate, as it breaks into the online and mobile gaming market. Ken Barton boasted of his company’s work in that arena, stating, “That (digital) market is growing strongly.”

GameCo Seeks Entry into Australian Casinos

Some of the American skill-based gambling machine developers are ready to enter the Australian casino market. In late-July, GameCo CEO Blaine Graboyes said, “Australian operators have shown interest in skill-based [machines] and our games. There are a number of efforts under way within the region to consider how skill-based gaming may be considered.”

It might be a good time for such an entry. Just last week, the Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment 2016, after months of controversy and discussion. IGA 2016 effectively pushes out the licensed online poker websites from the Australian market, at least temporarily. (Senator Leyonjhelm suggest he might have a deal in place with key Aussie officials to restore online poker.)

If licensed Australian online gambling is finished, then many millennial gamblers who preferred Internet gaming might go to Crown Melbourne looking for other real-money gaming options. If so, then skill-based gambling machines likely would be a popular choice, because millennial gamblers do not like the pokies. More likely, though, the former customers of 888, PokerStars, and Vera&John likely will go to the unlicensed online casinos and poker sites. The iGaming ban is not likely to produce the results Aussie lawmakers and gaming executives expect.