This year’s G2E in 4 words…”same old same old”. This was the comment going around on site regarding the product offerings. There was plenty of innovation and awesome new products of course, but there seems to be a lack of something really new that would be an industry changer.
One of the products I took personal interest in was Aruze Gaming’s Roll to Win Craps, and I don’t mean that as a shout out to my former company. A digital craps table that only requires 1 dealer, this product is innovative and fun, and also advantageous for the casino operator. Some photos [here] from their corporate site.
When the first casinos open in Japan whenever in the next decade, ETG’s will sure be a huge product. Players can learn to play with lower bets than tables, there is more privacy for players, and this could be the solution to small numbers of able dealers available at the time. However, a hybrid form like this Aruze product or LT Gaming’s semi-auto type tables games also brings a more flexible gaming experience to the player, while also making operations more efficient for the casino operator. Considering limited floor space for the casinos in Japan, this will be of utmost importance.
I was also asked to do a quick session on the casino floor forecast for Japan, which at this point nobody has the answers for, but is a topic we can all make some educated guesses about. I don’t like just giving answers, but giving information for people to have their own ideas. For example, is there any doubt that the casino floor will have to cater to Chinese players? If your answer is “no doubt”, then you would agree there would need to be games catering to Chinese demand.
Another example, instead of just answering if I think Pachinko or Pachislot would work in a Japanese casino, I wanted to show how the game flow is different, how there is physical randomness (in Pachinko) involved, and also a certain level of skill. Then anyone can take a look at how skill-games, games with physical randomness, and games with similar game-flows have fared in international casinos, and form their own opinion on the topic. Whether they see it as a business opportunity, a niche-market, or a product doomed to fail in the casino world is completely up to each person and their point of view. For companies like Gamblit, a leader in the North American skill-game market, they already have their vision. At the end of the day, a casino operator, a potential shareholder, a Japanese regulator, and a gaming supplier would obviously have different levels of understanding and also different views.
Considering the level of Japanese regulation that is to be expected, there will most likely not be anything super out of the ordinary at first, but this is an excellent time for stakeholders to start forming their own opinions and direction.