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PART III
Gaming Machines
Electronic gaming machines - a profile on game selection and placement.
By Andrew MacDonald
Senior Executive Casino Operations, Adelaide Casino, 1996
Casino Analyser
Reference

Slot

Introduction | Utility of Games | Price Sensitivity | Denomination and Placement | Conclusion |

The gaming machine market is not a single homogenous mass where one set of rules or criteria may be universally applied to determine what "makes" a machine appealing or how it should be positioned within the Casino environs.

What works in one location may not work somewhere else and vice-versa. Many Americans are surprised by the lack in Australia of three reel slots such as "Liberty Sevens" or "Red, White and Blue" and the proliferation of multi-line, multiplier games with seemingly unintelligible paytables.

A look at the different markets may to some extent explain these differences.

In the United States, particularly in the Las Vegas strip market,the market consists of infrequent visitors or tourists who stay for a few days and who will make a return visit in the following year or the year after.

These people prefer gaming machines that are easy to understand and less inhibiting to trial. Thus, their game preference may be likened to the "Space Invaders" or "Pacman" games of several years ago. Easy to learn, simple to use and not overly challenging.

In Australia generally over recent years and typified by the New South Wales Leagues Clubs, the market is quite different. These "local" clubs have been in existence for many years and have had access to gaming machines since 1956. They cater to frequent repeat visitors who quickly tire of any one product and who "demand" continual change. With the increased computing power in todays gaming machines that has led to nine line games with special bonus features, animated graphics and sound blasters. Todays Australian gaming machine player quite simply would be as bored with a three reel stepper as would todays Nintendo child be bored with "Space Invaders".

This is in some ways akin to the fact that most "local's Casinos" in Las Vegas only offer 20% to 25% of their gaming machines as spinning reel slots with the balance being video pokers.

Video Pokers include a greater element of "skill" and with favourable paytables offer exceptional return to player percentages. Thus these games are more complex and less like the three reel simple Spinning Reel game found in Las Vegas strip tourist Casinos.

In Australia the same did not occur with Video Poker for a variety of reasons including the fact that "card games" were prohibited from New South Wales Poker machine clubs and that Poker in itself does not have the same history or tradition as it does in the United States.

Thus, the first basic fact with regards to gaming machine placement is apparent. In a sophisticated local environment where the market does not continually change, it is necessary to continually update and enhance the product offering. Las Vegas strip Casinos merely continually change their clientele rather than needing to change the gaming machine product. Emerging "locals" orientated Casinos and gaming machine venues need to be mindful of this and not be driven by the gaming machine manufacturers who may want to supply machines based on their own requirements, but should rather heed the wants of their customer base.

The second issue is that of the "optimal" gaming machine return to player percentages. Dollar games should be "loose" or the hold on "nickels" (5 cent machines) should be "x" (y or z).
 
 
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