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NEWS 25 October 2018

Shift to skill gaming is slower than expected, says IGT CPO

By David Cook

IGT’s Chief Product Officer says the supplier is still placing its focus on traditional casino players, arguing the move to skill-based gaming is happening at a slower-than-expected pace.

Dallas Orchard believes the industry needs to work together to attract younger players to casinos, but the longer-standing products are still at the front of the supplier’s plans.

Despite some arguing casinos will move towards offering more skill-based games to attract millennials in the coming years, some traditional game statistics have remained strong in key casino markets.

Slot revenue in Las Vegas Strip casinos has increased in all of the last three years, totalling $2.8bn last year, while Macau casinos have seen revenue increases for blackjack and roulette in each of the last two years, totalling MOP2.46bn ($300m) and MOP1.14bn last year respectively.

When asked in an exclusive interview with Gambling Insider if IGT’s product strategy is with the millennial market or the more traditional player in mind, Orchard said: “It’s more the latter. You have to think about your traditional players. I think every time we believe these trends are coming, that’s kind of dialling up the move to skill-based or millennials, but it’s not happening as fast as what people expect.

“We have a responsibility, I think, to try and get younger audiences into our industry, but we need to partner with our operators and casino friends to do that, because it really is about having the patience to set the product up in the right way and trying to get incremental play inside of our casinos.

“It mostly means focussing on the traditional audience, and if you walk to any of these stalls these days you’ll see they have advancements in technology and video resolution. It’s amazing how fast things are moving.”

On the topic of future innovation, Orchard believes some innovations can actually be too complex and will not have long-term value.

He said: "When you’re talking about the slot floor, some of these technologies that are out there today have been around previously and either the regulations have lagged behind the technology, which can still be something we encounter today, and/or the players just aren’t ready for some of that technology and it can confuse them.

“So what we try to do from an innovation standpoint is make sure it’s subtle, make sure it enhances the experience, it’s intuitive, and it’s not going to alienate the player or their experience with the game.”

Orchard was speaking to Gambling Insider for the November/December issue. Sign up to read the free magazine here.

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