Space Invaders

Video game/gambling hybrid

GameCo announced on Wednesday that it has been granted a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. We have seen loads of companies received gaming licenses over the years, but the upshot of this one is that GameCo specializes in “skill-based” video gambling and will now be able to bring its games to online gambling sites and mobile apps.

As poker people, we certainly understand the concept of a skill game when it comes to gambling. Poker, of course, is one. Though there is obviously luck involved, the most highly-skilled players will win the most money in the long run.

It is a very similar concept with GameCo’s games, but unlike poker, where you will win in the long run if you are a good player, GameCo’s skill-based games are still designed to give the house an edge, even against the best players.

Think of them like slot machines inside a fancy video game candy shell. The video game part still gives you some control and some ability to maximize your winnings or minimize your losses, but in the long run, the house still comes out on top. In fact, there are “skill-based slot machines” that feature a video game as a bonus round, rather than just a lucky spin.

Trying to attract younger gamblers

GameCo does already have games in Nevada casinos and did have some in Bally’s, Harrah’s, and Caesars in Atlantic City for eight months in 2016, but the ability to get them into online casinos and mobile gambling apps is the important thing for the company right now.

One of the problems with skill-based video gambling in land-based casinos is that they appeal much more to younger people than older gamblers. Older gamblers lean toward slots. So when machines like GameCo’s are intermingled with slot machines, their target customers don’t find them.

But putting them online could change things. Online and mobile gamblers skew toward the younger end of the spectrum. It is also easier to make a skill-based game offering stand out in an app. Therefore, GameCo may be able to get its games in front of its key demographic more frequently and easier than before.

“GameCo pioneered the Video Game Gambling category in New Jersey and we plan to do the same with esports betting and skill-based iGaming, satisfying a massive demand from Gen X and Millennial players,” said Blaine Graboyes, Co-Founder and CEO of GameCo.

Accessible esports

Going back to brick-and-mortar casinos, GameCo also anticipates launching Multiplayer Arena games in the near future. These games are similar to the skill-based video gambling machines, but here you compete against other players. From what this writer has seen, they appear to be all skill and no luck, just basic esports competitions. You choose a wager, select active players at other machines to challenge at your same price point, and take them on. The casino takes a rake from the total amount bet and the winner banks the rest.

Major video game developer Bandai Namco seems to think it is a good idea, contributing its popular Soul Caliber fighting game brand to GameCo’s Multiplayer Arena offering.

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