Skill-Based Slot Machines: Lawmakers Debate Regulations

A cocktail arcade machine that pays you when you reach a new high score? Sign us up. You may have heard that casinos across the nation are trying to draw in the next generation by making their slot machines increasingly interactive. Millenials aren’t satisfied to leave their chances of winning up to luck – they want to control their own destiny.

What’s the problem with designing casino games that rely partially on skill, not just luck? Well, many experts say this could lead to an increase in gaming addiction. So lawmakers across the country have to decide if allowing the next generation of casino games to reach the next generation of gamblers is worth the risk.

Massachusetts Deliberates

Skill-based casino games are slowly being introduced around the country, but the latest state to handle these changes is Massachusetts. The Gaming Commission has published a draft of regulations that closely resemble Nevada’s, the first state to address the developments in casino gaming.

Massachusetts will also allow casinos to offer games that rely on both chance and skill. Since there is a wide array of skill-based casino games that have yet to be placed into use, Massachusetts’ Gaming Commission made it a point to write regulations that are broad, so as not to exclude any developers who are pushing the boundaries and experimenting with new machines.

The Controversy

Organizations such as Stop Predatory Gambling, which is based in Massachusetts, condemns these new, modern gambling options because they view it as a ploy to increase gambling addiction, furthering the profit of the casino industry.

However, the American Gaming Association disagrees, as they state it is too early to predict if this is truly the effect they will have. More research must be completed once manufacturers develop and release the games into circulation.

Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and other states are considering joining Nevada and Massachusetts and allowing these machines provisionally. What do these games look like exactly? Well, in some cases manufacturers are simply adapting classic arcade favorites like pinball and adding a monetary element. In other cases, you might be able to win cash from playing a game like “Guitar Hero.”

As more game developers and manufacturers propose prototypes, you might be able to try out a few if you take a trip to Vegas and form your own opinion.