Remember those traditional slot machines? You know the ones. You put in your quarters, pull a crank, and watch three to five wheels with icons spin until they stop. And then, if you win, it spits out a bunch of more quarters. Yeah, those slot machines are gone. In reality, they have been for some time. But slot-machine providers are not switching it up even more. Let us tell you why slot machines are changing.
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Modern Slot Machines
Every industry is trying to keep up with the tech wave in the USA. The gambling sector is no different. In particular, Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the U.S., has taken great care to modernize its gaming industry. Hotels are more contemporary. The amenities bring the comforts of home. The casinos are futuristic, in both aesthetics and function. And yes, slot machines are changing.
This isn't something that's typically given immense consideration. Vegas has just gradually changed. At this point, table games and slot machines have been tech-driven for so long, it's just a reality.
As the folks over at The Press-Enterprise explained, though, the casino games you love so much aren't done modernizing. They are constantly changing, becoming even more technologically advanced while attempting to reach a larger demographic.
Let's go through the most noteworthy changes they outlined, as well as the impetus for these shifts in the first place.
Why Are Slot Machines Changing?
Gambling has never before been more accessible. Nowadays, people don't even need to leave their homes. Top sportsbooks like Bovada and BetOnline, among many others, all have their own online casinos in addition to their sports betting offerings.
Casinos have needed to update their models so they continue appealing to the masses. They have the built-in interest from those who like to travel and get out of the house, but they also need to incentivize homebodies to get off their couches.
The latter has become even more important over the past year-and-a-half, on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic, which turned pretty much everyone into shut-ins for a long period of time.
Another thing casinos are trying to keep up with is a generation ruled by their smartphones. People don't carry around cash as often anymore. Some don't even have wallets. Everything is stored in their smartphone. Even the idea of carrying around a player's card or having to pull vouchers from the slot machine can seem taxing.
And with this exposure to technology comes to access. Gamblers are more informed than ever before. They have watched YouTube videos on slot machines and the technology behind them. And they have a feel for which type of games they like before ever setting foot in the casino.
On top of that, they are also consuming different types of content. Casinos are trying to capitalize on that. Sticking random names on slot machines will no longer cut it. They need to be more deliberate with their themes and presentations.
Easier Payment Options
Cashless slot machines are perhaps the most important trend picking up steam in the gaming industry.
For some, the idea of going cashless is about convenience. For others, it's about minimizing potential exposure to diseases. The coronavirus pandemic made everyone leery of what they handle. Having the ability to pay—and accept winnings—via smartphones eliminates the need to handle money as well as vouchers.
Currently, a Resort Wallet feature known as IG is starting to gain popularity. They allow people to load money onto an account that can be accessed via an app on their phone. Funds can be then transferred using a vast array of different methods, including bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards. You can even load the account by paying a cashier at an on-site casino, so long as they have access to the service.
Granted, the cashless slot machine may take some time to gain a stronghold in the casino industry. Many elders are intimidated by that type of technology. There needs to be a way to make it more inclusive—to show how simple it is to complete payments and withdrawals without exchanging any tangible money.
Socially Distant Setup
Keeping your distance has become incredibly important over the past year-plus. Standing six feet apart is now typical for everyday interactions, and casinos are trying to mirror this rule to increase their safety factor.
Slot machines are usually on top of one another with only a few inches of seating between patrons. Now, you're more likely to find slots separated by plexiglass or even machines that are detached from one another entirely in addition to having plexiglass, therefore creating their own little bubble.
It remains to be seen how popular this will become. Almost every casino has some variation of it right because they have to. But the support for bubble-like slot machines only holds weight if people remain leery of sitting too close to others long term.
Capitalizing on Pop Culture
Themed slot machines are an industry-old tradition. But where past thematic elements have focused places—such as ancient Egypt—or games shows, pop culture is now dominated by movies, television shows, and web series.
Companies need to be more methodical about how they present slot machines as a result. Piquing interest in their game is about being timely—choosing the right movie or show, either because it's new or because it has a big nostalgic following.
This creates more licensing obstacles, which could then lead to more branding and ads while gamblers play. Still, it will be worth it in the long run. Gen Zers, for instance, aren't going to care as much about a Wheel of Fortune-themed slot machine as one modeled after a hit 1990s TV show (they're all the rage now) or a Marvel movie.
More Intuitive Gaming
Slot machines that have players pull a crank still exist, but they're dwindling in number. We've been in the "press a button" stage for years now.
But companies are now looking to take the next step: crafting their slot-machine games in the image of smartphones. Touch screen slots are bound to be more common, and there will likely be a rise in Bluetooth-type slots in which you actually control the machine's screen using your own phone. The latter jibes with the new wave of safety-conscious gamblers, ensuring nobody needs to touch a heavily trafficked screen, button, or crank.
This sounds weird on its face. But people used to think automated roulette and craps tables were bizarre, and now both a borderline mainstream. Don't think for a minute slot machines are above that kind of change. They're not.
All of these changes, in fact, are already underway.
Can't make it to a casino? No problem! Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks instead: