Most modern video games require players to have twitch reflexes and for the most part, they are given a lot of control over how they can play. Because of this Slots and other Return To Player based games may have an issue with the gamblers of tomorrow.
Modern slot games require players to rely heavily on the luck of the spin, something that most gamers just aren't going to be used to into the future.
On top of that, there are already plenty of skill based reaction games which allow for players to be and make money, away from the casinos. So the question is, how can the casinos of tomorrow satisfy the needs of these potential gamblers and how can they continue to make money if they're against people who may just be too good to lose?
What Is Skill Based Gambling?
Skill based gambling is a form of gambling where skill of the player alone is enough to secure a win. This isn't to suggest that current gambling doesn't have any skill. Slots and other casino games, such as Blackjack, can involve the player making good plays.
Understanding the rules of any gambling game is important and helps you win more often than not. But current gambling involves there being unwinnable situations. For instance, you can have a 20 in Blackjack, as close to winning as possible, but as soon as the dealer reveals a Blackjack, you've lost. Nothing you could do to prevent. How you'd played, you'd lost from the get go.
Video games like Fifa and Counter Stirke have as few random elements as possible. Skill alone is a majority of what's required to win and skilled players could potentially win 100% of the time if they are good enough.
How Would Single Player Skill Gambling Work?
Skill based gambling is already in action and it's growing every year. Laws have been passed in Nevada since May, to make it a part of the gambling ecosystem. The worry is that gamers who are more used to this kind of play won't be as easily drawn in by the gambling habits of history.
So what ways could casinos use to host skill based game of gambling, which would also deliver a profit for them and avoid being beaten by the gamer every time?
A High Difficulty Ceiling
There's already a few examples of this, but one of the prime examples would be Spin Genie Adventures. It's a skill based gambling game, where the restriction to player success has been through limiting the accuracy of the controls.
The controls are floaty, so when you're control over the character is limited, making it harder to win. Increasing the skill required to win the game could be done n numerous ways, but limiting how much control the player has is a very solid example of how to increase the difficulty of your games, ensuring that people are losing more than they win.
The issue here is that it may put off players who can't get over this barrier. Having limited input is a good way to making a game not immediately fun, so it may alienate players.
The secondary issue is that players may physically be able to train themselves to work with the controls. If there is a system that can be perfected, someone will eventually do so. Once that player can always make a profit from the game, then there's nothing stopping them from draining all the money the casino has, effectively putting them out of business.
So keeping the game fair, but harder to learn isn't an option because eventually, players will learn to beat it.
Random Number Generators
This is the method modern casinos use to create risks for gamblers. When your reels spin, they're not actually spinning, but instead just having a random assortment of symbols chosen to appear on the reels. It's the same reason why counting cards isn't possible in online card games, because cards are randomly generated and not part of a constant pack of cards.
Randomness can be used to level the playing field when it comes to skill based gambling in the same way.
The earlier fix was to have a high level of difficulty, which has the downside of putting new players off and eventually being beaten anyway. Having random factors that can cause difficulty for the player beats back these issues.
The game could now be of a reasonable difficulty so that lower skilled players can enjoy it. Random elements could then appear, such as extra enemies or things that made your player harder to control (ala spin genie adventures) but for shorter periods of time. This would make the game hard for brief periods, but give the player a fun experience for the majority of the time, which would make them more prone to returning.
On top of this, even players with high skill, wouldn't be able to simply learn the game because it would no longer be predictable. Eventually a random element would catch them off guard and cause them to lose.
In terms of single player skill gambling, this could easily replace playing at slots, with players instead settling down to a shooter where they bet money to get to a certain level. It uses the random number generators of slots, while giving the player more interactivity to feel like skill is playing a part in their win, whilst restricting wins also.
How Would Multiplayer Skill Gambling Work?
Not all of us want to gamble alone and there are instances where we might want to gamble and play against other skilled players. With so many more factors for more players, how would a casino handle multiple skilled players all trying to beat the game and each other. Surely this would cause a lot of money to be lost if they teamed up.
The raking system is how most Poker tournaments and other current skill based gambling works. Instead of the casino putting up their own money as part of the bet, instead they host the platform for people to compete with each other.
Everyone bets and then whatever the winnings are, the casino takes a small percentage of the pot as commission, raking the pot. This is the best system for multiplayer skill based gambling. Everyone involved gambles against one another and then indirectly pay the casino for hosting that service by losing winnings from the pot.
In terms of single player skill based gambling, this wouldn't necessarily work. Since the player needs someone else to be taking money off, outside of the casino, for the casino to have any pot to rake.
However when it comes to multiplayer games from anything as timeless as a card game like poker, to a PC shooter like Counter Strike; raking seems to be the preferred choice for casinos. It's safe for the casino, who only has to upkeep a service worthy enough for people to gamble there.
Practical But Not Perfect
The kinks aren't completely sorted out. The future of skill based gambling seems to differ based on the number of players playing it and casinos will have to change their financial strategies to match these differences.
Single Player skill gambling would seem to need random factors being added to the game in order to make it sustainable. Of course this is a vague solution. It'll be hard to balance what random factors are needed to prevent winning, but still offer a satisfying game. These factors are much harder to plan for when players interact with a game, when compared to players just spinning or drawing randomly generated numbers.
But as a basis, this seems to be the future of single player and multiplayer gambling. One would require random factors from the game itself, while multiplayer games can have those random factors come from the players themselves, since the casino rakes the overall winnings and doesn't have to risk its own money.
It'll be interesting to see what casinos come up with, especially in the more complicated world of single player skill gambling. But until then, we can only imagine that the culture of games today will only make this form of gambling more popular. It's up to the casinos to decide how to control it.