Aussie skill game developer targets US casinos

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Aussie skill game developer targets US casinos

An Australian games developer is hoping to make the most of the changing face of US casinos by developing games of skill for the American market.

Casinos in the United States face an enormous challenge to lure the next generation of gamblers. Statistics say that those over 50 spend twice as much in the major American casinos, such as those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and the battle is on to lure the computer gaming generation.

Both New Jersey and Nevada have altered regulations in the past 12 months to allow games of skill in their casinos.

The types of games mooted to be trialled include everything from Guitar Hero to Words With Friends. Sports games are another possibility as are eSports games such as Counter Strike GO, which has built a massive industry online.

Wicked Witch games, based in Melbourne, launched the wildly successful online game Catapult King in 2012, and see the opportunity to use similar games in a casino environment.

Their managing director Daniel Visser spoke to ABC TV program Lateline about Wicked Witch’s ambitions in the casino market.

“A few years ago we kind of sat down and came up with the realisation that casinos haven’t really changed in 50 years. And when you’ve grown up with PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox – games delivering sophisticated high-end graphic experiences – we just thought: “Hey, we’ve researched and developed this technology. We’ve got all this cutting-edge stuff,” he said.

“We went through lots of different versions and different “mechanics,” we call them, on how it works and how it sits on top of the maths model.”

Visser said the challenge was to ensure that there was an opportunity to cater for people who possess a wide range of skills, while also ensuring there was a commercial model for the casinos.

“What we’ve got now, we think, is a good balance between rewarding the people who are good but also not completely neglecting the people who aren’t so good,” he said.

“You can’t have a game where, if you have practiced at home, that you have 100 per cent chance of winning. You can’t have that. That doesn’t make sense. I think a casino would go out of business pretty quick if that were the case.”

Visser said the challenge was there to the world’s biggest casinos to adapt to the changing market and attract the next generation of gamblers.

“The casinos of the future are probably going to look very different than they do today. And so we saw that as an opportunity and a market. And that’s something that, yeah, we are jumping into,” he said.

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