Could Video Game Style Gambling Be On Its Way To Pennsylvania?

December 1, 2016

Slot machines are still the biggest revenue generator for Pennsylvania casinos, by a wide margin.

But a new type of game — sort of like slot machines but not really — could be on the way to the state next year.

VGTs coming in PA?

Video gaming terminals (VGTs) are a new form of skill-based gambling that is coming to some US casinos.

VGTs are already live in New Jersey after winning approval from regulators. Casino patrons are likely to see them in Nevada casinos early in 2017.

The games are a sort of hybrid between slots and video games. The skill in playing a VGT impacts if and how much a user can win; however, payouts are still metered somewhat like they are for slots.

The games are meant to attract potential gamblers who aren’t interested in slot machines but might be attracted by a more interactive experience. The burgeoning VGT industry believes it is the key to capturing the millennial market for gambling.

Among those interested? Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, according to Trib Live:

Some manufacturers are developing tabletop games in which two or three people play at one time. Others are investing in virtual gaming.

“All of those could be in our future,” said Andre Barnabei, vice president of slot operations at Rivers Casino.

More about VGTs

Right now, there are two major players trying to get VGTs in casinos around the country — and the world for that matter: GameCo and Gamblit.

Games from these designers can run the gamut from racing-style games to puzzle games.

The common element is that players have some sort of control over the outcome, which is never the case with slot machines.

Examples of these types games were on display at the recent Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas for the first time.

VGTs and controversy in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has experienced issues in regulating VGTs, particularly in who is allowed to have them.

An omnibus piece of gambling legislation in the statehouse included VGTs to some extent. That bill, however, only passed the House and not the Senate. Trib Live reports that VGTs are likely to be in a new gambling package introduced next year.

VGTs have also been controversial, as some interests in the state want VGTs to be allowed outside of casinos, in some private establishments like taverns. Such a provision was not in the latest version of the gaming bill.

Still, with the casino industry continually trying to adapt and attract younger demographics, a lot of jurisdictions with gaming are likely to see VGTs crop up in the coming years.

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