New Games And Casino Floor Trends From G2E
The Global Gaming Expo (G2E) returned to Las Vegas. Attendance for the annual casino gaming and industry conference was almost back to normal. There were nearly 25,000 in attendance at The Venetian Convention and Expo Center.
The number of people in Las Vegas for the event was nearly doubled from last year and just 2,000 people shy of 2019. G2E felt even more crowded but that could just be a perception compared to last year.
The G2E conference has two important tracks – industry and expo.
The one that matters most to casino visitors is the expo. While the panels are useful for the industry to share their experiences, it’s much less interesting for consumers than the expo.
This tradeshow is where manufacturers of casino games, products and services showcase products they’ll have available over the next year.
The expo floor at G2E is a lot like a casino. It’s made up mostly of new but traditional slot machines.
However, casino operators at G2E also shop for everything you see inside of a casino. There are ATM/bill breakers, uniforms, different kinds of chairs, air filtration systems and more.
There are a lot of fascinating items available but we’ll focus on things we saw and heard that you shoul d expect to see in casinos sometime within the next year.
— Circa Las Vegas (@CircaLasVegas) October 12, 2022
Aruze Gaming makes some of the most unique games for casinos. Last year the company revealed the Go Go Claw game during G2E. In 2018, the company shared a prototype of the Roll To Win craps game that’s still relatively new in casinos across the country.
This year Aruze shook the amusement game tree again and released a Rock Paper Scissors casino game. The game is only available at Circa in downtown Las Vegas at this time. Not coincidentally, this is one of the first casinos to offer Go Go Claw after G2E last year.
Rock Paper Scissors operates like a slot machine using a random number generator. Players simply need to select rock, paper or scissors and they win or lose based on whichever selection the computer chooses. That’s it.
There are other gaming manufacturers offering unique casino games but they don’t have the track record of getting placement on casino floors in Las Vegas and around the country.
Year after year Aruze offers something different for casinos. The company dropped a new version of the extremely popular Shoot To Win craps machine that has been in casinos for years.
So many new BUFFALOOOOOOOOOOO slots coming out in the next year. pic.twitter.com/8uUN5k3Iwe
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) October 12, 2022
Buffalo slot machines are annually among the most popular in casinos. This year Aristocrat showed off three new Buffalo slot machines that will be in casinos sometime in the next year.
The company isn’t reinventing the wheel with these games. The content of the games exists already. The combinations are new.
Buffalo Lightning Link, Buffalo Grand Wheels Of Reward and Buffalo Strike all use existing game mechanics. Adding the popular theme to the sought-after gameplay should result in happy casino visitors.
There’s no specific timeline for the release of these three games but they should all be in casinos by next summer. In the meantime, fans of this theme can play the newly released Buffalo Grand Delux, Ascension or Jackpot Carnival.
Gameshow slot machines
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) October 11, 2022
Wheel Of Fortune (WOF) from IGT is the most popular slot machine branded for a TV game show. There are seemingly hundreds of WOF-themed slots in casinos at any given time with new games released every other day (give or take a month).
IGT continues to release slot machines based on this and other game shows. This year the company released a Let’s Make A Deal slot machine at G2E.
One of the unique game show slot machine concepts comes from Konami. The company showed off a Buzzr slot machine at G2E.
Buzzr is a digital TV station that showcases old game shows. The base Buzzr slot machine is a traditional video slot game. When a player hits a bonus the game randomly selects a feature based on the game shows Card Sharks, Family Feud or Beat The Clock.
I sampled the game in search of the Card Sharks bonus but only had the chance to try Beat The Clock. Sad trombone.
Another slot machine manufacturer, Everi, had a new version of its Press Your Luck slot machine at G2E. This game compliments its Snoop Dogg Joker’s Wild slot machine which is still incredibly loud in some casinos.
Wheel of Fortune is the gold standard for gameshow slot machines with long-term staying power and popularity. Over the years there have been slot games for other games shows but none have had a long-lasting impact.
New reel slot machines
New Top Dollar slot machine! pic.twitter.com/T6AzOtLVLZ
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) October 11, 2022
Slot players of a certain age prefer playing traditional reel slot machines instead of the video options that occupy the vast majority of the casino floor today.
It was refreshing to see that almost every major slot machine manufacturer had new reel slot machines on display at G2E. Some games use new themes while others are just updated versions of old games.
While it’s always fun to see a new Top Dollar slot machine, there’s something special about the simplicity of the original single-line game. It’s even better when the new version offers the Double Top Dollar feature.
As a reel slot machine player, it’s great to see the old themes get new cabinets. It might be even better that there are new themes with traditional gameplay.
I’ll save my opinion on the games until I play and win or lose. That’s reely what matters. Punny typo intended.
Top secret NFL slot machine
Two of the many revolving gatekeepers protecting the NFL slot machine. pic.twitter.com/ombwBmxnNm
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) October 12, 2022
Earlier this year Aristocrat announced it would be releasing NFL-themed slot machines. One would think that G2E would be a perfect place to reveal the game.
Not so fast, my friend.
The company had one prototype of its NFL slot machine. It was hidden inside of a helmet at its booth and protected at all times by at least two employees.
My group touring the booth wasn’t offered even a peek inside the helmet to see what slot players could expect when the NFL-themed slot machines are released next year.
One thing we do know is the game will be a single machine with interchangeable themes for different teams. Players will b e able to select their favorite team no matter where the casino is located.
For example, this New York Jets fan in Las Vegas can play a slot machine on the Vegas Strip that is themed for his favorite NFL team. Approximately a third of all NFL fans don’t live in the city where their favorite team is located. This makes for a great solution so that anyone can enjoy the game.
Look for this to debut before the season next year.
Peak Bartop with sports betting
IGT actually debuted a similar version of the new Peak Bartop With Sports Betting at G2E last year. As the name suggests, this is a bartop multi-game (video poker, slots, keno, etc.) machine that offers sports betting as well.
The regular (non-sports) Peak Bartop machines are already in casinos. The new version that offers sports betting should appear in casinos before the end of the year.
This game is so impressive that it won the award for “Land-Based Product of the Year” at G2E without actually being available in casinos.
The game is set up like a regular multi-game bartop machine. The sports betting section isn’t even noticeable unless a player expands the screen.
Using the sports betting popout in the machine is similar to placing a sports wager on a kiosk. There are live and pregame options available. Players can make single-game wagers, futures bets, parlays, etc.
One thing that stands out with this game is that players can use the same money for both machine play and sports betting. For example, if a player puts $100 in a machine to play video poker while watching a football game they can place an in-game wager on that game on the sports betting application using however much they’d like to bet from what’s left in the game.
They can resume playing video poker or another game with the remaining money.
A look at the new casino floor
The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot of things around the world. Needless to say, this also impacts the casino experience.
While the pandemic may have accelerated some changes, most casinos today already had those changes underway.
Casino operators have been slowly changing the gaming floor for a few years prior to the pandemic. However, gaming regulations in many states required casinos to add space between machine games.
Some casinos opted to turn off some video poker and slot machines to create space. Others chose to reconfigure the gaming floor with smaller pods of machines spread out.
Casino designers think this is a trend that guests actually like and will continue in the future.
Similarly, casinos have been adding Stadium Gaming and Electronic Table Games (ETG) for the past five years or so. The pandemic sped this up and there are more non-slot or video poker machines than ever.
In fact, every Caesars casino on the Vegas Strip has a stadium gaming installation. Not all casinos have the space for large units but they all have some form of ETGs. Most casinos in Las Vegas at least offer a selection of individual or multi-player video gaming units for blackjack and other traditional games.
Last but not least, Covid-19 forced casinos to offer more digital products on and off the casino floor. Things like keyless entry and mobile payments became popular during the peak of the pandemic.
Just about every gaming manufacturer is offering casinos a cashless option for players. Depending on local regulations, this can be similar to adding funds to a game from a phone without visiting a casino. Of course, Nevada casinos require players to visit a casino in order to establish a cashless account.
Casinos are moving forward trying to make the experience similar to the rest of the world today where almost anything can be done from a phone.
Players can now gamble without using paper money. This account is often connected to a loyalty account so players earn rewards with their play. Players may no longer need to use a physical rewards card either.
Similar to being able to still use a key card to enter a hotel room, players can use a rewards card and cash if they prefer. Someday far in the future the entire casino experience will start using a mobile device.