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Gaming Guru

 

A Glimpse into the Future

1 October 2003

The American Gaming Association recently released the results of a survey of key gaming executives discussing the future of the gaming industry. The AGA's "Future Watch Series" survey will be done on an annual basis in conjunction with the Global Gaming Expo and will serve as a tool to help examine future industry trends. In this survey, its first year, the AGA polled "the industry's leading gaming operations executives" and asked what the casino of the future might look like.

The survey reveals that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of the executives believe that casino resorts will continue to rely on themes for their resorts. Yet, the same majority (62 percent) believe that there is a brighter future for smaller properties as opposed to the mega-resorts of the 1990's. Thus, the trend seems to be toward smaller, more sophisticated resorts with themes.

The survey also revealed that a substantial majority of the executives believe that table games portion of the casino revenue will decline from the level today. Forty-seven percent of the industry executives think table games, in fact, have a future, but at the same time they believe there will be a slight decline in revenue attributable to such games. An additional 23 percent believe that table games contribution to gaming revenues in 10 to 15 years will decline substantially. Yet, the survey suggests that what are considered traditional table games today may evolve with new technologies. Eight-five percent of the respondents suggested that they had heard about new electronic table games technology, and 54 percent believe that the integration of table games and technology will resurrect the popularity of these types of games.

The survey also suggests that the advances in technology will change the future of gaming machines. Yet, 54 percent believe that the traditional reel-type slot machine will always have a future with some casino customers. So, what kind of advancements are likely with regard to slot machines? Nearly one-third of the respondents believe that in the future games will be downloaded directly from game creators and suppliers - thus, making it easier for a casino to have the variety desired by its customers. Yet, a majority of respondents have indicated that they believe slots will remain as networked independent, machine-centric devices, rather than being "dumb" terminals with a central server system. Nearly one-quarter of the respondents believe that 100 percent of the U.S. gaming machine market will be cashless in 10 years. Seventy-eight percent believe it is "very" or "somewhat likely" that there will be a market for games making use of virtual reality or holographic technology within 10 to 15 years.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, you can count on there being many changes. The successful innovations always seem to come in the areas that are truly customer driven and focused. Cashless technology, for example, is exploding in popularity because it solves the problem of waiting for a hopper to fill for customers. Smaller, more sophisticated hotels mean a more enjoyable experience for the customer. What all this means is that the casino patron wins by an enhanced experience during a night or a weekend on the town.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com