Bill approving slots with skill factor heads to governor

15 May 2015
A bill backed by Nevada’s gambling equipment manufacturers that would allow slot machines to add a skill-based, arcade-style element to the game has been approved by both legislative chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

Senate Bill 9 was proposed by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and came of out of last year’s interim study committee that looked at the effect of technology on gaming.

The idea was to create slot machines that have elements of skill and other features to attract younger gamblers. The bill calls for the Nevada Gaming Commission to draft regulations allowing the development of the technology.

The state Senate approved the bill on a 20-0 vote April 14, and the Assembly passed the bill Thursday on a 41-0 vote.

AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater said Gov. Brian Sandoval had expressed early support for the bill as part of his platform to keep Nevada as the hub for the world’s gambling technology.

“I believe we will look back on the passage of SB9 as a monumental moment for the gaming industry and its overall evolution,” Prater said.

“The slot floor will not transform overnight, but this will allow our industry to capitalize on radical new gaming concepts and technologies and give AGEM members the ability to unleash a new level of creativity for their casino customers.”

Prater said the state’s largest slot machine manufacturers backed the bill, which allows for regulations to create variable payback technology.

Under the concept, gamblers could play a slot machine with an 88 percent payback, but the figure could jump to 98 percent if the player was proficient in a video game skill element that would be part of the bonus round, such as shooting down enemy airplanes or outracing other players in a road race.

AGEM said the new technology could increase slot machine play in the Nevada by attracting players who traditionally play arcade games and other forms of nongambling experiences. And players can have a direct material financial impact on the outcome of the game.

“We are excited that Nevada will be the first in the world to offer this innovative new form of gaming,” said AGEM board President Tom Jingoli, who is the chief compliance officer of Konami Gaming.

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