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Skill-based gaming needs support from ticket counters

With casinos considering skill-based play, money and ticket counters will be essential.

Money and ticket counters are a necessary tool that go hand-in-hand with slot machines. With tokens an unnecessary burden for both guests and gaming halls, tickets became a viable digital alternative. With a combination of ticket-in, ticket-out technology and barcode scanning, this minor change made it a lot easier for the cash cage to give players what they won at their games with speed and efficiency. However, the slots themselves haven't changed much since the introduction of video-based play back in the late 1980s. In a field ripe for disruption, skill-based gaming will likely have a great impact on what casinos offer in the coming years.

Money and ticket counters are never prone to chance

Slot machines and most video-based gambling equipment are known as chance games. A player puts in money and takes a risk, possibly winning more or less cash as a result. Card games such as blackjack and poker require some level of skill but are still heavily prone to chance based on what hands guests receive.

Many customers in today's casinos desire more than that, however. As millennials grow up and enter the workforce, they bring with them a youth filled with playing video games at home, which require skills and far less chance to master and finish successfully. Patrons of this age often see slots as uninteresting and a waste of money, thus deterring them from ever setting foot in a casino, save to visit a nightclub or bar.

Gambling halls, knowing this generation of consumers is the future, look to placate their desires by offering new games inspired by their old or current gaming days, according to Vegas Inc. These skill-based games or hybrids combine chance with actual playing. An example of this is Smoothie Blast by Gamblit. The machine functions very similarly to the highly popular puzzle game Candy Crush Saga, in which players must match fruits to put into a blender. Their payouts are dependent on what combinations they create. A more interesting example is Guitar Warrior, similar to instrument games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Each note's successful execution has a random wager placed on it, meaning expert players are more likely to win money.

There are two benefits to skill-based games: The first is incentivizing customers to keep playing by learning the game. The second is to ensure the house always wins while giving certain players a mathematical advantage. Many forces in the industry see this as the future. TribLive reported the Nevada Gaming Commission, one of the leading authorities of casino regulations in the U.S., drafted the first rules for these hybrid games and skilled play in September 2015. Its moves will open the door for casinos to turn into the arcades of the 1980s, only more elegant and with cash winnings at stake. As these games will be machine-based, money and ticket counters will be very important in this gaming revolution. With guests more likely to come to the cash desk with tickets in hand, efficiency in delivering cash they won will play a role in whether they return for another round.

January 28, 2016