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December 28, 2016

Skill-Based Gambling Machines Expand To Tropicana Atlantic City

Corey Goldberg December 28, 2016
Tropicana VGM

Skill-based video gaming machines (VGMs) are proliferating in Atlantic City.

Just a few months after GameCo Inc. launched its first skill-based gambling machines in New Jersey, its games are now available at the Tropicana.

VGMs were already available at Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars AC and Harrah’s AC.

Who is GameCo?

GameCo Inc. is an innovative new company that was the first to introduce skill-based VGMs to the world of casino gambling.

Tropicana VGMThe company, founded by Blaine Graboyes, brought together executives from Scientific Games and IGT as well as award-winning producers from gaming giants such as Blizzard Entertainment, WarGaming, Ubisoft and Dreamworks.

Where are VGMs headed?

Danger Arena (pictured), a first-person shooter style game and GameCo’s flagship product, is currently the only of its kind available to the public.

The company recently announced a new deal that will allow the company to produce several new VGMs based on popular Paramount Pictures films.

Currently under development are;

  • A racing game based on “Mission: Impossible”
  • A hidden object game based on “Paranormal Activity”
  • A platformer based on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

With the somewhat generic Danger Arena continuing to gain popularity, we can expect these Paramount branded VGMs to spread even more rapidly once they are on the market.

More on the Trop and VGMs

According to a press release from the Tropicana, they will have added nine Danger Arena machines in prominent locations on the casino floor.

“Tropicana is thrilled to bring you more exciting experiences with the addition of GameCo,” said Steve Callender, general manager of Tropicana. “GameCo provides the first gambling experience that appeals to video gamers. It will bring a new level of fun and entertainment to Tropicana and is a perfect addition for our Slots In The Quarter gaming area.”

Graboyes responded with similar sentiments saying, “We’re thrilled to be expanding deployment of our VGMs in Atlantic City with Tropicana.

“As someone who spent my childhood summers on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, it’s equally exciting and humbling to be the leader in bringing video game gambling to casinos. Gamers deserve a ‘VIP Experience’ and casinos such as Tropicana are the perfect venue to provide a unique destination and entertainment program.”

What’s next for GameCo?

According to the Tropicana’s press release, GameCo is in the process of planning a national and international rollout of its products. It expects the number of titles as well as the number of VGM terminals to spread quickly to other jurisdictions.

With the addition of the Tropicana VGMs, there are already 30 Danger Arena game terminals in operation.

“In 2017, we will be releasing many new games in multiple genres including sports, fighting, racing, platformers and casual games,” Graboyes told Online Poker Report. “Many of these games will incorporate well-known brands from film, TV and video games.”

Remaining Land-Based Atlantic City Casinos Fail To Increase Win After Taj Mahal Closes

Corey Goldberg December 28, 2016
Trump NJ casino closed

On Oct. 10, 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors to Atlantic City customers, but in the opinion of industry insiders, it wasn’t all bad news.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, analysts predict that the Taj Mahal’s annual revenue, estimated at approximately $180 million, will be absorbed by the remaining New Jersey casinos.

However, the closure of the fifth Atlantic City casino since 2014 didn’t live up to their expectations.

How well are the remaining New Jersey casinos doing?

The official New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement figures indicate that despite the closure of the Trump Taj Mahal, the remaining Atlantic City casinos are struggling more than ever.

This November’s $180.11 million win represents a 5.8 percent decrease compared to last year’s numbers. Even excluding the Taj Mahal’s figures, the industry grew by only one percent.

When the Taj Mahal shut down, it was doing battle with the UNITE HERE union’s local chapter over health care, pensions, and wages.

Wayne Schaffel, a gaming analyst, told the Press of Atlantic city that the Taj Mahal’s closure would not have a large positive impact on the revenue of other Atlantic City casinos.

Schaffel told the newspaper:

“What is going to happen is that those people who used to come to the city eight times a year are now going to come six times year and it’s going to continue to decline. I’m not surprised that all of the money didn’t come back into the city. That revenue is gone.”

Are all casinos in New Jersey on the decline?

Trump NJ casino closedNot every Atlantic City casino is suffering. On the contrary, several are doing quite well.

Tropicana led the rest of the pack with a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase. It brought in a monthly win of $25.31 million. Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino also saw its numbers jump by 6.6 percent, bringing in approximately $16.28 million for the month.

Resorts, which is partnered with PokerStars on the online poker front, did not do nearly as well and saw its land-based casino win rise by less than one percent, while the Borgata actually ended up taking a small loss compared to last November’s win.

Where is the decrease coming from?

The Atlantic City casino that fared the worst this November was Caesars, which posted an alarming 12.5 percent decrease, dropping its win to $21.31 million for the month.

Atlantic City’s fiscal crisis

As Atlantic City numbers continue to drop, it’s no wonder that New Jersey is looking elsewhere for a way out of its financial crisis.

In fact, a poll released earlier this month by Quinnipiac University showed that most Garden State residents (79 percent) oppose an expansion of casino gambling.

Just this year, New Jersey voters rejected gambling expansion into North Jersey, the state took over of the municipal government of Atlantic City, federal legislation that could possibly ban online gambling shifted closer to reality, and the Supreme Court of the United States continued to refuse to hear New Jersey’s case for sports betting.

With all of these negatives on the record, it remains to be seen what will happen to Atlantic City in the coming year.

Image credit: gary718 / Shutterstock.com

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