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Japan May Have More Focus on Skill-Based Gaming Machines

Gaming industry experts are expecting skill-oriented electronic gaming machines to be popular in Japan’s soon to regulated casino market. These games usually involve a percentage being returned to the player on basis of performance in skill elements.

A panel of casino equipment suppliers backed this opinion during the second day of the Japan Gaming Congress. Many of the experts pointed to the fact that the Japanese consumers were already comfortable with games that contained elements of skills referring to the popular games pachinko and pachislot. Such games have been categorized as leisure games by Japanese authorities rather than gambling.

Thomas Jingoli, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of gaming equipment supplier Konami Gaming Inc. pointed out that the game of pachinko had several elements of skills and stated that he was fairly certain that the games introduced in the Japanese market will have similar elements that require a certain degree of skills.

Games involving a return to player (RTP) for player skill aren’t new but only recently has there been an interest in them. The millennial customer group is said to be the main target for such games as they have not been very attracted to traditional slot machines. Gaming markets have been experimenting with offerings that are different from regular slot machines in order to boost engagement levels among the younger generation. The state of Nevada recently cleared a bill that allows slot machines to add in skill-based elements.

In New Jersey, GameCo Inc, a maker of skill-oriented video game gaming machines has said that it has received approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to install its range of products at properties owned by Caesars Entertainment group in Atlantic City.

In a statement, Takashi Maekawa, vice president for business development at Sega Sammy Creation Inc said

It could be perfect timing for skill-based games to be introduced in Japan since all the other mature markets like Nevada have started to introduce those games. Maybe by the time [a] casino is opened in Japan, we will probably be in the second or third phase of developing skill-based games, giving us time to learn what kind of skill-based games works in the market.

Investment firm Morgan Stanley states that casino openings in Japan are likely to happen only after the year 2021. It is highly likely that the games offered in 2021 will have a completely different feel to them than traditional casino games.

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