Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Hannah Dreier / The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Gaming industry representatives stop to play various slot machines at the Global Gaming Expo on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Moving away from moving parts to video technology, the venerable slot machine is undergoing a generational shift.
Advocates who work around gambling addiction worry the shoot 'em up bonus rounds could hurt "escape gamblers," who use wagering as a narcotic to forget about real world dilemmas.
"Any design feature that encourages increased play has the potential to affect problem gamblers," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
The dynamic has some of IGT's competitors predicting recreational players will tire of video game conceit.
Several years ago, Bally rolled out a Pong slot machine that let players bounce a rudimentary ball during bonus rounds. But the interlude never boosted winnings more than 4 percent.
Skilled Centipede players will be able to increase their winnings far beyond that, and future games may raise the payout for hand-eye coordination eve more, IGT game designer Keith Hughes said.
"We're figuring out how to deliver video games to players in a wagering environment, and this game is helping us figure out the best way to do it," he said.
In 10 years, millennials who played Grand Theft Auto in college dorm rooms in the 2000s might find their old favorite blinking on the casino floor, a perfect storm of vices.