Fertitta breaks ranks; Roll them bones

By David McKee ~ May 19th, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

fertitta_webGolden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta, 56, may be a Baby Boomer himself, but he’s not satisfied with his Boomer-centric clientele. As he told the Southern Gaming Summit“One of my scariest things that is young people do not play slot machines.” He sees them drawn to mobile gaming instead“Those people are playing social games right now. They’re not really seeing casinos as appealing,” rejoined Credit Suisse analyst Joel Simkins.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Fertitta sees his core customer demographic dying out. What to do? Part of the problem is that younger slot players don’t want to ‘reset to zero’ every time they sit down at a slot game. They want some component that tracks and rewards their cumulative play. 

Patrick Moore, senior director of tech compliance for Gaming Laboratories International, calls it “exponential gaming” or “adaptive gaming.” As he explains, “it’ll recognize who you are and have stored information about your progress in that game. It will allow you to have new content and new experiences through the game and then pushing even further. If you get to a certain level you’re going to get bigger payouts, better odds, bigger prizes.”

“Is the next generation, with their iPhones and iPads, going to be interested in sitting at a slot machine? Probably not, but that’s what law allows us to provide,” added AGA President Geoff Freeman. He asked rhetorically if today’s players are interested in mobile gambling. He knows damn well they are and probably couldn’t resist bearding Sheldon Adelson. For that matter, Fertitta’s apostasy is welcome at a time when Adelson and Steve Wynn are showing signs of becoming old fogies, slow to adapt to a morphing industry.

Speaking of Wynn, his casino project in Everett — if approved — could change the city beyond recognition. And for the better. It’s an excellent story and well worth the reading.

If you have a hankering to get in touch with your inner Nathan Detroit and play a floating craps game, the Downtown Grand may have just the thing: “street dice.” The dice are double normal size but you don’t get to play them in the street, just in a special micro-alley next to the casino. Vital Vegas has the skinny on how you play this game, which seems like the sort of thing that would catch on here. It’s just at the Downtown Grand right now, but it wouldn’t surprising to see it in The Linq, for instance — probably outside O’Shea’s. (But not in CityCenter or MGM Resorts International‘s The Park, a gaming-free zone.)

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