The rise of skill-based golf games at casinos

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 21, 2020 12:07

For most of us, the most alluring thing about casino resorts is that they often have top-class golf courses attached to them. Then again, for some of us, the linking of the two is perfect; a round or two during the day, followed by a steak dinner and a few rounds of blackjack or poker in the evening. Rinse and repeat.

And yet, as we march into the 2020s, it is likely that you will see some changes on the casino floor. Blackjack and roulette games, for years seen as a constant in the casino industry, are starting to feel the pinch. In Nevada, for example, the number of blackjack tables has declined significantly in recent years. Then again, there isn’t an existential threat to casino profits or the long-term future of the industry. Trends are changing, and technology is playing a pivotal role.

Traditional games are under pressure

Other forms of casino games have grown in popularity to take a chunk of the action from the traditional table and card games. Consider the allure of jackpot slots, like the ones you can view here at, which can offer multi-million-dollar jackpots for relatively small stakes. Compare that to the 3:2 payout for a winning blackjack hand, which many Vegas resorts have lowered to 6:5, and you can see why patrons are eschewing the card tables for the slots.

However, there is perhaps a more exciting trajectory now being talked about among the tech-driven gaming operators – a move into the world of skill-based casino games. Several software developers have had their eye on this idea for a few years now, with some even giving up Silicon Valley to move operations to Nevada. Plenty of prototypes have already hit the gaming floors, essentially competitive video games, but there is a lot of buzz around where all this is going.

Games will be skill-based, but luck will count

So, could you be heading off to the Wynn or Bellagio casino floor to play Rory McIlroy: PGA Tour or Everybody’s Golf VR for cash? Not necessarily. The distinction must be made between skill games and skill-based games. The latter suggests that software will be used to ensure that the casino keeps its house-edge firmly intact. But having at least some elements of skill involved the game should be enough to entice players off the golf course and into the virtual golf arena on the casino floor.

Much of this is driven through a perceived need to update the casino floor to reflect the tastes of millennials better. Yes, we can argue that golf isn’t exactly a millennial-driven sport, but casino bosses fear that this generation is much more likely to eschew casinos, at least the gaming floors, too. The point is to attract a generation that is more likely to find entertainment online, and that hasn’t grown up with the allure of traditional casino games.

The pertinent question: Will it work? It would be foolish to dismiss ideas such as this, especially given how technology has had such a fundamental impact on entertainment and enterprise. As with everything from mobile phones to social media, purists might grumble to begin, but we can undoubtedly see competitive virtual golf on the casino floor by the end of the decade.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 21, 2020 12:07
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