Red October and the 2017 World Gaming Expo

By Nicholas Colon

9 am on October 2, 2017 at the Venetian Expo center was the first pre conference seminar of the annual World Gaming Expo that is held in Las Vegas. Just 10.5 hours earlier thousands of rounds from high powered weapons rained down on the crowd of a country music festival that was set up on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. And as new details are made available to the public additional questions arise in the minds of critical thinkers. Some particulars seem to be a stretch and there are many ordinary citizens who have taken to you tube and blogs that assert that they were at the event and insist that what the authorities are saying does not reflect their experiences.

I will not comment on the accuracy of the depictions on what did or did not happen on that tragic night where 58 people perished and over 500 people were injured, many of them seriously. But I will say that when instances are not handled uniformly, doubts of competency and trustworthiness will arise in many people’s minds. And there have been instances in history where governments have manipulated information to control the narrative as well suppress circumstances that reflect poorly on their officials. This compounds the overall suspicions that people have about tragic events. Never-the -less the city of Las Vegas and the gaming industry continues on, hindered, and at a reduced pace but it moves forward.

The attendees of the 2017 G2E conference were in a haze in the aftermath of the assault, but over the course of the week the conference goers slowly returned to the purpose of their yearly gathering. Mainly, the evolution of the gaming and directional forecasts’.

The 2017 G2E’s new games list saw the continuation of the push for skill based gaming that premiered in 2016. Slowly they have been gaining traction, but have not yet reached the critical mass of players needed to present a mode of disruption. In 2017 we are seeing G2E attendees continue to build on the initial foundation of skill based gaming presented in 2016. And more importantly they are learning from their missteps experienced on the initial roll out.

There were a few growing pains that skill based slot gaming companies experienced over the past year. The introduction of the first person shooter seemed to a natural fit for millennial players. They have playing games like Call of Duty and HALO for years. The factor’s that were erroneously over looked was the speed of the game and the available gambling dollars that this desired demographic has.

For these games the forgotten variables were a very fast play speed and not very many dollars to spend on the game. Players in first person shooter games like Halo are accustomed to having infinite ammo, and because the slot games are based on one reel spin for every pull of the trigger, the approach caused players to burn through their bankroll very quickly. This eliminated the value and time on device proposition for the player. 

Another aspect that was overlooked by the game developers was unfamiliarity of new games. Gamblit Gaming introduced a few table top bar games in 2016. Many of these games were not familiar to the public and consequently little interest was given to them by players. The internet offers a great opportunity for players to become familiar with new gaming concept. To combat the unfamiliarity dilemma we can likely see a major push in the free to play game market driven by social media. 

One game that did not suffer from the unfamiliarity dilemma that launched at the 2017 G2E was the slot game Casino Solitaire. For years I’ve heard rumors that Las Vegas Casinos had offered a gambling version of the classic game Solitaire. Most of the internet rumors orbited around the ideology that ‘a friend of a friend of my mailman saw it once, years ago’. I was never able to substantiate the rumors and more importantly I was never able to locate a photograph of the game being played at a casino; whether or not it was ever available in a casino no longer matters.

Casino Solitaire has been developed by the innovative casino gaming company Solitairus, and is now being offered as a skilled-based game for monetary play online at and will be a part of the new suite of games offered by the cutting edge online game development company, and will hopefully be available in land-based casinos in the not too distant future. With over 2 billion games of solitaire being played on pc’s across the globe, we think solitaire is a natural fit for the real money gaming space, says Danielle Benham, Director of Operations at

All of this has been made possible after Solitairus was able to get their math models supported and approved by gaming regulators, meaning the best possible return to players on the game of solitaire is being offered. The approved idea went on to be protected by Industrial Patent US8,721,415,B2, and Design Patent US D713,469.

Another new skill based concept that debuted at this year’s G2E conference was a casino versions of classic arcade games. Gamblit Gaming has heavy marketing campaigns promoting their newest title Pac Man. The general feeling is that skill based gaming will promote time on device for players and, increase the value proposition for the gamer.

Skill based gaming has a downside for the operators. That being an advanced skilled player will be able to gain a positive expectation from the game. Casino operators do not want this to happen as it negates valuable revenue stream. Note that the revenue from gaming and non gaming sources is approximately 30% and 70% respectively. As a result the casinos will likely be forced to reduce comps for the players of these games to compensate for the reduced edge. As of now it’s my opinion that operators and developers are struggling to find that tension between a solid hold percentage and time on device via skill based gaming.

The inherent problem that I see with casino resorts is that they are working against themselves. This means they are simultaneously trying to create value for their players and eliminating value for their players. In the skill based gaming avenue they want to prolong time on device to give the player longer play experience and on the opposite end of the spectrum they are eliminating value from their players with unexpected cost like resort fees, which can be up to $30 dollars per day, cost for parking which average around $10 dollars a day and in the most orthogonal product move to date they are charging patrons for alcoholic beverages. Its changes like these that is moving Las Vegas away from what made Las Vegas such a great destination getaway. 

Another topic of discussion at this year’s conference was the implications of the expected legalization of sports betting throughout the US via a positive court ruling that is expected in June 2018. The decision would open the flood gates for wagering across the US on the all types of sporting events. This opens the customer base up exponentially and would force sports book to adapt by offering online wagering via sports betting apps and provided new challenges for operators as they compete with the online markets. The expected outcome is that the average wager would reduce dramatically, but the overall volume would increase so much that exceptional profits will still be obtainable.

The 2017 Gaming expo was hindered by the tragic events of October 1, 2017. Many of the participants seemed not that concerned with the gaming world. And it was hard to get enthused by any new ideas that were being presented. Even today Las Vegas does not have the enthusiasm and electricity that it had prior to Oct 1st. In time it will return to its original character. It is possible that some of the new concepts presented at this year’s expo will help it along. It is more likely that Las Vegas, like the airlines after the 9/11 tragedy will struggle for a while and then return to a reduced state of normalcy.