The land-based gaming market is diversifying, as casinos continue to expand. We are seeing casino operators adding more non-gaming elements to attract a wider range of players, so gaming industry professionals are questioning whether or not slots are still relevant. According to a panel at the G2E Global Gaming Conference, the manufacture of slot machines is still very important to casino customers.

Non-gaming elements are starting to play bigger roles in the success of casinos. Nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centres, hotels and entertainment are all features that are crucial to casino customers, and there has been doubt that slots are as important as they used to be. However, pokies continue to remain relevant as we are seeing more young people playing gaming machines.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, young adults are getting more involved in playing pokies. To keep up with younger player tastes, companies like Amaya Gaming are making their titles more interactive and player-focused. “There needs to be a healthy mix, and slots have to be more entertainment-centric,” says David Baazov, CEO of Amaya Gaming. “It’s an increased demand from the customer that is driving us to innovate.”

While poker machine manufacturers must aim to attract young people in order to drive business, they must also make sure that they do not alienate older players. Some of the newer features that young players will enjoy may not necessarily be attractive to older players who are used to playing classic games. “We have to make products that are relevant to the players,” says International Game Technology CEO Patti Hart.

“We’re the only industry that spends all our (research and development) dollars before a customer can play a game.” As such, the design of poker machines is still very much relevant to the success of casinos. Players continue to have discerning taste when it comes to electronic gaming, and manufacturers pay close attention to their needs.