Gaming | 14 Mar 2018 | By Mark van Dijk

Game On!

Time Square Casino in Pretoria

While you’re keeping a laser focus on your slots screen or your blackjack table, it’s easy to ignore what’s happening elsewhere on the casino fl oor. So what are you missing? What are the trends and innovations that are being introduced around the world, and specifi cally at Sun International? We took a look around and found that there’s a lot to be excited about.


While many table games, such as Poker, require skill and chance, slot games are based on the luck of the draw. The result is entirely out of your hands. But what if it wasn’t?

Visitors to the recent Global Gaming Expo 2017 trade show in Las Vegas saw interesting examples of new skills-based games, which combine luck and strategy. ‘A lot of our suppliers are focusing on this new trend,’ says Maartin Olckers, Group Gaming Product Manager at Sun International. There are skills-based gaming test sites open in Las Vegas, ‘but we haven’t seen any results yet to show whether it’s having an impact or not’.

Skills-based games are designed to appeal to younger gamers, many of whom have grown up playing video games, and who enjoy challenges when they play. ‘There’s a concern in the gaming industry around attracting this new generation of gamers. The question we’re asking is, how can we get millennials into our casinos? The thinking is that they’re more interested in gaming than in gambling. From a game development side, the industry is looking at how it can make slot games attractive to this younger market,’ explains Olckers.


‘Virtual reality is part of the discussion around skills-based gaming,’ Olckers says. There’s a growing sense across the world that casino gaming developers have their eyes on this new and exciting technology. A recent report by tech analysts Grand View Research predicted the VR gaming market will be worth a huge US$45-billion by 2025. Naturally, we’ll see that technology spreading into casino gaming as well.


Another trend is content-based games, or licensed software. ‘It’s been a trend here for the past decade or so and it’s based on the idea of attracting new gamers by using brands they’re already familiar with,’ says Olckers. On the casino fl oor you’ll see an Avengers game here, Game of Thrones game there. ‘If you’re not a gamer but you do follow the movies or the TV series, there’s a chance that the brand recognition will trigger something that might get you to try the game,’ he adds.

Global trend watchers are looking at content-based games to take things a step further this year, off ering content in the form of in-game video clips as rewards for progressive wins.


On 18 December 2017, South Africa’s National Gambling Board implemented its new, technologically advanced National Central Electronic Monitoring System to provide better control over limited payout machines (LPMs). These are slot machines with a limited payout of R500. (If you’ve played Sun Slots you’ll be familiar with them.) The system will control the daily operations of the LPMs, giving players well-rounded protection in case of a malfunction or situation of confl ict. While this won’t affect Sun International’s casinos, it will aff ect Sun Slots. With Evolution’s advanced technology ‘the industry will fi nd itself being supported far more effi  ciently, while punters will also benefi t from newer, more user-friendly ways of gambling on LPMs that would enable the industry to grow’, says South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

‘The question we’re asking is, how can we get millennials into our casinos? The thinking is that they’re more interested in gaming than in gambling.’ -Maartin Olckers