Frogger Shows Skill-Based Gaming Can Breathe New Life into the Casino Industry

Frogger Shows Skill-Based Gaming Can Breathe New Life into the Casino Industry
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Frogger Shows Skill-Based Gaming Can Breathe New Life into the Casino Industry

“Frogger” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by quinn.anya

The average casino player is changing. As gaming preferences and concepts evolve and people become enthused by news ways to play, casino operators have been forced to expand their range of products and services. In fact, this idea was specifically acknowledged by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) back in 2014.

In a press release issued by the Director of the state’s gaming regulator, David Rebuck, the DGE outlined its intentions to allow “social” and “skill-based” gaming options in New Jersey casinos. Listed under P.L 2011, chapter. 19 of the state’s “New Jersey First” initiative, the new provisions allowed developers and operators to apply for a licence to offer games with a skill component to them.

Skill Games Appeal to a New Generation

“Playing Candy Crush on ipad” (CC BY 2.0) by m01229

Noted explicitly in the press release was the idea that games such as “Candy Crush and Words with Friends” now “appeal to a new generation of players” and that casinos in New Jersey should reflect this. Building on this, Nevada followed this move in 2015 with its own laws governing skill-based slots and games. With the market changing, developers from all sides of the gaming industry have started to look to live and online gaming as a way of not only introducing a greater element of “skill”, but making some revenue.

Indeed, the casino industry in Nevada is worth $11.1 billion on its own while iGaming is worth $45.86 billion according to Statista. In short, there is money to be made from casino players, and gaming companies are now looking to get a slice of it. For example, the Japanese game developer behind 1981’s arcade favourite Frogger, recently launched its own casino game at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Titled Frogger: Get Hoppin’, the skill-based casino game is the first new release from the franchise since Frogger: Ancient Shadow in 2005.

Casino Games Get a New Dose of Skill


Now, the release of Frogger: Get Hoppin’ might be one of the first fully “skill-based” casino games in Vegas, but that doesn’t mean some casino games don’t have a skill element to them. Take blackjack as an example. In our guide to the game, concepts such as knowing when to take insurance and understanding the laws of probability are cited as ways to help you improve your results. Thanks to the dynamics of blackjack, it’s possible for a player to use maths to make more informed moves at the table.

Similarly, if a player was to travel to London and take a seat inside Leicester Square’s Empire Casino Poker Room, they’d be able to use skill to their advantage. Whether it was the £50 freezeout on a Monday or the £20 rebuy on a Saturday, these tournaments require a lot of skill. From understanding mathematics and psychology to maintaining a straight face, skills are needed to pay the proverbial bills at the poker table.

However, with Frogger: Get Hoppin’ any element of luck has essentially been removed from the game. In simple terms, the player has to cross the road (as they would in any Frogger game), earn points and, at the end, spin a wheel. In this scenario, the only time you won’t have control over the action is when you spin the wheel bonus. Skilled players will always win a prize, and the only thing that luck dictates is exactly know how much it will be.

Skill Movement Opens Up New Possibilities for Other Casino Games

“Slots Corner @ Casino Royale” (CC BY 2.0) by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view

With skill-based games starting to gain some traction in the live casino world, it’s only a matter of time before they become popular online. In fact, what’s interesting is that there are already multiple games out there that could be injected with this new “skill” component. For instance, take the ever-popular Betway Casino slot, Game of Thrones. Under the game’s current dynamics, players get access to 243 ways to win across five reels. Unsurprisingly, the name of the game is to hit the spin button and roll in prizes. However, what if the operator was to offer a guaranteed win every spin, as long as you had to beat a skill-based task first? That task could be something like solving a puzzle or, in the spirit of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones, defending your kingdom from your rivals in a tower-defence type showdown – a bit like the popular Plants vs Zombies or Game in a Bottle’s Gemcraft series. The more enemies or swarms of enemies you kill, the more spins you get to make and the more you can win. While this would certainly be a departure from the traditional perception of online slots, it would fit nicely with the current move towards skill-based gaming.

Not only would it offer an element of “skill” into the slots world, it would mimic the “puzzle” dynamic of games such as Candy Crush. From a financial perspective, the sweet-themed match-three franchise has been a huge success. According to Think Gaming’s estimates, Candy Crush Saga rakes in $1.13 million each day across iOS and Android apps. However, what’s important to note here is that it’s not 100% skill-based, but it is skill based enough to keep players coming back for more. In fact, just like Frogger, where random obstacles can actually affect your score, no two games of Candy Crush are the same – which means there is always an element of luck and RNG involved.

There Will Always be Luck, but Skill Will Bring in New Players

“MontBleu Casino” (CC BY 2.0) by ChrisYunker

By way of comparison, a game of chess always has the same dynamics. Because of this, the more skilled player will win virtually every time and that often causes newbies to feel dejected and give up. In Candy Crush, two equally skilled players might not achieve the same score in a single session simply because the combination of symbols will be different (i.e. one may be more favourable). This fact actually makes the case for skill-based slots like the idea we’ve posited more realistic. Yes, skill would be the determining factor in any game, but there would always be a slight element of luck. The end result would be a game like that’s still “skill-based” but still has enough flexibility to make it appealing to casual players who might not be experts.

Whatever the future implications of skill-based casino games, it’s clear the industry is changing and, in some respects, for the better. Old assumptions on what casinos are or should be like are gradually being replaced thanks to this new focus on skill games. In fact, as the gaming industry as a whole starts to homogenise, we’re likely to see more casual players play both live and online. This, in turn, will further enhance the casino industry’s reputation and, moreover, help improve revenue figures across the board.

Started working in the Casino Industry in 1985, just never managed to leave as yet. Visited 99% of all UK Casinos, seen them all,

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