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Skill-based games’ early returns encourage Gamblit chief

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Steve Marcus

People try out a “Brew Caps” game at the Gamblit booth during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016.

Gamblit at 2016 G2E

The Gamblit booth is shown during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. Launch slideshow »

Less than a week after some of the first skill-based gaming machines debuted in Nevada at Planet Hollywood, very preliminary returns look good, says the CEO of Gamblit Gaming, the company that built them.

The games, Cannonbeard’s Treasure and Gamblit Poker, are the first fully skill-based casino games to go live in Nevada. They began operating at the Caesars property on March 30 as part of a field trial, made possible by the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s “Innovation Beta" plan, that allows quicker testing and approval of new gambling technology.

Eric Meyerhofer, CEO and a founder of Gamblit, was asked about the games by A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Control Board, at a hearing Wednesday. Meyerhofer was there to testify for an unrelated financial issue concerning his company when Burnett took a moment to ask about the progress of the games.

Meyerhofer replied that the results so far are promising.

“Things are going great,” Meyerhofer said, explaining how he had made time to watch how customers were interacting with the games. “The people were younger. I saw some great crowd enthusiasm. People were fist-bumping even when they were losing, which is a great sign. I saw a lot of families playing and people sitting for an hour-and-a-half jawing with each other.”

Meyerhofer mentioned a few points of interest about the way the games are being played so far:

• Average play time is around 45 minutes.

• Some people are playing for a couple of hours at a time.

• He saw a lot of cases where, because the game was unfamiliar, players would only bet small amounts, about $2. But as they played, they would bet larger amounts, about $20.

Meyerhofer cautioned that it was still very early. But he said he was encouraged that the earnings were coming at a rate that would justify having the games on the floor.

“The big thing to know is ‘Are we finding new dollars? Are we growing the market?’” he said. “And it looks like we are skewing younger.”

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