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How slot machine makers try to accomodate video game-savvy gamblers

No matter how heavily slot machine makers integrate video gaming elements in their gambling machines, there is no real way players can affect the final outcome or payments — which in turn could turn off younger participants accustomed to skill-based rewards systems, according to a report on BuzzFeed.

According to the report, this "sleight of hand" that dupes players into thinking they can make a difference within their games is the same methods used in games like Angry Birds and Mortal Kombat that make them addictive. The report states that "manipulated perceptions have always been key to the casino experience," giving players the allusion of paying small stakes with the hopes of winning back a larger sum.

"We're pretty constrained by regulators whereas video games don't have those constraints, so what we do is kind of an illusion of control and interaction," Brett Jackson, director of game development at Bally Technologies, told Buzzfeed. "You are interacting with the game and doing certain things, but the outcomes in most cases are very much defined beforehand. It's really about your perception of how the play develops."

But the current generation wandering into casinos is more at home playing on video game consoles — hence why slot makers are making such a huge effort to create more themed machines and electronic-based "entertainment experiences." There are laws that prohibit games from letting skill affect the outcome, because this will give some players different odds than others — and likely result in a larger cash flow that could affect the house.

"This new video game generation is looking for something more," said Roger Gros, publisher of magazine Global Gaming Business. "You see that with the development of the bonuses and the second screens. The games are more interesting. Now they definitely have a video game mentality and feel — you actually race something or whatever. But here's where you come to the problem: It can't be skill-based, you can't be better than the machine. So they have to give you the impression that you're beating the machine but you just can't do that."

Moving forward, slot makers need to determine whether adding vide game elements to their machines will really attract younger gamers and keep them interested once these players realize it's mostly chance, not skill, earning them bucks.

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