Casinos of the future might look like arcades.
It's an idea that's been floating around for awhile as casinos struggle to bring in millennial gamblers. And while there are a few skill-based gambling machines in Las Vegas, they mostly resemble casino games that already exist.
GameCo wants to shake things up. They were the first to develop a Video Game Gambling Machine (VGM) that turns arcade-style games into something that lets you win your money back - if you're good enough.
Co-Founder and CEO Blaine Graboyes considers himself a lifelong fan of video games.
"I started out with my Atari 2600," said Graboyes, referring to the video game console released in 1977. "[But] PlayStation was really my pinnacle of gaming through college."
Currently, GameCo has VGMs in New Jersey, Connecticut, and North Carolina. They've recently established an office in Las Vegas, and they hope to bring more machines to Sin City within a year.
The company has also secured the rights to a popular fighting game called "Soulcalibur II," and plans on publishing games featuring Steve Aoki and "Terminator 2."
"I'm personally excited about that," said Graboyes. "'Soulcalibur' is my number one favorite game of all time."
There's a common perception that video games are for children. So with the future of gambling shaping up to resemble an arcade, some parents worry that companies are essentially marketing gambling toward their kids.
But Graboyes argues that we ought to rethink what a typical gamer looks like.
"The average gamer is actually 35 years old, and there are more adult female gamers than male teenage gamers," he said, citing a 2016 study by the Entertainment Software Association. "I think a lot of this hinges on outdated stereotypes of teenage boys in their parents' basements playing video games. That was definitely me when I was a teenager, but I'm 44 now, and I still play video games."
He also takes parents' concerns to heart when it comes to the ethics of VGMs. GameCo sponsors a number of responsible gaming events, and Graboyes himself has spoken at events promoting safe gaming.
Graboyes says that he's looking for an environment that "treats [gamers] like a VIP." And he feels that placing VGMs in casinos would provide the perfect environment for video game fans to unwind.