Choosing a new game to add to your gaming floor is an important decision and one that can often involve a financial risk. Often gaming managers chose games they like personally but making a strategic choice, based on solid data, is more involved and frequently more successful. There are many tools you can use these days to assist in making the choice and balancing out your gaming floor to interest a wide range of players.


Know your club’s gamer market.

A game chosen for the 40+ male smokers in your outdoor gaming area should be different to a game chosen for the regular 60+ female players indoors. Before choosing a new game, consideration should be given to what market you are purchasing the new game for… it might be a mix of players or a specific group, but this will impact on what you choose to buy. If you have started segmenting your gaming floor by player type, it’s also important to consider where the machine is going to be placed and choose a game that is appropriate for that market.

Industry benchmarking tools.

Using game benchmarking tools, like the MAX performance rankings, that your sales reps can give you, can be one of the easiest options to check on game popularity. Picking the top games from the rankings is a pretty simple way of choosing a game that could work on your gaming floor.  It’s not always foolproof if the games are new to market, but over time, it has some merit. It is also important to consider your clubs players and the size of your gaming floor. Just because a game works well at a large Sydney Club and tops the rankings, doesn’t mean it will work in your 40 machine regional club. This is where your reps can help.

Use the reps.

Gaming manufacturers’ sales reps are great sources of information on what’s working, and what isn’t, in the market. More specifically, they will know what is working well in clubs of a similar size and type to yours and can steer you in the right direction. It makes no financial sense for a rep to sell you something they don’t believe will work as it costs them money to replace it under a performance warranty. They want to sell you the best game they have, and they know the target market of the game. Remember, reps see more gaming machine ranking reports than most other people in the industry, so their knowledge is always helpful.

Talk to your peers.

Giving other gaming managers a call to ask about game performance, is a good way of testing a game. Speaking to venues that have a similar size gaming floor and customer base as yours can provide a good indication of what a new game is like, and most importantly, who is playing it.

Everything old is new again.

Like any business, gaming manufacturers must make the most profit out of the resources they have.  Games are frequently ‘cloned’ or slightly adjusted and tweaked, to make the most out of their math and art investment. Older successful games are frequently still with us and should be just as effective now as they were originally. When a new version is released, it’s a fair bet that it will work too, so always ask if a new game has been based on an old or existing performer and if so, which game it is. If the older version worked for your players before, and there has been an added level of interest through a twist on a feature it is likely to work for the same players again.

Try something different.

There’s a downside to everyone using the same bench marking tools to choose games – we all end up offering the same thing to our players. Having a point of difference can pay off and often it only takes one good player to lift a game above floor average.

When buying a new machine that has a game performance warranty, sometimes it’s worth trying something new and you can convert later without any financial impact if it doesn’t work. Of course, if you are changing a game under a warranty, it would make more sense to make a less risky game choice.

Play the game yourself.

There is a very big difference between playing a game at a trade show and playing it in real life. To see how your customers will feel about a game, you need to put your own money in it and see how it plays and the type of player it will suit. Casinos and larger clubs who need variety are often quick to introduce new games within a few weeks of the game release – pay a visit to a large venue nearby and play the machine.

Expert gaming knowledge

Making personal decisions tends to be effective only for the demographic group that you belong in – so use the available data and industry game benchmarking tools to spend the clubs money on new machines wisely. In the end, a game performance warranty will often resolve issues related to a poor game choice, but gaming managers need to be “the experts” in the games and their features. That’s your job: to understand what features and game styles are best suited to the players at your club or hotel and make every effort to ensure you choose games that suit.


Justine Channing – Gaming Specialist