AMA: How to Invent a Casino Game (Setting up LLCs)

Inventing a casino game is like running a business. In this article you'll learn about LLCs, explaining and testing your game, writing an instruction manual, and making an elevator pitch. You'll also learn a bit about math reports, getting your game approved for play, and getting your game on casino floors.

Why You Want an LLC

When you invent a casino game one of the most important things that the inventor needs to do is to set up an LLC. This is to protect yourself. This is basically running a business. It is the same as if you invented a ketchup brand and you wanted to put that ketchup in the grocery store, you would start a business first. This venture has risks and yes rewards. But you want to be able to protect yourself legally.

So when you are inventing a casino game you always, always, always want to start by setting up an LLC or a business. We will talk more about this later in the show.

Write Down the Game Instructions

Today we are going to be talking about the process for inventing a casino game. The very first thing that you want to do is you want to write down the how to play instructions. I know a lot of casino inventors are like, “I known how the game is played in my head.” That is great, but that is not going to help you any. You need to sit down and get a piece of paper out or on a laptop and type it out. Anyway you want to do it. You need to get this down on paper, sorta speak. Write down the instructions on how to play the game.

Also, you do want to play the game. You want to take your game to your friends and your family. You want to play. If you want to get one of those large construction papers like in kindergarten, you can get this on Amazon. Do like the four foot by seven foot roughly. I can double check that. Do a full size drawing of a table. Draw what you think your table game is going to look like. Then sit down using pennies or nickels or quarters and then have you and a few friends play this casino game that you have invented.

One of the reasons you want to do this is because you work too close to the game as the inventor to see things that someone who doesn’t know what's going on may see immediately. Listen to what they have to say. If they ask any questions or don’t know how to play the game. All of these are going to help you create a better game. Whether you have to write the instructions on how to play rules down differently.

If you have to add some stuff. If there are certain situations where you are like, if this does happen what does the dealer do? Like how do I proceed forward? It is good to play several hands with your friends and family and work out these kinks before moving on.

Create an Elevator Pitch

The next thing you want to do after you have written the how to play instruction manual, is actually create an elevator pitch. So if you walked into an elevator and there was a casino manager there, what is your elevator pitch? How are you going to present this to the casino manager? Typically what you want to do is you want to keep it really short. You want to keep it under 30 seconds. If it is in between 15 and 30 seconds you are doing good. When you are writing this down, 15 to 30 seconds is typically 50 to 100 words. You want it no longer than a 100 words. Tell them what the object of the game is. Tell them how to play. What are the benefits? What is the house edge? You may not have this at the moment.

Compare games to different games. So if you're trying to explain your game quickly in 30 seconds, use two games that already exist that you can use as a reference. So for example, my game is roulette and craps mixed together. You know what roulette is and you know what craps are and then they are mixed together. Or we use the betting style of roulette with the dice like craps or something like that. So by using games that already exist, you can quickly explain what your game is to this casino manager, without using too much time.

LLCs and Other Game Invention Costs

We are going to talk a little bit about what we started this video with is creating an LLC. Again, this is just like creating a business. You want to have that LLC because this is going to protect you. This business depends on how you go. There are two different avenues that we are going to be talking about. The first road cost a lot more money than the second fork in the road. If you create an LLC this will help. It typically costs between $50,000 - $100,000 to develop a casino game. Yes you did hear me right. You don’t want all of that risk. Instead you want to create a business that will absorb that risk so that way you can get a business loan, you can get investors. If you want to start off cheap you can get credit cards and put everything on a credit card.

Now where is all of this money going? When you invent a casino game you have to have the math done for it. You typically go to companies called GLI is one or BMM. Let’s say if you went to GLI to get your math done, this can typically cost between $3000 and $5000 depending on the complexity of the game. Also depending on if you have an initial math report of that game. If GLI or BMM is going to have to do the math from scratch that is going to cost you more money. So you always want to hire a mathematician to do the math report before you go to GLI and have them do the math report.

Another thing that is going to cost a lot of money is an application to the Gaming Control Board. If you do the Nevada Gaming Control Board their application is typically $3000. So that is $6000 right there. You haven’t even started with marketing yet or developing or anything else. If you want to go to a conference such as the GTGC, GGPC which used to be known as Cutting Edge in the old days before Richard Marcus bought it. This is really good to go do because then you are presidenting your new game to a bunch of casino managers from all around America. You are basically pitching and demoing your game to willing participants.

Getting Your Game on Casino Floors

That is probably the hardest part about putting your game on the casino floor is just getting it in front of the casino manager's eyes. The casino manager typically gets about 5 to 10 people per month who are trying to sell their casino game to the casino. It might be more like 30. It's a lot. This conference has expenses such as flying to the conference, hotel room, renting the table, renting the dealer, you have to pay for electricity, you have to pay for wifi, and you have to pay for the booth. There is so much involved when it comes to these conferences that they typically end up being $10,000.

Also once you put your game in front of a casino manager, they might like the game but they will be like we are not going to put your game in our casino unless you change this, this and this. So then you have to go back and do a version 2. They will come back to you and they are like we really like your game but there is this one thing we don’t like. If you could change that then we will put your game in the casino. Then you have to do version 3. When you start doing different versions it adds up as well. Trademarks cost money. Patents cost money. Lawyers cost money. All of this stuff adds up. Then you can see how it quickly adds up to $50,000 to $100,000.

Get Help to Launch Your Game

So Vegas Aces, a lot of our clients are casino table inventors, we help you through the process of developing the casino game and getting the game into the casino. What we do is we typically have a new client meeting. It typically takes about an hour and we will go through the process. We will see where you are in the process already. We will find out where you want to go and what your goals are. We will come up with a strategy on how to move forward. When we do this we have a company wide NDA saying that we will not talk about your casino game with anyone else outside of the company. When you become a client of ours, we actually have you sign an agreement and in that agreement we have an official NDA in there that we will not talk about your game to anyone unless you are asking us to promote it. We also have something in the agreement where you own the artwork to everything. Anything that we do you own the rights to. So that is in that agreement as well. If you are interested in finding out about more that we offer. Go to our services page. You can see what we have.

We have logos, felt layouts, rack cards, lollipop signs, business cards, promo packets, promo flyers, dealer manuals, websites, inventor corner and demo game. You can see that all up here. For logos, we have different logos that we offer. Simple, medium, complex or specialty. You can see an example on our website. We also have felt layouts where you can design and print a felt layout. We do rack cards, it’s really good to have a rack card at your game. A rack card is going to tell players how to play the game. It will have the paytable on it and it will have the house edge on there. So these are really good for actually being on the game and explaining to people how to play your game. So we will do the design and the script and the printing.

We also do Lollipop signs that you see at the table. We will design those and create one and send it to you. If you need a business card we can do that. Now the promotional packets are specifically for casino managers to place your game in their casino. We will talk about this in the next section of content. In order to have a field trial, the casino that is going to host your field trial, needs certain things. These things are in the packet that we create for you. You can see examples of what we have done in the past. When you put your game in the casino you are also going to have to market it. We will talk about this in the next section. One of the great ways to market it is by putting table tent flyers in casino rooms. We also do dealer instruction manuals. So this will explain to dealers how to deal your game. It will also have dealer procedure in there for not just dealing your game but also game security and table protection. And if you need a website. I love this website. This is one of the websites that we created. I love how at the very beginning we have a sun and then you see the clouds and the sky. As you get further down you have the trees and the sea and the sand. I really love this. That is one of my favorite websites that we have done.

We also have if you want to be highlighted on Vegas Aces, we will do a whole page for you where we talk about your game and promote your services. We also do web-based demo game. If you need a playable demo. This is great for casino managers because you can just email them. They have a demo they can play if they have five minutes between meetings or something like that. This is a really great way to demo your game to casino managers, especially after Covid. We have all of the clients that we have done so far. You can find this at vegas-aces.com under services to find out more.

Renting v.s. Selling Your Casino Game

There are two paths you can take when inventing a casino game, you can either rent your game out to a land based casino, which we will cover today, OR you can sell your game to an online casino. We will talk about that in another video. So if you want to put your game on the casino floor, the first thing I tell my clients is it is extremely difficult. It is usually 1% - 4% of casino game inventors that actually get their game on the casino floor. It is really difficult to get into. If you do get your game on the casino floor, you are going to be renting it on a month to month basis. So a full game will be rented for about $500 a month. A side bet, let’s say if it is Lucky Ladies as an example, it’s a side bet on an already existing game, that is going to be about $250 a month. These numbers are not set in stone. There are plenty of people that go up to the casino and offer a deal for $450 instead of $500. Casino game inventors play with these numbers in order to give deals and discounts to entice casino managers to put their game on their casino floor.

Now you are not going to have your game on the floor starting out immediately making $500 a month. You have to do a field trial first. It is required by Las Vegas, Nevada Gaming Control Board that you do a field trial before you place your game in any casino. Every state is different. Las Vegas is seen as the gold standard, so I always tell my clients, if you are going to put your game anywhere, put it in Las Vegas first and then you will have an easier time putting your game in other casinos around America.

Understanding Field Trials

When you first start off you need to do a field trial. When you do this you offer the casino one free game for life. So they get your game for free for life forever. The reason why this is a standard offer when inventing a new casino game is because there is a lot of work when doing a field trial. They have to keep the game open for a certain amount of hours, they have to constantly record numbers for the game, they have so much paperwork that they have to do regarding this. The casino only has so much floor space. They only have only so much square footage. If they put your game in that means they are going to have to take a game out. That game could be blackjack for example, and it could be bringing in $30,000 per month. So if your game doesn’t match that, then they are losing money. They are taking a big risk because they have to keep your game in their casino for 90 days. It’s between 30 days and 90 days. But you want it to be as long as possible for a larger sampling size. So they are forced to keep your game in their casino for that period of time. If they are losing money they are not going to be excited about keeping your game in their casino. The casino managers take a big risk when it comes to having your new casino game in their casino for a field trial. That is why the deal of one game for free for life sweetens the pot.

Now after a year, so let’s say you have done the field trial and your game has been in their casino for a year, you will have – I can’t even begin to tell you how easier of a time you are going to have putting your game in other casinos if your game has been in a casino for longer than a year and you have a copy of the field trial paperwork. You are going to have to ask the casino manager as a favor for the copy of the numbers. Having those numbers and having the game in a casino for over a year is going to be so much easier putting it in other places. Now you are established and you have been proven. Just so you know, when you start putting your game in other casinos there are roughly around 2,000 casinos in America. That is a good amount. Think of Three Card Poker, but again Three Card Poker is the 1%. It’s like saying I am going to be an actress and be as big as Angelina Jolie. That is 1%. That is not normal. But it can happen.

When you do a field trial, you can’t just drop the felt off and then leave. You need to be there and help the casino promote and market your game. Just like that ketchup thing that we were talking about at the beginning of the video. You can’t just put your ketchup in the grocery store and expect it to sell. You have to do commercials, you have to do weekend deals, and you have to do advertising. It’s the same with a new casino game. There are certain things that you can do and certain things you cannot do. So if you are ever marketing your game, marketing your casino game always, always call the gaming control board and verify with them that you are allowed to market the game in that way. There are some things that are illegal. So you have to be really careful about that.

AMA: Audience Questions

Q: OGG (Old Guy Gaming) said he has his Patent for Casino Derby.

A: Awesome! Go Casino Derby. It’s really hard to get a patent. That is one of the hardest things. We always tell people – we refer people to Rich Newman. Rich Newman is a patent attorney that does all the casino games. If you ever need a patent attorney to go to, Rich Newman is the guy. If you go to my website vegas-aces.com – actually I can share my screen and show you. So if you go to Articles, then Table Game Inventors, we have a lot of articles right here about inventing casino games. If you scroll down because I think it is the last one, design to placements.

Landing a spot on the casino floor, you will see people that we recommend. So we recommend Joseph Shipman to do your math. And we recommend Rich Newman for a patent lawyer. You can find their information right here along with more information on how to invent a casino game.

Q: Is there a convention or table contest coming in March 2024?

A: Yes, there is, thank you for asking. So that is called – I have to look it up. I have been going to this conference for 10 years. In my head I am always thinking it is called Cutting Edge because that is what it has been called for 10 years, but when Covid happened Richard Marcus bought them and changed the name to GTGC/GGPC (Global Table Games & Game Protection Conference). This conference is really great to go to. It is in March. They have a ton of new casino games. So many casino game managers there will look at your game. You can pitch your game, you can demo your game to them. It is a really great place to get your game seen. While you are there, you want to collect as many business cards as you can. Having that information is going to be an asset later on when you are trying to email people and have them look at your game. So I definitely, definitely recommend it. The other one that people go to is G2E which is usually the middle of October. That one is bigger and there are not as many casino game managers. There are casino game managers but it is also a whole bunch of other people that are in the casino industry so they kind of get filtered. With GGTC it’s just pure casino managers. There are so many casino managers there. It’s a much better conference to go to then G2E. They also have a contest every year where if your game wins that contest it will be placed in a casino. Last year they had 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place go into the Strat, the Sahara and a casino in Reno that I am not remembering the name of. It is definitely a good conference to check out.

Q: You and I were on House of Cards Radio Show on the same day. I think we have to finish this with you.

A: Yes I remember that. It was fun.

Q: How do you get a business loan with the LLC? I have Relevance Gaming LLC. Now what?

A: Fantastic question. So the whole point in having an LLC and starting a business is to get a business loan. It’s going to be very hard. The reason why is the casino industry isn’t desirable for banks to loan out to. So it’s going to be more iffy. If you can find a bank to give you a loan. A lot of my clients find investors. They will find an investor that is interested in the game and then they will support the casino game inventor with money. That is how you can get a loan. Another way casino inventors get money is through credit cards. Credit cards are so much easier to get and you get the credit card in the business name. That is a miniature loan that you don’t have to apply or get approved for because they give credit cards to everybody. It’s crazy, don’t even get me started on that. But it is good for new businesses. It is an easy way to get a loan without jumping through hoops with the bank. I had a few banks where I tried to get a loan for and they are like you can’t get a loan unless you have $100,000 in your bank account. That seems really ridiculous to me. If I had $100,000 in my bank account why would I need a loan? So some of the banks are difficult.

It does take a long time for development. It is a difficult thing to start out.

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