What will it cost to get my game analyzed?
As hackneyed an answer as it sounds, “it depends.” Primarily, it will depend on how complete your game design currently is, how complex the game is to analyze, and whether or not it comes with sidebets.
A very rough estimate would have blackjack sidebets in the hundreds of dollars, simple slot machines or blackjack-style games in the low thousands of dollars, and complex slot machines or standard poker games in the mid thousands of dollars.
However, the only way to pin it down is through seeing what you have in mind. If your game is currently not patented, TGS does provide full confidentiality with clients through standard NDA agreements.
Will my land-based casino game be a success?
While we wish we were able to answer that question, the fact remains that most of what gets a game into a casino involves hard work and a little bit of good luck. However, while it is very difficult to predict which games will be a success, it’s a lot easier to predict when a game will fail. Here are some common pitfalls you may want to avoid:
When a player comes up to a new table game for the first time, the dealer has likely around sixty seconds to explain how the game works to the player before said player loses interest, which means that the game’s inventor (who knows the game best) should be able to explain it to a professional gaming analyst in half that time.
You should also be able to summarize the rules in a quick abstract like you’d see on a standard “rack card”. If you can’t, odds are good your game is just too complex.
Uses non-standard equipment:
Many casino games have been proposed over the years that would use non-standard equipment, and with no significant exception, they have all failed. The thing to remember is that, what might seem like an interesting contraption to you would in fact be a nightmare to regulatory bodies and game security personnel. It would be a very hard sell indeed to convince a casino to go through all that hassle on an as-yet unproven idea.
By and away, your best chances involve using standard six-sided dice and standard decks of playing cards, with the possible exception of having cards removed (as in Spanish 21) or special cards added (as in the Joker in Pai Gow).
Too slow to play:
Casinos like games that move at a good pace, and for good reason. Time is money, and a game that has twice the house advantage but moves at half the speed isn’t any more profitable in the end. At a full table, a round of play should not take more than 60 to 90 seconds, and even that would be on the high end.
Note that these above concerns are primarily with land-based casino games. Online casino play allows much more latitude in these categories, something to bear in mind when considering the target of your game.
What information is included in a Total Gaming Science report?
House advantage, with optimal play by the player if there is a strategy element, as a percentage of the betting unit.
If the game is a multi-unit game (such as most standard poker games), the house edge will also be expressed as a percentage of the total average amount bet; this is also known as the ‘element of risk’, a term coined by Mike Shackleford.
A breakdown of the exact calculations where used, or the results of the exhaustive simulations in the case of games too complex to calculate through iterations.
If practical, a complete optimal strategy for the player. If the strategy proves too arcane, a simplified “near-optimal” strategy will be included, with an approximation on the cost to the player.
What gambling regulatory bodies will accept your report?
This varies from state to state, and indeed from country to country.
In some US states (most importantly Nevada), all gaming math must be certified by an approved laboratory. This will almost always either be Gaming Labs International or BMM Compliance. This is not to say a TGS report will be a worthless investment for those states, as we do maintain close contacts with both organizations, and have assisted their engineers in expediting this analysis. Feedback from our clients have suggested that the money invested in a TGS report ultimately more than pays for itself through less time billed by these larger and more expensive companies.
In states with no such restriction, and outside the USA, there has yet to be a case of a TGS report found insufficient for a gaming regulatory body.