Casino Games With a Skill Element – A New Genre for Millennials While Playing

The reasons for the influx of skill games in casinos today can be summed up in three little words: Millennials, Millennials, Millennials! We all know what happened when casinos noticed in the early 1980′s that more people were playing slots than table games. While the now oldest of the millennials were having their diapers changed, their baby boomer parents were bypassing the blackjack tables to play the one arm bandits, which now account for over 80% of gaming revenue.

Those that were born in the early 1980′s to the late 1990′s are Millennials that grew up playing video games, and the casinos also took notice that this generation didn’t care to sit in front of a machine that did all the work for them in order to win. They want to be involved to make it happen. This led to the introduction of games of skill at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Two Companies, GameCo and Gamblit Gaming, introduced their wares at the expo and by all accounts, things look very promising for skill-based games. Other companies, Konami, Scientific Games, and Next Gaming are creating their own versions to attract the Gen Y’s.

Here’s a brief look at what could be coming soon to a casino near you:

GameCo Products

Danger Arena

Skill-based Video Game Gambling Machines (VGM), with patented game design, maintain the same return to player as traditional slot machines. Play as Baz or Thyme to conquer Danger Arena. Take out 6 or more Danger Bots and you’re in the money. Eliminate 10 bots for top payout!

Pharaoh’s Secret Temple

The adventure has begun and players must unlock the riches of the Pharaoh’s Secret Temple by matching gems to collect rare treasures before their time is up. Gamble playing this casual video game with awesome boosts, Power-Up Prizes, charms, and Egyptian-themed traps.

Nothin’ but Net – Basketball

Get ready to hit the courts with a new game. Players can choose from a male or female player and have 16 chances to win big. Your skills will be challenged as you test your range from down-low to downtown. Just don’t miss the money ball!

Gamblit Gaming Products

Cannonbeards Treasure

An adventure awaits in the deep blue as 2-4 players engage in a fast-paced game of cards, skill, and naval warfare! Build a hand by grabbing the cards you need and reach the objective first to win a chest of gold! Be careful not to bust lest your opponent’s take the booty! makes for an extremely social, interactive and satisfying experience that will keep players engaged as they lower the sails and take to the seas!

Gamblit Poker

Grab the best poker hand and win big! This game puts a fast paced, irresistibly fun, skill-based spin on the ubiquitous game of poker. This 2-4-person game makes for a highly social, head to head interactive table experience that can result in cash winnings up to 240x your bet! Each player starts with two cards which, as soon as the game begins, are followed by a single deck of cards shown in rapid succession in the middle of the table. Players have to quickly grab the cards they need in order to complete the best possible poker hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot!

Financial Skills – Opening a Bank Account

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for kids to learn how to open a bank account.

Similarly, there was a huge call out for:

How to budget & balance accounts
How to write checks and pay bills
And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

This article is the first article in the four-part series and will discuss the best and simplest way to get started with opening a bank account.

It seems easy, but there are several questions many people never think of that we’ll address in this article:

Which bank?
Checking or savings account?
Are there fees or minimum balances?
Should I get a Debit Card too?
Should I have my name on the account with my kid?

1. Choosing a Bank

When you choose a bank, there are a few criteria you’ll want to look at:

Location
Number of branches
Ease of access

The location should be convenient to your home, but also have enough branches so that – in the case of an emergency – you can get to your bank.

I opened an account with Elevations Credit Union when I was attending CU Boulder. It was convenient and credit unions are really great to bank with. However, after I graduated and moved, there were no branches around me, which made things very inconvenient. I ended up opening an account with US Bank since they are in about every King Soopers, where I do my grocery shopping.

This is especially important with kids because you don’t want them to have to drive too far just to bank.

Similarly, ease of access into the branch is important. I remember having a Norwest (now Wells Fargo) account, and getting in and out of the bank’s parking lot was terrible. I had several near-miss car accidents and dreaded even going to the bank.

2. Checking or Savings Account

As you’ll learn in the future article about saving and budgeting, there should be an account that is used for saving and investing.

That means it’s important to have BOTH a checking and savings account.

The reason a checking account is important, is so that kids can learn how to write checks, and have a designated spending account aside from a designated savings account.

Checking accounts are important for paying bills (be it online or via mail) and will give kids the opportunity to learn how to write checks. Even if check writing isn’t as prevalent as it once was, it’s still important.

I was shopping one day and realized I forgot my wallet, which had my credit cards and cash. I started to panic because I needed some food. Fortunately, I keep a couple of checks in the car and was able to save myself by writing a check… they still come in handy!

3. Fees & Minimum Balances

Some banks have fees to have an account and others don’t. Obviously get the one that doesn’t since your kid shouldn’t have a huge account. Likewise make sure there isn’t a minimum balance or a very small ($10 or less) minimum balance.

Just as important is how overdrafts are handled!

When I was in college, it never failed: my peers (who hadn’t learned how to balance an account) would routinely trigger their overdraft protection and the hefty fees that went along with it.

They would look at their balance online and it would show $10. Then they’d check it again a few days later and it was at $30.

It was the magical growing bank account; and they never wondered where the extra money came from. Until the end of the month when they had over $200 in overdraft protection fees!

I would suggest NOT getting overdraft protection and instead making darn sure they can balance their account (which we’ll cover in a future article).

4. What About a Debit Card?

Here’s my thoughts on kids having debit cards: it makes it much, much harder to balance the bank account while making it much easier to overspend and run into trouble.

Are ATM machines convenient? Yes, but I have never once used one in my entire life. Part of teaching kids life skills is to teach them to be prepared. I keep an extra $10 in cash plus a few checks in my car. It wouldn’t bother me if it got stolen.

If you’re determined that your kid gets a debit card, wait at least six months after opening their account so they can learn “the old fashioned way” and understand how the debit card affects their account when they actually start using it.

5. Should I Be On The Account Too?

I think it’s a very good idea for you to be on your kid’s first account so you can monitor their spending and make sure they don’t cause a train wreck.

It’s good to get statements so that you can use that as a learning experience to go over them with your kid and teach them how to properly dispose of them (in a shredder) so that they decrease their risk of identity theft.

Come up with a time frame or benchmarks until you pull yourself off the account and let your kid take on the responsibility of an individual account.

Opening a bank account is a huge step into a new world for kids and it should be a great experience. Walk your kids through the setup and look for the learning opportunities along the way.

Owning a Car Vs Using Rideshare

It is not a secret that buying, owning, and maintaining a car costs a significant amount of money. Especially now, when gas prices are high and continue to increase. What if you could avoid paying as much as you do right now? Even while still getting to where you need to go?

Many city dwellers can. In fact, many people from Chicago are already dumping their vehicles and becoming reliant on rideshare. Current research has shown that it is in fact cheaper to use services such as Uber and Lyft in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, among others.

However, some people are hesitant to use these services due to all of the negative news stories reporting violent crimes involving drivers of such services. However, some services such as Uber are introducing safety features to help riders feel more comfortable reaching someone in case of emergency. It also helps hold drivers accountable by creating a stronger sense of authority, of being watched.

There are many benefits to using these rideshare services in bigger cities. In bigger cities drivers tend to have to pay to park their vehicles in addition to other typical costs such as gas, repairs, affordable auto insurance, etc.

On the other hand, some reports say that the cost of using rideshare will not be cheaper than owning a car until 10 years from now. But, it just depends what is best for the individual budget. In fact, news sites have even developed calculators to see if ridesharing is beneficial to your budget. Another detail that the calculator includes is the cost of time. A detail often overlooked by the monetary costs of things, but a detail equally, if not more valuable to people.

Additionally, there are options to “pool” with other rideshare users to eliminate even more costs. This option is not always the best depending on the intentions of your trip, but can be especially helpful for the commute to work, for example.

The increase in regular rideshare users creates another problem, unfortunately. The amount of cars picking up passengers has disrupted the flow of traffic in certain regions of the city, especially in Chicago. They have even increased fines of traffic violations.

The tickets and gas prices also seem to be turning away some drivers as they pay out of pocket for each item, in addition to possible rideshare insurance. But, drivers who discover that there is a growth in the city population using their services may attract attention to drivers hoping to make more money.

This then creates an issue for rideshare companies who are already struggling to pay their workers. Companies such as Uber who are providing benefits to European drivers, the costs will not go down anytime soon for them.

Overall, it may benefit the individual to utilize rideshare instead of owning a personal vehicle. But, there are many factors to take into account before switching over, both personally and the industry in whole. Rideshare is undoubtedly a hot topic at this time and does not appear to be dying down anytime soon.