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Whether it’s discussing their spending, social or even eating habits, millennials are the constant talk of the tabloids. But nobody can deny the influence this generation has had on several industries; with gambling being one of the biggest to feel the strain of trying to meet their demands.
Let’s take a look into whether casinos are actually doing enough to attract the interest of millennials.
Although the gambling industry has made attempts to lure millennials into their world through online casino channels, it appears the same can’t be said for brick-and-mortar casinos. Research is now showing the issue of millennials not visiting casinos centres around sociability. They have described casino facilities as “being unattractive, empty, and devoid of genuine social interaction”.
Furthermore, compared to 1990s 58% of Las Vegas’ resort revenues came from gambling. However, by 2018, this figure has fallen to around 37%, and visitors, particularly millennials, now consider the city as being a great opportunity for nightlife, shopping and entertainment instead.
And based on a survey by the travel marketing firm MMGY Global, 86% percent of young gamblers prefer to play in a casino that offers an area for “social gaming,” as compared to 55% of older players.
According to Jeff Hwang, a gambling investor, millennials are looking for a fuller casino experience compared to what is currently offered inside casinos and want to mix gambling with other activities: “Millennials find the current slot machine product uninteresting; they want to be engaged and empowered; they require a degree of control over outcomes; and they prefer night clubs to casino gambling”.
However, it seems some Las Vegas casinos, including Caesars Palace and Hard Rock, are already attempting to keep their younger audiences enticed, with one of the solutions being “Swim-up Blackjack”, which allows visitors to play at the poolside whilst enjoying the performance of DJs (Review Journal).
One casino that is proving to be a big hit with millennials is the ‘Encore Players Club’ at Wynn, Las Vegas. This luxurious section of the casino (see above) was built with one specific goal in mind – to attract the attention of a younger audience.
Featuring traditional casino table games (blackjack, roulette, craps and sports betting), the space is mostly filled with couches, touchscreen tables, pool tables, giant HD TVs and even a shuffleboard table. There is also a bar offering food and cocktails plus live DJ entertainment. The lounge is proving so popular that it’s rumoured the name could be changed to the “Millennial Club”! Overall, this is a perfect example of how casinos can mix the traditionalism of casinos with millennial nightlife.
Technically speaking, the youngest members of the millennial generation are too young to legally gamble, for many casinos have a minimum gambling age of 18 or 21 (depending on the country). However, even for those within the 21-34 age bracket, not a lot of gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos is taking place, and their online-dependent lifestyles could certainly be responsible for this.
Recent figures have shown that 50% of gamblers under 35 (millennials) prefer to gamble online rather than physically going to a betting venue. The rise of mobile devices has also contributed, with 48% of millennials choosing to gamble via their smartphones.
Overall, the convenience and ease of online gambling has undoubtably affected the number of millennials who choose to visit casinos.
However, one casino – the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City (see above), has introduced a separate ‘iGaming Lounge’ to help push millennials through the door and cater for their online needs. The area is home to comfortable sofas and giant-sized video screens for gambling on their online casino sites. Those who prefer can also use their smartphones or tablets to play if they wish. Most of the players who regularly visit the lounge are under 30. This is a clever tactic to get millennials spending money inside their casino whilst populating their online casino site.
Although traditional casino games might be a key attraction for older generations, the same cannot be said for millennials. Research has shown that millennials mostly find classic casino games “boring” and “uninspiring”.
Take a look at traditional slot machines for example – it’s hard to argue there’s any element of skill involved. For the most part, you choose your stake, tell the machine when to spin, and hope that good fortune is smiling down on you. Sadly, this hasn’t been enough to captivate the minds of millennials, who want something more engaging and complex when it comes to gambling.
According to Adam Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Spectrum Gaming Capital: “Millennials find slot games based purely on luck boring. The kinds of games they prefer are competitive activities where they have an opportunity to show off their skills and one-up other players”.
In the US last year, Nevada and New Jersey casinos made the first bold step of introducing a new legislation that allows skill-based games in casinos. Yes, some skill games e.g. poker, already exist, but the movement is aimed at moving towards console-style videogaming to join the dots between casino gaming and eSports.
However, it appears this goal has been achieved sooner than anticipated. Last year, Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino partnered with Gamblit Gaming -a casino gaming developer to introduce a new skill-based, interactive video gaming table – ‘Gamblit Poker’.
Gamblit Games inside Planet Hollywood’s Resort and Casino
This poker-based game (see above) allows for up to four players at a time, where players “grab” the cards from the table they need for a winning hand before they flash past. You can also steal cards from other players. Each table is also equipped for comfort with USB charging ports, cup holders and even purse hooks for each player. Unlike traditional poker, players are competing against each other, not the house odds.
Darion Lowenstein, Chief Marketing Officer at Gamblit Gaming said “As a millennial, I grew up playing video games at home with consoles like the Super Nintendo and in arcades. Slot machines have never held my interest due to their lack of interactivity; as slot revenues decline and their average user climbs up in age, we’ve found this pattern to be true of the worldwide casino market.”
He continued: “Gamblit games offer true rewards for skill, and a higher level of engagement, social play and fun, more than any other experience on the casino floor,” Lowenstein added. “It’s basically a modern arcade, where you can bet and potentially win money while having a blast with friends.”
Overall, it’s evident that casinos haven’t quite hit the nail on the head with attracting millennials. However, when you consider the efforts that some casinos are already going to, there might be hope for the gambling industry after all. Are you a millennial? What are your thoughts on gambling? Let us know below!