Gaming might be a popular activity on a mobile device or phone but for some years, the gaming industry has been looking at a bleaker picture when it comes to footfalls in halls, casinos and other physical venues. The American Gaming Association, with its watchful eye on statistics warns that young people between the age of 21 to 35 years might visit casinos, but only 2% of them every bother to pull a slot machine handle. Let’s look at the image of casinos in the past and if this image is really what will attract young people to floors.
The Game is Bond
A case in point is Bond. In a number of films since the 1960s Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and even Golden Eye in 1995), James Bond’s favorite casino game was baccarat. However, in the reboot of Casino Royale in 2006, the most important game for Bond is no-limit Texas-style Hold’em Poker. Hold’em Poker is a relatively new format of poker where there is no need for players to wait around. Interestingly, ex-James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan has appeared in a spy-themed commercial for Italian online gaming brand Lottomatica.
Here’s what is at the back of every American casino owner; despite making up 33% of the total American population, the average age of a slot player in 50 years. Back in 2009, casinos in Las Vegas gained 58% of their revenues from gambling. In 2014, this has dropped to 37%. Slot machine manufacturers are the worst hit and have realized that they need to evolve from their existing model of ‘Pull-the-handle-and-wait-for-something-to-happen’ games.
Atlantic City first noticed that the eight casinos generating gaming revenue of $210.4 million in September 2016, down 3.5% from the same month last year. Slot machines fell 4.2% year-on-year to $147 million while table games went 2% under to $63.4 million. For the year-to-date, brick-and-mortar gaming revenue is flat at $1.85 billion, according to the latest statistics released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
It’s not like youngsters are not visiting the traditional gaming hubs such as Las Vegas. In 2014, millennial visitors to Las Vegas measured 27%. However, only 63% of millennial visitors to the city actually gambled. In comparison, 68% of Generation X visitors and 78% of baby boomers were game to try their luck. In other words, the vast majority of visitors to Vegas are under the age of 50, but curiously, the majority of the players at slot machines and gambling tables are over the age of 50. Clearly, the new millennial is unable to bond with the game as it exists.
Square Slots, Round Pegs
While casino operators have upgraded the visual displays on slot machines and added plasma screens and cabinets that are themed in accordance with the latest television shows or movies, the digital-era generation simply doesn’t dig slot machines anymore because they are too passive. The introduction of betting opportunities on e-sports and online videogame tournaments is one move towards attracting a more modern audience that is already in effect. Casinos are being innovative and thinking of games that have a different look and feel.
As of February 2016, the states of New Jersey and Nevada passed legislation that allows skill-based games in casinos. Atlantic City is the first gaming destination to get video gaming machines that let the user play arcade-style, skill-based games.
Next, let’s look at why the millennial generation wants more from their casinos.