Marketing to millennials is proving to be a difficult nut to crack for the gambling industry. For those who are unaware, the term ‘millennial’ is broadly used to describe people born between 1980 and 2000. While past generations have bought in to the glitz and glamour of the casino industry as it’s grown, millennials haven’t been as receptive, and the problem of marketing to this generation of consumers is rapidly becoming a hot-button issue for the gaming industry.
Despite the perception many older individuals maintain regarding millennials, there’s no question that they are a vital market for the future of any industry that expects to survive the upcoming decades. The population of millennials totals 87 million, outnumbering Baby Boomers by over 10 million. Within the next five years, most analysts expect that millennials will become a driving force in nearly every economic sector, accounting for about one-third of all retail spending.
With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to see why major players in the casino industry are concerned. Millennials, in general, don’t gamble as much as past generations, particularly when it comes to the slots. This trend can be seen by looking at the revenue breakdown of the Las Vegas Strip. Despite having less interest in gambling, young travelers are heading to Sin City in droves, but they aren’t spending their cash on the casino floor. Currently, less than 37 percent of all revenue generated on the Strip is attributed to gaming revenue. Visitors are, instead, enjoying nightlife, shopping and entertainment. For comparison, 58 percent of Las Vegas resort revenue came from gambling in the 1990s.
An Unfulfilling Experience
While still an inexact science, most casino industry experts agree that the drop-off in millennial gaming revenue can be attributed to the rise of digital entertainment. Today’s target market was raised in an era when online poker stars rose to prominence, winning tons of cash while gaming remotely. With the ability to comfortably enjoy games from the palm of their hands with mobile devices, this generation is much less interested in sitting at a slot machine and pressing a button for hours on end.
Millennials may not gamble at the casino, but that’s not to say that they’re averse to gambling in general. The digital fantasy sports market has experienced rapid growth for the past decade, with estimates suggesting revenues of $2.6 billion a year on entry fees alone, up from roughly $971 million just last year. The common denominator is that young gamblers prefer to have some semblance of control when they play. As a result, casinos are now exploring the possibility of introducing new, skill-based video games that offer an advantage for proper play. A common plan is to release these arcade-style games for mobile devices, allowing players to get hooked on them before visiting the casino.
Of course, not all games have caught the ire of millennials. Poker has never been more popular, and sports betting has continued to drive profits. Sports wagering alone currently accounts for about 1.5 percent of individual casino revenue in the United States. Spreading this success to new games that offer a similar play experience to the ones available to players with a simple reach into their pockets, however, is far from a certainty. Competing with an Xbox Live subscription or adaptable online casino experiences could prove to be a difficult undertaking.
Alienating Older Generations
Changing a successful formula is risky, particularly when casinos expect to continue cashing in on play from older generations. This is evident in the play rate of slots over the last decade. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported in 2015 that the average house edge on slot machines has increased by 14.5 percent across the nation over the last 10 years, but revenue from the machines has grown by just 1.1 percent. This statistic highlights a bigger problem than failing to meet the expectations of millennials; it suggests that casinos are actually damaging their rapport with existing customers who have enjoyed casino gambling in the past.
With increasing competition coming from the rise of the online gaming industry, brick and mortar casinos are left scrambling to remain relevant. Boiling down the ‘it’ factor that’s available through online gaming, poker and fantasy sports and translating it to a marketable experience in Las Vegas and other gaming markets around the world will play a key role in getting millennials to not only show up to their establishments, but gamble while they’re there. Raising the hold percentage of slots hasn’t done the industry any favors to this point.
A Worthy Alternative
If you’re a millennial who is both uninterested in traditional casino gambling and interested in playing games of chance, Prism Casino is the ideal option. In addition to a full selection of slots, we also feature all of your favorite table games with favorable rules and huge deposit bonuses. If you want to follow in the footsteps of your favorite poker star and gamble your way to huge winnings, you can do so at Prism. If you prefer to hone your skills at the blackjack table, we’ve got you covered. Unlike brick and mortar casinos, online casinos can offer hundreds of unique games with all of your favorite variations. Try it out for free before taking advantage of a lucrative welcome bonus offer.
The future of the casino industry depends on its ability to adapt to the unique demands of millennials. With more entertainment options than ever before and gaming available no matter where you are through mobile devices, casinos will be forced to turn to a sizable overhaul if it wants to maintain its scale. In the meantime, online casinos offer the advantage of rapid evolution to market demands and, as a result, an exceptional play experience. Whether you decide to book your ticket to Vegas or have a night of gaming without leaving the house, there’s no longer a reason to accept anything less than the best for your gambling experience or play games that don’t capture your imagination.