ICC: Don’t let ‘millennial’ tag divert your focus, casinos told

ICC: Don’t let ‘millennial’ tag divert your focus, casinos told

Monday, February 1, 2016 Totally Gaming
The conference heard that "'millennials' aren’t really different creatures"

The ‘millennials’ label is hindering the industry’s efforts to react to evolving gambling trends, according to a panel of experts at the International Casino Conference (ICC).

In a panel entitled ‘Engaging with Millennials’ at the Hippodrome Casino in London today (Monday), the panel agreed that traditional slots are unlikely to entice younger generations, but added that new approaches should encompass a broader demographic of customers.

“The overuse of the word ‘millennial’ has hindered understanding in this area,” said Corey Padveen, director, Global Social Business Strategy, t2Marketing International.

“The reality is that the entire consumer base is shifting in terms of the way they consume, and we’re not just talking about those under the age of 36. Older players are also looking at progressive slots.”

Madis Jääger, chief executive of Olympic Casino, added: “Millennials aren’t really different creatures. There are many different aspects of making sure casinos are not losing customers, but it is important to gain traction within minutes, otherwise you could lose the customer.”

According to Roberto Coppola, director, Global Research and Consumer Insights, YWS, Design and Architecture, it is important for casino operators to “listen to customers who are looking to create the experience”.

He added: “In 2014 I kept hearing, ‘just wait, they’re going to become slot players’. It’s in a human’s DNA to want to gamble and take risks, but they will not be walking into the current slot products.

“I’m seeing a shift towards appreciating how games need to change. Not only do millennials find slots boring, but they also find them unsocial, which is very important. The casino floor layout has been largely unchanged for the past 50 years, and that needs to be considered.”

Coppola added that casinos can adopt a “voyeuristic” approach to engage customers in a social situation from afar, by creating certain entertainment and music zones that attract younger players.

Padveen echoed the idea, highlighting experiences at different casinos worldwide – including the Casino Montreal in his home city – and said that a personalised experience was crucial.

“Every casino should have the ability to push a message to someone’s phone when they walk on the premises, offering a free drink or a free bet if they tell them what games they like to play,” he said.

“That is something across the board – not just for millennials.”

Engaging players through non-gaming activities can help to diversify a casino offering, particularly if, as Coppola said, “the gaming product isn’t there yet for the new generation”.

Jääger agreed that the creation of zones for younger players will be an important offering from casinos in the future.

He added: “Non-gaming revenues, although important, are there to support core gaming. The profits come from gaming. In some casinos there are things that are eye-catching, but it’s about how people can participate and not just how things look.”

Pavdeen said that non-gaming revenues may not be “big profit centres” but noted that they are important to keeping customers in a casino. “You don’t want people to walk out the front door to somewhere else,” he said.  “Millennials are educated and smart, so they need things to keep them in there.”

Coppola added: “I expect less revenue from slots going forward, but it’s about changing mindsets. We have to remember that it’s not just 20 year olds who use Uber, for example.”

The habits of Millennials and how the industry should adapt will be covered in depth at GiGse, running from April 27-29, San Francisco, CA. For updates on GiGse 2016 and to register for tickets, visit: www.gigse.com or follow www.twitter.com/gigselive

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