Operator talk: Segregation may be answer to attracting Millennials to casinos

Operator talk: Segregation may be answer to attracting Millennials to casinos

Monday, April 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
Roberto Coppola said casinos need to see themselves as part of a wider leisure industry

The casinos of the future may need to create segregated zones to attract young people while also avoiding the alienation of their existing clientele.

That is the view of Roberto Coppola, Director, Global Research and Consumer Insights, of YWS Design & Architecture, who will be one of the speakers at this week’s GiGse event in San Francisco.

Taking part in a shared session with the Millennial Summit entitled ‘Casino of the future – exploring the shape of the next 10 years’, Coppola said that his company is currently working on a number of projects which will include areas designed for experimentation, where operators can offer something different for the Millennial generation.

Coppola said that it is not until recently that operators have given much thought to those under the age of 55, and summarised a typical casino layout as “rows of slot machines, confusing sightlines and restrictive spaces”.

“In terms of appealing to a broader consumer base, not just younger but also more diverse, we’re working with several clients now on the very core issue of defining and segmenting casino patrons in ways that account give operators flexibility,” he said.

“The idea of dedicated areas or ‘zones’ that are specifically designed for guests between the ages of 21 and 39 is something we’re spending a lot of time on with clients – this is in, our view, the right way to approach future-proofing casinos.

“We aim for a research-based approach that segments space and allows for experimentation aimed at simultaneously capturing incremental revenue while not disrupting or alienating today’s most important customers.”

Coppola said his company is working on a number of “groundbreaking” developments, but he is particularly excited about a project that is set to be unveiled next month by MGM Grand and TopGolf, the innovative golf leisure firm that will also be represented at GiGse. With those companies looking at ways of expanding through collaboration, Coppola believes casino operators would be best served by looking at themselves as part of a wider entertainment sector.

“Self-perception is key,” he said. “It’s been said - at least indirectly - by industry visionaries like Steve Wynn and Jim Murren that the ‘casino business’ is increasingly becoming a variable of the broader entertainment and leisure industry. 

“The TopGolf at MGM Grand project will open at the end of May and we feel it is going to be extremely successful with its target market, affluent Millennials. Because of its location, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and its proven track record as a new type of highly social, open, engaging and fun environment – we think its anticipated success will nicely segue over into where we think casino design should be going.”

* GiGse takes place from April 27-29 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, California. For more information visit www.gigse.com.

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