The live casino industry isn’t what it was a few decades ago. They relied on gambling revenue, and anything was just icing. But now, millennials don’t care for pokies like their parents and grandparents did, and table games are too slow paced. This year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) focused primarily on ways to bring today’s younger generation back into live casinos.
Open Their Wallets Elsewhere
For the last few years, the answer has been to get millennials to open their wallets on other amenities. They like nightclubs and live concerts, spa treatments, special ‘experiences’, etc. This is still working, but it’s not generating the revenue live casinos need to sustain their historically multi-billion dollar businesses.
VR and Skill-Based pokies
Millennials grew up on PC and console video games. They are used to applying skill, and being rewarded for it. Now that some jurisdictions – particularly Nevada and New Jersey – have amended regulations to allow skill-based pokies machines, manufacturers are working hard to develop them.
We saw several examples of this at G2E. Developers unveiled skill-based pokies that use bonus rounds to simulate everything from racing and shoot-em-ups, to mimicking famous social games like Candy Crush and Words with Friends.
On the virtual reality front, Gamblit demoed a VR poker machine that integrates gameplay from XBox’s wildly popular Phosphor Gaming title, The Brookhaven Experiment.
There’s a clear future in VR casino games that’s just beginning to be tapped, and this, combined with skill-based pokies, could be the best answer to drawing millennials into live casinos.
Bigger, Bolder Pokies
Other companies chose to come out with bigger poker machines that tower into the sky – some as high as 11 feet tall. They are much more flashy and use crystaline HD graphics in hopes of attracting younger gamblers.
This may have been an error though. While some players may like the ‘bigger is better’ concept, we’re talking about a generation that grew up looking down at mobile devices and tablets, or straight ahead at PC monitors while playing video games. To have a gigantic machine that towers over them, forcing them to look up, could have a negative, intimidating effect that – consciously or not – turns players off.
Mobile Gambling at Live Casinos
The online and mobile gambling industry is huge these days. Statistics have shown that most millennials who do gamble have done so on a mobile device or tablet, whether they visit live casinos or not. Therefore, the land-based industry has begun moving that direction.
But online casinos aren’t legal in many big gambling jurisdictions, like Australia, Las Vegas and Macau. So instead, live casino operators are building fancy lounges with tablets installed right into the tables. A group of friends can take a comfortable seat together, order beverages and play pokies or virtual table games right there in the lounge.
In some cases, they can whip out their mobile phone and play the games online. In Nevada, online casino gambling is highly restricted, but the land-based casinos can offer these games to customers, so long as the player is located on the property.
Electronic Multi-Gaming Tables
Dynasty Electronic Gaming Table by IGT
We’ve all seen traditional electronic table games, where up to 6 or 8 players can sit down at what looks to be a typical blackjack or baccarat table, except that the dealer is a virtual person displayed on a big LCD screen, and the cards are all automated. These machines never brought more players to the tables – the opposite, in fact – but they did help some casinos find a way to circumvent ‘no live dealer table games‘ laws in their area.
But now, manufacturers have begun developing new electronic table games about the size of a slot machine. They accommodate a single player, and the desktop is a big touchscreen monitor. On these table-top devices, guests can play all sorts of casino games, selecting from a vast menu of options. Some of them even allow players to wager on two games at once via split screen.
Getting a single player to wager twice as fast? These live casinos (or at least the manufacturers developing live casino games) really are getting smarter.