Why Las Vegas Resort Bosses Lose Sleep Over Millennials
Take a typical flight to Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport, and you’ll undoubtedly notice that the plane will be full of 20 and 30-somethings. Sure, there will be a few passengers who are getting on in years, and perhaps some families with young children. But the majority of the people you see on that plane are millennials, and they are off to Vegas for a good time.
However, there seems to be evidence that, unlike generations past, millennials do not necessarily view playing casino games as an essential requisite of having that “good time” mentioned above. Pool parties, nightclubs, dayclubs, EDM festivals, bars, and cheap limousines all tend to play a greater role in the Vegas experience than rolling dice and spinning roulette wheels.
A couple of years ago, Yale University’s Campus Press published an article citing several studies that suggested millennials did not view gambling with the same importance as baby boomers or Generation Xers. One such study conducted by a handful of casino operators showed that millennials were only half (21%) as likely to view gambling as important as other generations.
Bosses hoping for shift in attitudes
Those figures will jump out at Las Vegas resort bosses. Sure, they have other means of revenue. Indeed, getting a table and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka at a pool party or night club will yield a lot of profit for resort owners – it’s hugely expensive. But if the casino revenue is under threat, then you can appreciate that it becomes worrying for casino operators.
And yet, perhaps all is not lost for casino bosses. Other studies have claimed that millennials are placed exactly where they should be in terms of attitudes towards gambling. It is maintained, in a sense, that millennials will grow to enjoy the activity more as they get older. The studies point to the fact that baby boomers would have had similar attitudes when they were in their 20s and 30s.
But betting on a shift in attitude as millennials grow older seems a little risky, especially in respect to land-based casino resorts. As you might imagine, online casinos will be vying for millennials’ attention, and the iGaming operators have plenty of aces up their sleeve. For example, as an iGaming operator, there is no better slot than “Mega Moolah” if you want to promote an online game. Why? Because it holds the world record for the world’s biggest online jackpot payouts, paying over $10 million on many occasions. That’s an attractive marketing pitch regardless of the age group you are targeting.
Other challenges from esports
Of course, iGaming operators also have the advantage of the medium. We don’t need to go into the details of how much time millennials spend online and on smartphones, but you’ll appreciate that they spend more time online and spend more money online than other generations. The quick hop through the virtual doors of an online casino is an easy one to make.
Casinos, whether they are online or resorts, have other challenges too, however. Esports – competitive video games – have entered into the equation. That industry has not just taken some of the share of the sports betting market, but it also has other gambling-related elements – skin betting, loot boxes, etc. The point is that they offer an alternative choice of gambling compared to wagering on dice and cards.
Nobody has ever accused casino bosses of being stupid, so you will see that they are pouring lots of marketing and developing dollars into future-proofing casinos for millennials. Creating skill games that resemble video games seems to be one such route, as does providing experiences through AR/VR. However, there is no guarantee that it will be successful. As it stands, casino bosses are playing poker with millennials, and it’s not quite clear who has the strongest hand.
JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.