Online casino apps have ridden the wave of the smartphone revolution and made gamers of an older generation that the industry had not previously seen a target demographic. This has led to widespread back-slapping within the industry and the sector is enjoying year-on-year growth of around 10 percent as 30- and 40- somethings log on and enjoy all the free spins and welcome bonuses that the casinos have to offer.
However, industry analysts have been quick to spot a potential flaw in this business model – popularity among the middle aged is great, but if the millennials are not getting involved, what does that say about the long-term viability of the online, or indeed land-based, casino industry?
An explosion of online casinos
Throughout the UK, central Europe and Scandinavia, the online casino market is getting increasingly crowded. Sites like https://www.thecasinodb.com/new-casino-sites are being constantly updated with new entrants, and the recent legalization of online casinos in Pennsylvania will doubtless see a similar pattern start to emerge there.
Looking through the different offerings, you can see that they are keen to carve out their own niches through targeting specific demographics, from the unashamedly girly to the rakish gentleman’s club. But neither of these examples screams out to those in their early 20s, and when you look at the games, you get the same impression – Monty Python is well and good, but is it really a hook for millennials?
Leveraging the power of video games
If it is a shortcoming of the online gambling sector, the gap is even more apparent when you take an objective view of the gambling floors in Vegas or Atlantic City. The slot machines look like something lifted from the 1950s, which is fair enough, because that’s exactly what they are. And when you see that the majority of gamblers are approaching pensionable age, it becomes clear that something has to be done.
Recent regulatory changes that allow skill based casino games could be the answer. They have provided the impetus for manufacturers to develop a new generation of games that have already started to arrive on the strip.
It is not just Vegas that is getting with the program and looking to bring social gambling to the social media generation. Harrah’s Resort in San Diego County, California, recently took delivery of two Gamblit Model G gaming machines, and casino bosses believe that this is where the future of casino gambling lies.
Resort Vice President Radley Medina told the Washington Post: “Young people who grew up playing video games like to socialize, they very much like interactivity and innovation, they want something that uses some skill. This stokes your natural competitive side and it encourages people to bring people with you to play.”
The machine itself is a fast-moving multi player affair, much in the style of the games that have made eSport a global phenomenon among millennials. Could they reinvigorate traditional casinos in the same way? The industry is certainly gambling that they will.