The multi-billion dollar gaming industry in the United States is facing a major problem in that millennials do not seem to be interested in playing regular games. As a matter of fact, young people seem to be increasingly reluctant to play slot machines, which traditionally contribute a big chunk towards a casino’s revenues. It is not hard to understand why, given that young people prefer playing video games, especially the ones that are available to play on smartphones.
The changing entertainment preferences of young people has no doubt created a problem for the gaming and gambling industry, which includes casino operators and games manufacturers. However, the governments of the states that house these casinos are also deeply concerned because casino taxes are a good source of revenue that enables them to spend on new public projects. A drop in tax collections leaves these states unable to balance their budgets.
States have been able to rely on income from gambling and gaming, which includes racing and lotteries in addition to casinos, for a very long time now. In fact, the revenues have remained constant even when inflation is taken into account. Reducing in casino revenues is therefore, a problem that has to be addressed at the earliest. When it comes to individual states, all, but one of them showed a 1.2% decrease in casino revenues over the previous year. Meanwhile Maryland showed a 17.1% increase that came from the launch of a new casino and not any surge in gaming activity. All put, the increase in revenues was a mere 0.1% over the previous year.
The casino industry has to think of creative ways to get younger people to patronise it or else revenues will keep dropping steadily. One of the best things the industry could do is to offer the type of games that young people enjoy playing on the internet. Online poker is very popular with millennials, and fantasy sports are gaining in popularity at a tremendous pace as well. Unfortunately, slot machines are losing out in the popularity stakes, especially since they continue to be patronised by a predominantly elderly population.
There is one more reason that younger people do not enjoy gambling as much as people from their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. Gambling is not a social activity and it therefore, does not provide the kind of experience that social media driven young people have come to expect. Millennials have a definite preference for experiences that they can share with their peers. Interestingly, table games are very popular with younger casino-goers because it provides them the opportunity to socialise with others. Furthermore, they spend more money than their elders on food and drinks.
Casinos are quick to adapt to the changing demographic of their customer base. They are spending a great deal of money on providing improved entertainment and dining options. The industry is also looking at developing hybrid games that combine the features of video games and slot machines so that younger people can be attracted to slot machines, which are the backbone of casino revenues.