Take a look at the industry statistics and they paint a rosy picture for the casino sector. Revenue is higher than it has ever been, and the industry is characterised by strong but healthy levels of competition, with new entrants arriving on the scene every month and competing on level terms with all the established providers.
Take a stroll down the strip in Vegas, however, and your eyes will tell you another story. The sight of row upon row of slots standing largely ignored, with the occasional over-50 flitting between the machines backs up the concerns raised by Melissa Price, the Executive Vice President of Caesar’s. She told Global Gaming Business that in order to attract millennials, slots need to be about more than spinning reels and hoping for the best.
The latest online slots and table games are attracting both new and established gamers because they are using tech in a variety of ways to stay at the cutting edge.
The biggest advantage that a real casino has over its online alternative has nothing to do with the game itself, but rather, how it is played. That starts with the dealer, and in live gaming it is an experience that can be replicated via a PC or smartphone. The latest live casino technologies allow gamers to interact with a real dealer at the blackjack table or roulette wheel, placing their bets and even engaging in a little social chatter. Live gaming is becoming commonplace across many online casinos.
When products like the Oculus Rift hit the shelves in 2017, there was a feeling that the long-anticipated virtual reality age was finally here. Two years on VR is still largely on the technological fringes of gaming, at least as far as the high profile console games are concerned. However, the casino sector is one that has picked it up with both hands. In part, that is because the visual and physical aspects of a casino game are relatively simple – the spin of a roulette wheel, the turn of playing card and so on. Also, however, there are market forces at work here with high levels of competition driving companies towards innovation for that all-important competitive edge.
One of the biggest changes to affect the world of gaming over the past decade has been a conceptual one. Where it was once seen as a solitary activity for teenage loners, gaming is now an opportunity to engage with others. The casino sector has been quick to cotton on that this can apply to people of all ages. As long ago as 2015, the social casino market was generating revenue of around $3.5 billion, and last year this had risen to more than $4.5 billion.
As far as gaming is concerned, casinos have been the pioneers in using big data. The casino sites are all about member loyalty, and they collect data on members, their gaming habits, the amount they spend, their favourite games and so on. This allows them to deliver a far more targeted service offering, and also to know where to aim those special offers for people who have not played in a certain number of months.