The evolution of casino enthusiasts has taken an interesting turn in. The shift has gone to a younger demographic with the exponential growth of online casinos globally. Forbes magazine conducted an interview focusing on this topic and this yielded interesting insights into the growing trend.
But the trend on the expected next generation of bettors is taking another direction. The current wave of Gen Z and Millennials are not taking to casinos as warmly as expected. Instead, they harken a portentous trend of having a weaker response or attachment to the gambling industry.
Market research and trend is based generally in the United States and the country is seen as a major player as well as a trendsetter when it comes to future trends that are soon seen worldwide.
The classic and traditional land-based casinos are seeing a steady decline over the past decade. Casino operators are trying to see how to be more appealing to the younger generation who do not prefer to gamble on slot machines.
With this happening, it has now been deduced that the younger generation doesn’t have the same inclination to gamble as the older generation had been. Establishments are now taking into consideration knowing the younger generation on a much deeper and more insightful level.
There was another factor that might have affected the trend. This was when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned in 2018. This was the legalization and launch of online sports betting — thereby, a new form of gambling emerged and this attracted the younger generation.
With the recent Pew Research Center survey, about 1 in 5 US adults (19%) say that they have personally bet on sports in some way in the last 12 months — this was not conditional and did not consider whether the respondent was with friends or family, in person at a casino or other gambling venue, or online with a betting app.
The new direction for casino operators is that they must now optimize themselves according to the taste of the younger generation. This must involve creating, rendering and transforming the current gaming experience to get the interest of Gen Zs and Millennials.
How the future casino looks like
Here is a summary of the details on how the interview went and how the study on the upcoming Gen Z influences not only the trends in online gaming but also affects other sectors of the entertainment industry.
Conducting the interview is Jeff Fromm who has spoken all over the world on how sustainability, innovation and brand purpose impact today’s consumers.
He led the first public study of Millennials through a research partnership with the Boston Consulting Group. This resulted in the publishing of his first book, “Marketing to Millennials”, back in 2013. He has since co-authored five books the most recent of which, “The Purpose Advantage 2.0” which delves into the intersection of purpose, sustainability and profitability.
He holds a degree with an emphasis in marketing from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Additional info on his insights
The guests featured were Alex Monahan, CEO at OddsJam, Cooper Lycan, Founder and CEO of SoBet, and Christopher Justice, President of Global Payments Gaming Solutions.
What can be considered the best-in-class casino of tomorrow look like?
Alex Monahan: This will be an integrated hybrid of the in-person and online experiences we’ve come to know. “Omnichannel” is a popular buzzword nowadays and for good reason, as it’s paving the way for operators to leverage digital innovations such as cashless payments and online rewards programs in a way that seamlessly ties them into legacy products and experiences.
On the sports betting side, it’s all about the breadth of markets and products offered. Right now, you can use your phone to bet on everything from the first touchdown scorer to alternate yard totals for skill-position players to the exact score of a football game. Or you can integrate all those bets into a massive Same Game Parlay. That’s what today’s bettor wants. Retail sportsbooks don’t yet have the resources to offer the same types of products, but once they do it’s going to unlock a whole new level of the in-person betting experience.
Cooper Lycan: The digital and mobile gambling space currently has a leg up on their analog counterparts because the online space tends to be more inclusive than casinos. The casino of tomorrow will have to adjust to shifting consumer behaviors of an increasingly more diverse, less male-dominated audience.
As we are observing this generational shift, the only way to appeal to that younger demographic is by creating welcoming spaces that reflect Gen Z and younger Millennial values.
Right now, there’s not really a place for Gen Z, women, and casual bettors in the ecosystem other than social media. Extending this community to the physical will be key for the future success of gambling spaces – whether that’s online or offline.
Additionally, online and mobile gambling activity should incentivize real-life experiences and vice-versa with, for instance, currencies and loyalty points that are redeemable in both places.
Will iGaming be a strong contender in the future? Will Millenials and Gen Z lead in the evolution of this category?
Alex Monahan: At a macro level, the future is less of a focus on “handicapping” and a bigger emphasis on data. Gen Z was born into the digital age and has grown up surrounded by data. The younger generation as a whole is simply more data-driven and analytical, which has borne itself out in the rise of Robinhood, StockX, WallStreetBets etc.
Now that sports betting is gaining widespread prominence, it’s merely becoming a new application stemming from that same greater ethos. From an operator perspective, the goal is to leverage that growing swell and create an efficient on-ramp to a wider online casino offering for the digitally-savvy user, but fewer states and tighter regulations represent notable roadblocks.
Are there major trends to watch out for in 2023?
Christopher Justice: Modern payment solutions use innovative technology that helps companies save money and gives them immediate access to their hard-earned money.
The gaming industry has enjoyed an unprecedented period of growth, and while that growth may slow with the rest of the economy, many aspects of the gaming industry will likely continue to grow. iGaming, and specifically sports betting, have continued to grow even as the economy slackens. As more states legalize sports gambling, the sports betting sector will continue to flourish.
What actions have you taken to adapt and resonate more with the Gen Z audience?
Cooper Lycan: Currently, Gen Z and younger Millennial gamers are not served well by the gambling ecosystem that is either too difficult to understand for the casual bettor or serves up unappealing content.
As social media has become the primary search engine for any kind of information, including gaming and sports betting, SoBet is providing content in formats that fit the needs of the next generation such as creator-led videos and tweet-like write-ups.
It’s about meeting younger audiences where they are with creator content that is native to Gen Z media habits and delivered by experts they trust and can identify with.
Access to easy to understand information is what we believe to be most important to the ecosystem. As a casual bettor, you can look up four or five of these creators, watch a simple 20-second video and make a quicker and more informed decision.
Are there also generational trends in who you hire? Does this affect hiring and retention efforts?
Alex Monahan: Definitely. So many young people have trended toward sports betting as an extension of the things they’re already doing in their everyday lives. Everyone’s a day trader, a content creator. From a hiring perspective, that’s helped open up an entirely new pool of talent. We’ve brought on a bunch of people from our customer base, from OddsJam evangelists and power users to creators.
We love the passion of new, young sports bettors. Gambling is meant to be fun, exciting and inclusive. The younger generation really grasps that, which has frankly made it easy for us to build a passionate and hyper-engaged team.
Will Gen Z also use payments differently in the future?
Christopher Justice: We are finding that Gen Z (as well as a high percentage of Gen X and Y) are less likely to use cash and cards and more likely to use modern payment methods. The convenience offered by innovative payment solutions like mobile and contactless payments appeals more to Gen Z, who are already primed to adopt digital payment options. As the payments industry moves to more digital payment solutions, Gen Z will likely continue to use those payment options.
Gen Z’s payment preferences in the gaming industry are still an open question. Casino patrons are usually 50 years old and up. With that said, we are seeing multiple generations adopting digital payment methods when and where they are available.
What are the details that CEOs can take from your strategy?
Christopher Justice: Our strategy has been to create a suite of solutions that both help casinos improve their operations and enhance the payments experience. We’ve done that by creating a robust, effective e-check network and building our other solutions around it. For the patron at the casino, depositing their money is the most important part of the payments experience.
A casino can offer a slick UI and exciting deals, but if patrons cannot get their money in or out without a hassle, they will take their business elsewhere next time. The payment fundamentals are the most essential part of the entire solution.
We hope that the insights in this article have been useful albeit very interesting. Indeed with trends in technology and connectivity strongly having the younger generation beholden to its nature, the culture of change is always at the onset of things. What are the other challenges that can be seen? Will this trend also take on a strong influence on how games will evolve? Let us know in the comment section below. We always look forward to seeing your reactions, insights and feedback. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers!