At a casino conference in  Miami last week, leading research and casino specialist Roberto Coppola, Director of Global Market Research at YWS, offered an insight on how millennials are shaking the gambling industry. Coppola believes the casino market is not adapting fast enough to keep pace with the demands of this tech-savvy generation.

“Technology in the gambling industry has gone through significant changes over the last two years. These changes force us to adapt in order to better understand the needs and tastes of our customers,” Coppola commented adding that it’s not just about millennials, “The whole world is changing, it’s not just generation Y.

Living in a rapidly-changing world, we’re all millennials, so it is imperative that we identify what the needs are for this target audience.”

“In terms of design, casinos haven’t changed a lot in the last 50 years, they still look like mid- twentieth century gambling halls. It’s high time to re-think this approach to innovation,” Coppola emphasised.

It is important to understand the impact of millennials on the gambling industry: “80 million millennials live in the U.S., 200 million across Latin America, and 300 million in China.”

(Here in Australia they are our largest single demographic at around 7 million, accounting for just over 30% of the population.)

“The market is huge, therefore we have to carefully analyse their underlying interests. Millennials are not the future, they’re the present, and we’re not giving them what they want,” he explained.

Commenting on the current offering from gaming manufacturers, Coppola noted, “Millennials don’t enjoy playing slots, they find them boring and antisocial. Young generations are looking for interactive environments. They want to have fun, meet new people and exchange ideas.”

“If we want the industry to survive and grow, we have to transform casinos into unique, compelling entertainment destinations,” he concluded.

Coppola went on to say that millennials aren’t opposed to gambling, but they find traditional gaming floors and many games, especially slots, uninteresting. With table games, there’s the opportunity for some socialising, but millennials view slots as anti-social and non-intuitive. To better attract millennials, he suggests a mix of physical changes and gaming innovations. Skill-based games could bring a gambling element to social experiences millennials already enjoy. On the design front, he suggests creating lounges that offer a variety of entertainment options that mix gambling and non-gambling devices.

Coppola says casinos currently are missing a key element for the social collisions, “being able to physically move around a space as one consumes an entertainment offering with others.” Slot machine manufacturers and online gaming developers are hard at work trying to overcome this deficiency, mainly for other reasons. So it won’t be long before players can have whole range of games on tablet computers or similar mobile devices within the confines of the casino. Four or  five years from now, by the time millennials begin turning 40, we’ll have a better idea of whether they’re put off by casino design or whether there are deeper issues for casinos to tackle to attract millennials.

To view Roberto Coppola’s whitepaper “Is Your Casino Optimised for Millennials”, click on the link below

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About Roberto Coppola, Director Market Research & Consumer Insights, YWS Designs & Architecture  

Roberto is a seasoned market research professional who is skilled in creative problem-solving and discovering insights using qualitative market research methods. Prior to joining YWS, Roberto spent five years with International Game Technology (IGT), where he played a leadership role in the scoping, development and execution of the company’s consumer insights group. Prior to this role, he was a Leadership Development Associate at Las Vegas Sands.