How casinos have had to change to stay relevant to players

Casinos have moved with the times and the challenges contemporary society has posed for them. Bob Dylan’s famous lyric “The Times They Are A Changin” is an apt description of the industry’s development throughout the last twenty years.

Bellagio Vegas
The ‘resort casino’ format, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas, has been one way casino operators have been able to update and improve their offering.

With increased competition from sportsbooks, exchanges and particularly online casinos, something had to be done to ensure the future of their land-based equivalents. Thankfully, the industry has met the problems head on and has found new, innovative ways to stay relevant.

Here are just a few ways physical casinos have developed since the boom of online wagering in the mid to late 90s.

They have had to diversify

Online casinos will always have the capability to offer more variety than physical casinos, because floorspace isn’t a consideration. What they cannot supply is a full ‘evening out’ experience.

According to covers.com, gaming revenue has been shrinking on the Vegas strip for over 20 years and now only counts for about 40 per cent of the overall revenue.

Casinos there have been making up the balance by concentrating more on other services, such as their hotels, dining experience and entertainment venue elements.

Back in the 90s, these premises would be described as casinos with restaurants and hotels – now many are fully integrated resorts offering the best chefs, relaxed cafes, evening concerts and performances, leisure activities, shopping and more.

Technology

Slot games are more technologically advanced now.
Slot games are more technologically advanced now.

Technology has moved on rapidly and with that development, slots and machines have got more hi-tech. Instead of basic fruit machine-style slots and one-armed bandits, we now also have multi-faceted 3D graphics with excellent gameplay and a more realistic and immersive experience for players.

Some traditional analog games have even moved into the tech-world. For instance, digital roulette tables are now commonplace in casinos, where as they would have been unheard of 25 years ago.

Not only that, many casinos are now also using technology to improve the overall experience for customers, by producing apps which supply visitors with maps, guides and other useful information regarding their premises.

Move away from machines

MGM Grand's Level Up space is aimed at those wanting a more relaxed casino experience, with skill based games including a golf simulator
MGM Grand’s Level Up space is aimed at those wanting a more relaxed casino experience, with skill based games including a golf simulator

Technology is moving in the right direction, but some modern players don’t seem to care. This issue is only going to worsen too, as several experts believe young people don’t engage with slots and other casino games the same way the previous generations did.

Many experts believe this is due to contemporary players preferring to play games that have elements of skill, rather than pure chance.

This year, Vegas’ MGM Grand unveiled its Level Up space, a more relaxed environment for the tricky millennial market offering skill based games, including a golf simulator, and generally aiming to be a cool place to hang out.

Business journalist David Kestenbaum spoke about this issue on the NPR radio station, suggesting that the problem doesn’t lie in attendance, but rather a lack of interest.

He said: “Young people do go to casinos… They actually go a lot, more than any other age group. But if you look at the people who play slot machines, only two percent of them are under the age of 35.”

That’s just three ways the industry has changed over the past 20 years. It will be interesting to see what changes the next two decades hold.

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