Indoor golf anyone? How MGM’s ‘Level Up’ space could transform casinos

  • MGM targeting next generation gamblers
  • Golfstream offers skills-based gaming at MGM

Casino giants recognise they can’t rely on the millennial generation being the casino customers of the future. MGM Grand in Las Vegas has tried to seize the initiative by opening Level Up, a relaxed, social, skill-based gaming environment, pitched very much at the tech-savvy age.

Level Up MGM casino
The MGM ‘Level Up’ experience is aimed at targeting those who want a more relaxed, social and skill-based casino gaming experience.

A major innovation is Golfstream, which has claimed its place as the first indoor laser golf course aiming to offer players immersive, skills-based gaming. Golfstream’s virtual reality golf simulator gives players the opportunity to play some of the world’s most famous golf courses with their friends, while betting on the outcomes.

Space-age technology

Golfstream’s moving putting green has been designed by NASA and tests players’ accuracy and driving skills against other ‘golfers’. Computer-generated slopes can be added to the surface of the Golfstream simulator, together with floating island greens. There is even help for non-golfers, with laser guides to track the right path.

Aimed at younger, more active players, the Golfstream experience offers a private ‘Clubhouse’ suite for up to 10 players, VIP food and beverage services and a personal caddy, as they enjoy putting or tournament play for cash prizes. Tournament competitions include 30-second putting challenges, the longest drive and closest-to-the-pin.

MGM Grand’s 12,000-square-feet Level Up entertainment space, (where Golfstream is based), is aimed at a new generation of gamblers, those tech-savvy adults used to a more interactive style of gaming, having grown up with Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation. Set up like a lounge bar, Level Up has been styled to allow players to gamble in a more casual way, so they can socialize while they play.

Level Up’s lower minimum bets and a mix of gambling and traditional pay-to-play arcade games are also more appealing to younger gamblers. Games include blackjack, roulette, foosball, Pac-Man, Connect Four and even an arm-wrestling table.

OUR VERDICT

There’s no doubt that casinos recognise they can’t offer the same old games in the same old environments and expect younger people to always be turned on to it.

While we expect the roulette wheel to be spinning for some years to come, it is inevitable that new generations will want more from their casino gaming experience. That these large, land-based casinos recognise this is reassuring, and importantly for the players, it offers more choice. It should also be said that you don’t have to be a 20 or 30-something to enjoy skill-based games in a relaxed social environment. Afterall, fun is not the preserve of the young.

Online casinos are also recognising the need to offer a deeper experience. ‘Gamification‘ in relation to the online experience is now a hot buzzword – that is to say, the addition of video game-like elements into casinos, like quests, rewards, a sense of progression and storylines. All this is good news for players – more choice, a more immersive experience and a sure sign that casinos want to meet your expectations.

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