Millennials – the Near Future Gambling Customers

Lazy job-hoppers who can easily get distracted by tech gadgets and other modern fanciful toys. These are some of the worst, yet most commonly used stereotypes to describe millennials, the generation of the twenty- and thirty-somethings that is bound to form half of the global workforce by 2020.

Generally speaking, members of the millennial generation, else known as Generation Y, were born in the period between the 1980s and the early 2000s. In other words, the the oldest members of that particular demographic are in their mid-30s and have recently entered their prime earning/spending years.

Given the fact that the millennial cohort will very soon comprise 50% of the global workforce, it will likewise turn into the dominant consumer group. And, among many other things, it will become gambling companies’ main target group. Developers of casino games both for the land-based and online gambling industries as well as operators and marketers have already been faced with the difficult task to find what pleases that particular demographic and how to attract and retain its members as their regular customers.

Members of Generation Y have grown up and matured in the middle of a general economic decline, have been turned into the guinea pigs of the information revolution, and have become the first to come of age completely surrounded by technology. These as well as a number of other related reasons have resulted in millennials being the consumers who are probably the hardest to please not only when it comes to gambling offering but also in terms of all other kinds of services and products offered out there.

In order to retain the attention of the millennial demographic, industries, including the global gambling one, need to build a strong relationship with that part of the population. And this is not an easy thing to do. As mentioned above, members of Generation Y are often referred to as being lazy attention-losers without a definite purpose in life. However, these same stereotypes were also ascribed to members of Generation X, when they were emerging into adulthood, or even to baby boomers when they were in that transformative period of their lives. Thankfully, stereotypes are, in the greater part, inconsistent with the reality.

Like all other generations, millennials have their unique and inherent traits, characteristic features that determine the way the generation impacts and responds to every single aspect of contemporary life. The first thing that needs to be known about the members of that particular demographic is that they are indeed hard to please mainly due to the conditions they have been raised in (but not only).

Millenials are tech-savvy. As already mentioned, Generation Y representatives were the first to have had technology all around them since the day they were born. They are the ones to adopt technology innovations most quickly and eagerly. And they are the ones that need technology the most.

Millennials are naturally-born multi-taskers. Given the social and economic situation they were born in, Generation Y members are accustomed to always being on the go and having a number of errands to run simultaneously.

Millennials are choosy and demanding. As previously said, they are probably the hardest to please demographic. They are selective and curious. Millennials take longer in picking a product or service. And they inquisitive about a product or service before opting for it more than the representatives of any other demographic.

Millennials consider self-expression important. This particular trait is closely related to the fact that they were the first demographic to have to deal with technology in every aspect of their lives and that they are in a way the children of the information revolution. What is more, they are the first active users of social media. Millennials have turned social networks in places where they can share their thoughts and opinion on different matters, in places where they can show their artistic urges, in places where they can do business.

Another important thing to take into consideration is the fact that millennials’ influence is growing with every year passing and soon they will be the most influential demographic group. In the United States only, members of Generation Y have outnumbered baby boomers, according to estimates released by the US Census Bureau in June 2015. The figures posted showed that there were more than 83 million millenials as of July 1, 2014, representing one quarter of the nation’s overall population. In comparison, there were a total of 75.4 million baby boomers. Similar trends can most certainly be noticed in other parts of the world as well.

Within the context of the global casino industry, millennials are soon to become the operators’ main target group. However, given the above-mentioned traits, it could be said with a degree of certainty that Generation Y representatives cannot be drawn to casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online ones, with traditional offering. In other words, gambling venues and websites will soon have to change into something completely different, in order to build a solid customer base comprised of the millennial cohort.

As stated above, traditional casino games, particularly slots, are not likely to appeal much to Generation Y members. They prefer games involving skills. This is why it is a good idea for casino operators to install fewer slot machines at their facilities in favor of a wider and more diverse table game offering. Apart from the fact that they require certain skills, table games also give players the chance to socialize with fellow players, while slots are seen as “anti-social, non-intuitive, and generally boring” by millennials, according to a 2015 research conducted by the Marketing Research Association, a marketing membership organization based in Washington D.C.

In order to draw the attention of the millennial cohort, land-based casino operators may consider diversifying their overall offering, not just its gambling options, but also the non-gambling ones so as to make these, too, more attractive to that particular demographic.

Generally speaking, brick-and-mortar casino will have to undergo the most significant changes as part of the transition process to the new generation of gambling customers. This, however, does not mean that it would be much, much easier for online casinos to make their content more appealing to millennials. It is true that they have one significant advantage – they require gambling customers to be versed in modern technology and its uses. Yet, they still have a lot to do in order to capture Generation Y’s attention and turn members of the demographic into their regular customers.

Engaging and diverse offering is most certainly one of the things that would help both operators and marketers in their important pursuit. As pointed out above, millennials are always on the go, which makes them heavy mobile users. Most of the major developers of gaming content have already sensed that mobile gambling options are what would definitely appeal to the Generation Y cohort. In fact, mobile has gradually turned into one of the main contributors to revenues from online gambling over the past several years. And mobile gaming’s influence will certainly continue growing.

Social gaming is another major segment that deserves to be paid special attention. The amount of $3.5 billion was generated from online social casino options in 2015, beating Eilers Research’s estimates of full-year revenue of $3.4 billion. What is more, that figure is expected to increase to $4.4 billion by 2017. Millennials are known for their preferences for everything social so they will certainly find this type of offering more and more engaging in the years to come.

Last but not least, many believe that Virtual Reality online casinos are the next major thing for the global gambling industry. It is still too early to say whether this statement would prove right. One thing, however, is for sure, VR offering will most certainly appeal to millennials quite a lot. It has everything that the demographic finds attractive – it requires use of high-end technology and it features engaging content.

However, it is exactly the use of modern technology that may prevent that type of gambling offering from establishing itself as leading one on the market, or at least for now. Quite expectedly, high-end solutions require certain investment that many gambling customers may not be able to afford at first. On the other hand, many believe that the VR technology may be found appealing to land-based casino operators and they may start providing such options. And this will certainly contribute to the offering’s popularization.

To sum up, millennials are a diverse generation, maybe the world’s most diverse one, and it is, indeed, difficult to please so many people with so many different interests, needs, and demands. While it is still unclear what would be the next big thing in gambling, one thing is for certain, developers, manufacturers, and operators will need to find the big thing that would attract the attention of Generation Y members, and do it quickly. And it will not be easy for marketers as well, as millennials have proved to be immune to the traditional marketing pitch.

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