Why the casino industry should not forget the elderly in their quest to impress millennials

casino millennials

There has been a clear focus within the casino industry in the last year or so to pay greater attention to the millennial generation.

The general opinion is that this age group isn’t into casino gambling and that the industry must step up its efforts to get them more involved.

One area of change is widely considered to be the launch of more skill-based games, tailored towards a more digital generation. At the forefront of such discussions is a partnership with eSports. More on this can be read here.

While the casino industry, like all others, needs to develop with the times, they must continue to also appease their current regular visitors.

The Numbers

A Market Realist study from 2014 identified slots and video poker as the most popular casino games. Over 60% of all visitors to US casinos played these games, in comparison to blackjack which came next in terms of participation at just 19%.

And this is perfect for the casino industry as not only do slots generally run with a house edge of approximately 10%, which is higher than the majority of games, they also are most economical.

They require no real regular staffing in the same way that blackjack and roulette do, while if a casino has 50 square foot of space, they can entertain substantially more slots players than those keen to play a table game.

In fact, it is generally accepted that around two-thirds of an average casino’s revenue comes from slots. They now account for more revenue than all of the other casino games combined together.

Yet, slots have limited appeal to the millennial generation regardless of the skin of a specific game. They are considered to fall short in terms of depth of play, interactivity and social reward.

Instead, it is the elderly that like slots and an article in Psychology Today, again from 2014, referenced a report from David Oslin at the University of Pennsylvania stating that seven in ten people aged 65 or older had gambled in the year previous.

Here are a few reasons as to why this age group can be regular casino visitors.

Socialisation

Many senior citizens may live alone and indulge in a limited number of activities each week that allow them to interact with others.

Certain establishments lay on buses and coaches with minimal collection points that have the sole purpose of arriving at a casino. Although once inside a casino people will typically go off and do their own thing seeking out their preferred games, the travel to the venue and the chance to mingle over a cheap meal provide a reason for the elderly to visit.

Disposable Income

Millennials may have expensive rents and mortgages to pay, other ongoing costs such as mobile phone bills and cars on payment plans, costly lifestyles to maintain and the need for semi-regular holidays. A large number rely on credit cards to get by.

The elderly tend not to find themselves in a similar position. They have paid off their properties, spend extravagantly far less often and many benefit from pensions and retirement plans that provide them with more money than they need to lead a comfortable life.

With cash on the hip in many cases, risking a chunk at a casino is suitable for many elderly visitors and they are unlikely to arrive with a maximum limit they are prepared to lose.

Time

For those over the age of 65, they may have to muck in with some school runs involving grandchildren and will have their regular day-to-day chores, but on the whole their time is their own.

Without work and having minimal responsibilities, they have the opportunity to visit a casino at all times of the day and play for a larger amount of time.

As the house edge is in the casino’s favour and with the elderly tending to play slots where the house edge is particularly large, the longer they play for, the more they can be expected to lose in the long run.

The average slot player is said to make 600 bets per hour, so even those who prefer to play penny slots or avoid betting on every payline that they can on a certain machine will still be making a solid contribution to a casino’s profits.

Without this older age group, the casinos will be giving up a considerable portion of profit, so it is important that any steps made to attempt to impress the millennial generation isn’t at the detriment of the over 65s.