Casino Operators Discuss Ways To Monetize eSports & Bring In Millennials
Casinos across the United States have been trying for years to bring in millennials and formulate a successful strategy for doing so. Average slot revenues per room has continued to drop since 2008 as millennials have not been interested in traditional slot machine games or table games such as poker and blackjack.
Senior casino executives made presentations and shared their views during the recently concluded Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas and discussed ways in which to monetize the eSports industry and attract millennials.
In a statement, Seth Schorr, Chairman of Downtown Grand and the CEO of Fifth Street Gaming said
We have an entire generation that, from first, second, third, fourth grade, we have been teaching them to game on computers. This generation has a very, very different perspective on game play and how they are rewarded psychologically and sociologically when they play games
A typical Friday night at the gaming lounge in Downtown Grand these days is in stark comparison to the noise and neon lights that once marked the heady atmosphere at the casino. The loud cheers and the inebriated crowd is nowhere to be seen as people with fight sticks in their hand sit glued to the screen, participating in weekly esports contests and competitive events that the hotel has now been hosting regularly.
Market researcher Newzoo predicts that by 2019, esports will be a billion-dollar industry and a number of Chinese companies such as Ourgame International Holdings Ltd have expressed interest in expanding their operations by setting up a dedicated esports facility in Las Vegas.
Robert Rippee, director of the Hospitality Lab at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute says that the casino industry should brace themselves for change. Rippee says that casinos should start understanding the nuances of the millennial generation and start gearing their products to address their demands.
However casino operators are not willing to fully commit to the esports industry at the moment as they have their doubts when it comes towards the spending capacity of individuals in their 20s. They tend to believe that the group between their 30s and 50s have more spending power as they continue to spend money on table games and slot machines.
While the concept of video gaming and gambling is not revolutionary, industry observers feel that a widespread acceptance of the concept is not imminent. Even Seth Schorr admits as much when he says that esports and skill based games are unlikely to replace slots and other gambling mainstays immediately.
Some of the ways in which eSports can be monetized including brand sponsorships and video gaming machines that have games which combine strategy and chance.