The legalisation of sports betting in the US along with the pent up consumer demand generated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has been top of mind for everyone involved in the casino and gaming industry over the past two years.
As the landscape evolves, it’s important to occasionally take the pulse of the consumer, especially those of a younger demographic to understand their mindset and hidden drivers that may have changed.
LaneTerralever, a marketing agency, recently released its 2022 Casino Player Trends Report. The report is the result of a national study of 1,384 casino players, in-depth interviews with players across all generations, and interviews with executives from some of the largest casino operators in the United States.
The report aimed to uncover any gap between what casino operators currently understand about their players and what those players actually seek. Nick Dan-Bergman, VP, Marketing, runs G3 through the study’s key findings.
Casino players expect a seamless customer experience
Customer experience has increasingly become an area for casinos to differentiate from each other as there has been an increased focus on it due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The customer experience can be considered one of the fundamental drivers of a casino’s overall reputation and helps generate positive word of mouth. While we all know it is necessary, most operators must realise how much consumer expectations vary across different generations.
The Casino Players Trends Report found that all players seek a personalised encounter rather than being seen as just another number. Meanwhile, when dealing with an unsatisfactory customer experience, 49 per cent of Gen Z are willing to give casino operators a second chance to make up for a bad customer experience, whereas only 25 per cent of Boomers were willing to do so.
It’s time for all operators to consider the end-to-end customer experience journey that encompasses everything from gaming options, social experiences, rewards incentives, and overall customer interaction. How operators choose to interact and connect with their guests will ultimately shape the future of casinos.
Online sports betting could lead younger demographics to land-based casinos
As the legalisation of sports betting has rolled out across 30 US states, you have seen an industry that has become increasingly more competitive. While many land-based casinos have seen growth, their online sports betting counterparts are attracting the always coveted Millenial and Gen Z demographic.
Online sports betting might not be as profitable as traditional casino games, but everyone is looking for ways to market to this growing demographic effectively as they are pretty different from the traditional slots or table games players. For example, the younger generation is unique in seeking social gaming experiences, which the land-based operators have a unique opportunity to capitalise on.
LaneTerralever’s study found that a staggering 70 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials said the legalisation of sports betting made them more likely to visit a casino in person. That mindset shift is welcome news for many casino operators worried that online sports betting would cannibalise land-based operators.
So far, most of the data indicate it’s been addictive, which further supports the notion that with sports betting on the rise, younger generations are now becoming more open to experiencing what a land-based casino has to offer.
Players said they would be enticed to visit a casino in person because of the ability to immediately cash out winnings (48 per cent) and for the social experience of watching events with family and friends (31 per cent). This presents an enormous opportunity for operators with a land-based and online presence to entice those who have been introduced to the industry through online sports betting to visit casinos in person.
“Sports betting opens up a new way for casinos to engage with a demographic that, just a few years ago, was at risk of creating a vacuum in the gaming space. Casinos can’t passively rely on the sports betting offering to win; they have to understand that the younger generation of sports bettors are engaging in that gaming behaviour as much, if not more, for a social experience they can’t quite replicate any other way,” said Lauren Hillery, VP of Brand Strategy at LaneTerralever.
Loyalty programmes are used differently across generations
Loyalty rewards programs are proven to get customers already familiar with you to spend more time and share their wallets. It’s long been a critical component of any casino’s marketing programme, so much so that many have a loyalty marketing budget aside from acquisition marketing.
The study found that 65 per cent of the surveyed players admitted that they were more inclined to visit a casino based solely on their perception of its loyalty programme. A well-designed player rewards program with targeted communications and a strong rewards mix will encourage repeat visitation, foster loyalty, stimulate play, and give an operator a competitive advantage.
While everyone has some programme in place, Casino operators must be intentional when designing their loyalty programmes and not build a one-size-fits-all model as generations seek different things. For example, most Millennials and Gen X use their rewards to play more.
One of the key findings identified in the report were the casino/sports betting loyalty programmes they preferred. While notable national brands were found in the top five across all generations, the one that ranked highest was a player’s local casino, which only came in first because it is preferred by 40 per cent of Boomers compared to 11.5 per cent of Gen Z and Millenials.
- Player’s Local Casino at 20 per cent;
- DraftKings Dynasty Rewards at 17 per cent;
- Caesars Total Rewards at 15 per cent;
- FanDuel Players Club at 12 per cent;
- MGM M Life Rewards at six per cent.
The casino of tomorrow
So what’s next for the casino industry? The casinos of tomorrow will be quite different in how they look and the experiences they offer. It will be about reinventing land-based environments while strengthening their connection with digital experiences, which are especially important to Gen Z and Millennials.
Penn Entertainment’s acquisition of Barstool Sports and FanDuel’s content partnerships are great examples of companies adapting to where the consumer’s attention is shifting. The operators that meet this younger consumer where they are will be the ones who win big long-term.
For more information and to gain access to the full report, click here.
Bio: Nick Dan-Bergman is a seasoned marketing leader focusing on developing strategic marketing and digital experiences across casinos, hospitality, attractions, and healthcare brands. He has led national consumer research studies to uncover generational insights about Gen Z and Millennials.
Nick has spent that last 10 years consulting with notable marketing executives at national and global brands to identify growth opportunities and to help them solve customer experience challenges.