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Are Millennials Just Slot Players in Waiting?

Chris Davidson

Earlier this month, I participated in a panel discussion at the ICE Totally Gaming Conference in London exploring topics around Millennials and casino gaming. The core issue is whether Millennials are simply “players in waiting,” – meaning they’re likely to be more attracted to slot machines and traditional casino games as they gain discretionary income and time – or whether Millennials are fundamentally different creatures with different preferences, priorities, and behaviors, both now and as they get older.

Citing data from our MMGY Portrait of American Travelers® study, our annual research study examining consumer gaming behaviors, I first presented several insights about Millennials’ attitudes towards casino gaming. For example, Millennials are actually more interested in casino gaming than other generational cohorts, including Baby Boomers. However, they’re also much more likely to find other leisure activities, such as outdoor adventures, spa visits, and sporting events, compelling as well. Hence, while Millennials are interested in gaming, they consider it simply one of many experiences they would seek out while traveling, not the singular reason for doing so.

I then shared several data points showing that Millennials value social engagement and interaction with others when traveling. Thus, expecting a Millennial to sit stagnant at a gaming device for an extended period of time is probably unrealistic. And, finally, we discussed the reality that, for Millennials, computer technology is not new, it is not amazing, it simply just is. I questioned whether Millennials will ever be engaged, inspired, and immersed by video slot machines in the same way generations prior have been. Spoiler alert – it’s unlikely.

The consensus of our panel was that Millennials are unlikely to simply evolve to be traditional casino gamers in the same way generations before them have. These players will demand innovations beyond casinos simply introducing a new bank of Breaking Bad® slot machines. Instead, casinos should be concepting innovative, exciting player zones to appeal directly to a younger audience; places where Millennials see other people like them. Places that engage people in more social, interactive ways. Places that allow players to impact their likelihood of winning through their own skill in addition to pure luck. And, certainly, places that are free and clear of the typical casino nicotine haze.

For further information and more research from the MMGY Global Portrait of American Travelers®, please visit our Research section.

See more about this topic at the following blog post: 3 Changes Casino Operators Need to Make to Attract Millennials.

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