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Julie Moraine August 25, 2020 4 min read
Young Guests Can Be Las Vegas’ Salvation, Says Josh Swissman
Younger generations will have a beneficial effect on business in Las Vegas, says Josh Swissman, a consulting agency expert. However, whether younger players stick around is another matter.
Las Vegas to Bet on Younger Generations to Ride Pandemic
In a recent article for the Las Vegas Review Journal, Josh Swissman from consulting agency The Strategy Organization outlined a road to recovery for the Silver State and Las Vegas in particular. “There is an opportunity for local and Strip casinos to capitalize on this growing guest segment right now,” Swissman said and he is not the first person to make the argument.
Casino properties have been trying to attract younger generations for years now, betting on skill-based games, virtual reality and even projects such as the HyperX Arena that hosts both poker and esports competitions.
Smart operators should therefore continue to find new ways to incentivize younger customers to come and visit their venues, Swissman added. Meanwhile a number of executives from Las Vegas companies have cautioned that patrons aged 55 and older have been fewer in the second half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though older customers have a much better spending and purchasing power than their younger counterparts, the venue may now have to refocus their efforts on retaining a new generation of gamers, and specifically Millennials. According to social content company Fullscreen, in April, estimated 63% of Gen Z and Millennials didn’t take the crisis seriously.
Who Are Those New Games and Where They Come From?
According to Swissman, younger patrons are both local and drive-in guests who visit Las Vegas resorts and look for entertainment, and affordable getaways while lockdown restrictions continue to limit some freedoms across the United States.
The drive-in market in Las Vegas has proven far more interesting to sports fans, for example, Swissman explained, as sports events are now held without any live audience. Younger generations of gamblers are also a little more confident in visiting venues as they still think their relatively good health would help them fight COVID-19.
An interesting research by Pew Research Center released in June indicated that only 26% of people aged between 18 and 29 saw the COVID-19 outbreak as a serious threat to their health but some 50% of those aged 65 or older said they were worried because of the virus.
Meanwhile, some chief executives, including Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith, have been upbeat about their brand and power to retain new customers. He had this to say:
“We may be getting a larger share of their wallet today (with less entertainment competition), but the point is they’re coming into the building, they’re participating with us, they’re enjoying the product, and we’ll be able to continue to talk to them going forward.”
Capturing new audiences has proven to be one of the core strategies of other brands, including Caesars Entertainment Inc. and Station Casinos. Yet, Caesars is also looking to the return of the older generations of bettors as well.
No Telling If Customers Will Stick
Just like we saw a tremendous spike in online poker in places like Pennsylvania in April, and the subsequent drop, so is the question of “stickiness” not a final one. Some players will most likely appreciate Las Vegas more so than others, but Las Vegas is not very likely to change its makeup overnight, or because of the pandemic.
Gen Z and Millennials are the largest demographic in the country, Swissman commented, and they definitely constitute an important future revenue for companies. The industry has been trying to figure them out for a while, but creating value has proven difficult.