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The Buzz This Year at G2E, “Millennials.”

Those “M’s” and all things social…They just happen to be my students. Bob Ambrose


I am excited that the gaming industry is studying the next generation of customers. Quite frankly I am bored with my baby boomer counterparts.

Those “M’s” are 80 million strong; according to the US Chamber of Commerce. This is the first generation that has grown up from diaper to “cap and gown” centered in a planet sized evolution of technology.

They are also my students. Not all 80 million! But I do have a microcosm of multi-cultural 18-30 year olds that don’t like being generalized. I get it! As a child of the 1960’s in the US I felt the same way with the entire “flower-power” hippie-generation tag I had to bear.

It is easy to become immersed in the generational clutter as we study the “M’s,” and look for those common denominators that make it easier for us to market to them. Remember once you establish the generalities; there are more layers that require specific analysis based on region, competition and general economics. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

My students enjoy expressing themselves on this topic. Here are a few things they had to say… “…My generation doesn’t care about gambling posts on social media. They do care if you post that you were in the biggest name brand hotel and went to the hottest night club.”

“In simple terms it is about our image…”

“If casinos and resorts want to attract our attention then they need to continue to be innovative…”

“…In order to keep our attention, a property has to have options. If a casino is multifaceted it not only attracts millennials but also keeps them engaged. You can build brand loyalty; however this does not mean that brand loyalty will stay.”

“As Millennials we just don’t want to look cool in front of other people, we also want to be cooler than other people. That is why we are willing to spend money on overpriced alcohol and cover fee onto a nightclub. I don’t have strong feelings for gambling because I don’t see other people my age playing at the tables or slots.”

Table Games do interest them but some tell me they feel intimidated by the “older” folks at the tables. I didn’t know I was so intimidating! Hey Marketing department…Come up with an idea!

When Billy Wilkerson was planning what later became known as Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo, we know he was experimenting with something new.

The property:“…It had to provide an oasis for people who did not wish to gamble.”

“…A luxurious home-away-from-home, an insulated world of fine dining, high quality floor shows and outdoor activities.” (From the book, The Man Who Invented Las Vegas, by WR Wilkerson)

Maybe Billy gave use the benchmark that appeals to all generations. Generations seem to have no boundaries when it comes to eating and sleeping. It is about the “experience” it takes place in.

Everything we apply beyond that benchmark that Billy set is based on the current social “environment” of the times. Simply said; the lure of gambling is fluid and marketing to each new generation will be a challenge.

We know that first “M’s” have to experience a property and connect with the brand identity?

We will continue to see a great deal of experimentation as properties look for that right niche that defines the next generational interest.

We know the casino and hospitality environment has radically changed in the past decade. Gaming floor sightlines are now woven among non-gaming experiences. The design has gone from an inward cavern of dark smokey rooms to an arcade-like outward presentation of flashing technology, scattered within socially designed zones. These zones offer food, beverage, a party atmosphere and the chance to be seen with the help of social media.

Perhaps we need a John Lennon? That cultural icon from my day (75 yrs. old this year) would have been very relevant with Millennials. He has been quoted using this phrase, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Perhaps this quote would be better Millennial served today if it read….

“Life is what you put on social media while you are busy doing other things to be put on social media.”

Bob Ambrose, Instructor Gaming & Hospitality Center for Hospitality & Sport Management Drexel University. The Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab. Rja73@drexel.edu Twitter @bobambrose