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Collaborative Game Changer

The traditional casino floor is being challenged by the next generation of customers. Robert Ambrose

I think it’s generally agreed that the new casino floor culture should not alienate those that enjoy the traditional experience. There is a need to cross market and blend generational differences into a seamless connectivity of traditional and non-traditional experiences.

Property floor layouts are being tested in a range of experimental configurations to keep the traditional seasoned casino customers; -while at the same time, introducing the next generation of customers to a new experience.

Today’s customers are extremely savvy and have become increasingly more discerning about where they spend their time and cash making it essential for a successful hospitality/gaming operation to deploy equally sophisticated and differentiated offerings.

Floss Barber, CEO of Floss Barber Inc., whose clients include both hospitality and casino venues sees the Millennial demographic in more urban influenced casino and hospitality environments.

“The traditional casinos have been designed like suburban neighborhoods,” said Floss.

“Clusters of slots, then clusters of tables with specific areas for food and beverage. The presentation has been predictable.”

“Urban environments are dynamic and ever changing with intermixed users, easy access to a variety of authentic food establishments and dynamic entertainment. There are dense areas and quite spaces, green spaces, parks and night life to fit your mood.” said Floss.

This is reminiscent of what Caesars did with the “LINQ” project in Las Vegas, which has taken a former non-descript area on the strip to a presentation of interest for a multi-generational mix; of indoor/outdoor activity-with a strategic eye on the “M’s.”

Other models include, the Cosmopolitan which is a buzz with new floor changes. Lagasse’s Stadium, the recently opened sports bar at the Palazzo offering an environment of unique F&B is an atmosphere where the “M’s” felt right at home. And I will add that this baby boomer enjoyed it as well!

In Atlantic City new clubs and areas of interest are popping up all over town. In 2015 Resorts Hotel Casino opened the first on-line lounge while the Tropicana renovated the casino floor which further complemented the successful Quarter F&B and retail configuration. The Borgata offered a free-throw basketball tournament with a prize of $20k with a $20. buy-in. A first attempt at what the market called “skill-based” gaming.

Collaborative Game Changer Discussions.

As the industry begins its entry into the skill based gaming product it is important to know that it’s ok to be different. Stakeholders, game designers and regulators must collaborate going forward to better understand and educate themselves on these products. Collaboration at this level is important. It is about knowledge shared, establishing the regulations and offering a transparent product to the public in definition and content.

Recently I spoke with Aaron Hightower, President of NanoTech Gaming. [See Casino Life October 2015, pages 42 to 46 for our exclusive profile on NanoTech Gaming.].

“Helping players and operators understand what drives revenue higher for skill-based technology is no easy task,” said Hightower. “This is the new frontier.” NanoTech’s patented math model has no mathematical exposure to the casino. “…Due to player skills they are creating an entirely new category that have the potential to drive revenues higher than what have ever been seen before. In this new frontier, not just the players need to learn how this all works, but the operators as well, because both stand to benefit tremendously armed with this new knowledge,” said Hightower.

It is clear we have to move beyond the limitations of our known parameters. Insight should not be defined in hindsight.

There may be “unsuccessful attempts.” Not every casino floor layout, game change out, new culinary experience, or entertainment lounge is going to score high with the “M’s.” Remember, in these attempts, everything is a work in progress to a path to making it work!

Keep the casino floor fresh, the property experience unique and the goal of multi-generational satisfaction a priority. Probing with respect to the millennials is constant research into the personality of the business model; whether it is the gaming environment or the game product itself. It may be a try and re-try model.

Result a multi-generational experience. World’s colliding? I think not.

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