One casino may be predominantly red, another gold. One may have floral wallpaper, another geometric designs. But they all are large spaces, with rows and rows of slot machines. Roulette, craps and blackjack tables are in their own pits. And then there are race and sports books with big-screen televisions and betting kiosks. But casino floors are slowly changing, and so too are the games offered.
According to industry experts, too much space is devoted to the casino floor in the Las Vegas market. In jurisdictions in which only a few casinos operate, it is necessary to have large casino floors to house the hundreds of slot machines required to satisfy a captive audience. But here, where a customer can visit many casinos, the trend will be to create a smaller casino footprint and make better use of the outlying areas of the casino floor.
The goal will be to create an environment in which the excitement will come from being close to the action. And, to help with that excitement, the casino floor will look different.
MGM Grand recently opened Level Up, describing it as a tech-savvy, adult playground featuring pay-to-play offerings in a social atmosphere. In addition to casino game offerings, Level Up features pool tables, beer pong tables and foosball. O’Sheas, attached to the Linq, is described as a “heavily social and dynamic environment” with similar offerings.
Many think these socially integrated casino environments are geared toward millennials. It makes sense. By 2025, millennials, or Generation Y, will earn 46 percent of U.S. income. It is no wonder that gaming executives are looking for products to excite this group. Traditional gaming-floor layouts and gaming devices are thought to be boring for those who grew up in a social environment. And don’t count out Gen Xers from this trend. They grew up in a world without Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat, but they are socially interactive and also want a different experience than what is currently offered.
Casinos also are experimenting with skill-based slot machines based on video games. The hope is that skill-based games will drive a new source of customers to the casino.
Finally, look for more wagering opportunities on esports, or multiplayer video game competitions. In 2015, esports was a $218 million business. It is estimated that it will be an $800 million business by 2019. A dedicated esport tournament arena is being built at Luxor to host tournaments and leagues, and other casinos have esports competitions on a regular basis. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved wagering on an esport tournament, and the hope is that
esports will quickly become one of the more popular wagering options at Las Vegas sports books.
Gaming companies are always looking for ways to enhance the experience. Lucky for us, we live in a city that just never stops being the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Ellen Whittemore is a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.