As the next generation of gamblers meet the legal age to gamble, resort casinos are seeing a drastic decrease in those willing to travel to real casinos to part ways with their money. Don´t get me wrong, for now, resort casinos are doing well with the baby-boomers hitting retirement age and the increase in sports related travel to Las Vegas, but the future is more murky for the pure casinos.
Obviously one of the biggest changes for the youngest generation that can legally gamble is that they have grown up their whole lives knowing the internet. This has a greater impact on resort casinos that most people realize. The most obvious difference with young people is they can now gamble directly online. Obviously there is an appeal to going to a huge resort casino, but there is also an appeal to gambling when you want, wherever you want with no huge upfront travel expense. Spend a couple thousand on airfare and hotels? or use those thousands to add to your bank at an online casino.
But the more subtle difference caused because of the internet is knowledge. The average 20-something gambler knows right away that slot machines are heavily tilted towards the house, that you can download a standard play chart for Blackjack or how to research which casino has the best comps system. All of those things make the casinos less profitable, and less likely to promote themselves to younger gamblers … and conversely it makes it much more likely that a person with a few minutes on Google will opt-out of going to a resort casino at all.
The final thing that has caused resort casinos to fail to lure the latest generation of gamblers is the rise of computer gaming and skill-based gambling such as daily fantasy leagues. Younger people want more interaction than just pulling a lever or pressing a button, and the rise and ease of skill-based gambling is a natural progression from online gaming such as Starcraft and MOBAs.
It is interesting to see how the resort casinos ramp up their efforts to lure younger gamblers or at the very least, to make sure they become resort casino gamblers when they get older. The entertainment lure will need to become the primary motivator rather than gambling. In the past, people went to Las Vegas to gamble, and then saw some of the shows and attractions while there, my guess is in the future Las Vegas will focus more on creating other reasons for people to come, and then gambling in a casino will just be a part of that.