Recently, BNP Media’s Market Research, a division of the company that owns this magazine, undertook a study to understand the state of gaming industry, expansion of gaming companies into non-gaming and growth of interactive gaming—social, mobile and iGaming. Well, more than 250 gaming executives responded to the survey, the preliminary results are now available, and I would like to share some of them with you.
To start, and probably to the surprise of very few, non-gaming amenities are becoming a bigger deal for more and more casino resorts. Respondents were not shy about this fact—78 percent of the casino/racino/hospitality executives said they had non-gaming amenities, and that on average the businesses generated 25 percent of the total revenue at their facilities. In addition, 69 percent expected this segment of the casino resort trade to grow over the next two years, led by increases to dining and entertainment adjuncts. Retail, nightclubs and foodcourts were other non-gaming aspects of the casino resort expected to see an uptick in growth. When asked if casinos were becoming less gaming centric because of growth in non-gaming amenities, 61 percent responded in the affirmative.
When it comes to the gaming offering itself, electronic table games and server-based gaming were cited as technologies already in place by 44 percent of respondents. Social gaming (32 percent), Internet gaming (14 percent) and mobile gaming (13 percent) also made this list, and were additionally noted as the technologies most likely to be added by the largest number of properties over the next one to two years (15-16 percent). When asked if online or social games pose a threat to land-based casino operators, 37 percent and 32 percent, respectively, agreed, while 45 percent and 46 percent strongly disagreed.
Slot machines remain the gaming product most likely to be added to the casino gaming mix, with 55 percent of respondents saying it was an area they were looking to expand. Currently, 75 percent have licensed slot machines at their facilities, mostly owned, with penny slots being the most common denomination. When it comes to selecting new slot product, the study shows the reputation of the provider, past experience and variety of product offerings are highly important. Floor pricing and player re-investment strategies are now mostly established outside of slot department, with 45 percent saying executive and marketing teams have a high influence on pricing decisions.
Table game growth also looks strong going forward, with 32 percent listing it as a growth area.
Perhaps more interesting is what respondents predict will happen when it comes time for customers to pay for gaming and non-gaming activities at their properties. The study shows that cashless systems are making big strides at casinos; with 67 percent reporting that they currently have players club cards and 62 percent noting they have cashless payment systems at their facilities. One card usage and cashless gaming were cited as one of the biggest trends in gaming.
In closing, the study states: “Casinos will continue to invest in restaurants, clubs and entertainment venues, to generate maximum revenue growth and provide an enhanced player experience. For seamless player experience across gaming and non-gaming, cashless systems/one card usage will slowly replace the TITO method. Pop culture themed slot machines will continue to add excitement to gaming.”
Perhaps these are not the most earth-shaking revelations, but it’s good to know that the casino industry of the near future will still seem familiar to us.