North America is responsible for over 46% of the market when it comes to casino revenue. As the clear leader, it is important for U.S. casinos to look to international trends when developing progressive strategies to build on existing success and continue to attract international customers. While many of the trends that are affecting the international market are also occurring in the U.S., there are a few worth noting and taking into account in 2018 and beyond.
New Marketing Strategies
You may be surprised to learn that casinos around the world still rely heavily on direct mail marketing. It is still by far the most popular marketing tool despite a whole host of digital options. Moving forward, casinos are looking to adopt more technology-based techniques and optimize social media and mobile advertising.
The real challenge here is to serve ads in a way that feels personal without being intrusive. Younger demographics are used to constantly being barraged with online ads, which means that they have become desensitized and don’t have a problem simply skimming over ads. Casinos are going to have to develop high quality content that is both informative and entertaining in order to grab the attention of their target audience.
Winning over Millennials
Not only are casinos looking to win over Millennials with new marketing strategies, they are also changing the landscape of their casino floors to attract more customers from this age group. This goes beyond incorporating new types of games and includes re-purposing underutilized space with more intimate lounges and speakeasy type bars that reflect the tastes of younger gamblers.
While brick and mortar casino locations are still by far the largest source of revenue, there is an increasing demand for online gambling. Countries who do allow online gambling are raking in all the money from this profitable form of betting. The U.S., in particular, has been especially strict about regulating online gambling. As it stands now, only a few states permit this form of gambling and only residents of that state are allowed to participate. However, as the international online gambling market continues to grow, the federal government may feel more pressure from casinos to loosen restrictions. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. continues to handle this trend.
Smaller Scale Gambling Operations
In the United States, we are used to large gambling meccas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. A visit to one of these cities is meant to provide an immersive experience that includes fine dining, entertainment and superior accommodations. Hotels are built to serve the casinos and act as an additional, luxurious draw to consumers. All the glitz and glamour is part of the bigger experience.
This same approach to attracting customers has been used around the world, but there is now a noticeable shift towards smaller scale gambling operations. Instead of making the casino the destination, companies are bringing gambling to existing destinations. For example, there are more slot machines and games showing up in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants. Casinos aren’t as concerned about bringing customers to them as they are about meeting customers where they already are.
Continuing this trend in the U.S. is problematic because of gambling regulations, but again, it is a trend worth watching. U.S. companies may want to start exploring new ways to partner up with the hospitality industry.
Social Gambling and Interactive Games
It should come as no surprise that more interactive games that allow you to play with and against your friends are also gaining popularity across the globe. Technology has the power to make us feel more isolated, but it can also help us connect and turn gambling into a more social activity. Apparently, a trend towards more social experiences is one that crosses all borders and will continue to be important on an international level.
What Other Countries Can Learn from US Trends
There are also some big things happening in the U.S. that may be of interest to foreign casino companies also looking to stay competitive. While the presence of technology is becoming more visible on the gaming floor, it is also being used to address management challenges and streamline many of the complicated processes that keep casinos running.
For instance, Casino Schedule Ease (CSE) is a software program that helps managers to easily schedule employees and maximize performance. Just imagine the balancing act required to make sure that all the tables are covered over a 24-hour period by an employee who has the skills and experience to expertly run each game. Not to mention all the unexpected variables that can pop-up during the day, including unscheduled absences.
Casino Schedule Ease allows employees to log into a centralized dashboard and put in requests for vacation time and let managers know what days and times they prefer to work. Mangers can use the software to create an ideal schedule that takes into account the needs of the casino and preferences of individual workers. CSE even provides a visual representation of the casino floor to help managers create a clear picture of who will be placed where.
This type of management and scheduling software is allowing casinos to run more efficiently and provide both employees and guests with a better experience. As a result, casinos enjoy more repeat business and are able to reduce operational costs. Moving forward CSE and other software will increasingly become invaluable tools that allow large scale casinos to better manage daily challenges. International casinos may want to take note of this growing trend as they continue to look for ways to increase revenue and stay competitive.
It would be a mistake for casinos to ignore what is happening across the globe in the gambling industry. Even though the U.S. owns the largest share of the market, being the leader can often result in complacency. Taking a larger view of the market can help identify emerging trends and help casinos position themselves for ongoing success. On that same note, international casinos may want to take a look at how major U.S. companies are using technology and software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to improve performance and increase revenue.