Millennials Not Adulting in Your Casino?


Baby Boomers still spending like grown ups

Tom Osiecki

It’s called the Silver Tsunami.

Articles refer to it as “Gray is the New Black.”

Baby boomers are projected to propel the economy for years to come. When it comes to your casino, baby boomers remain an enormous target with discretionary disposable income, free time, and a proven propensity to gamble.

Today, baby boomers are driving the car in your casinos while millennials keep bickering in the back seat.

Visa projects consumers age 60+ will continue to drive U.S. spending for the next five to 10 years

According to Visa Business and Economic Insights, “While millennials have dominated headlines in recent years, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have continued to dominate consumer spending in the U.S. In fact, consumers over 50 now account for more than half of all U.S. spending. They are also responsible for more spending growth over the past decade than any other generation, including the coveted millennials.”

“As a group, this over-50 crowd should continue to be a major force in U.S. consumer spending, especially as those over 60 years old drive growth over the next five to 10 years,” Visa said.

“By 2020, there will be about 11 million more consumers over age 60,” Visa stated.

According to Deloitte Insights, Future of Wealth in US, baby boomers are 23% of the population holding 50% of the wealth in 2018. By 203o, baby boomers will still represent 45% of American Wealth, with gen X projected to hold 31%.

The baby boom generation has dominated the economy for decades. They have the numbers, are working longer, and have been lucky.

According to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management “Boomers also control 70% of the nation’s disposable income. This is partly driven by accumulated income, but also by long careers. That means that the boomer generation will maintain enormous spending muscle. In the next two decades, spending by Americans over 50 is projected to increase by 58%, whereas spending by Americans 25-50 will grow by 24%.”

So, why is the gaming industry transfixed by millennials?

Well, first it’s the growing number of millennials as a percentage of the population.

According to the Pew Research Center, “Millennials are expected to overtake boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and boomers decline to 72 million.”

Changing Attitudes

Growing up in the Great Recession, millennials are entering the casino gaming market with entirely different economic challenges and attitudes than previous generations.

The combination of suffocating student loans, a job market occupied by late retiring baby boomers, and higher housing costs are dragging millennials into their own pit of misery.

Propensity to Gamble … On Phones

Not surprisingly, tech minded millennials favor gaming on smart phones and have not warmed up to casino gaming.

A recent survey by YouGov shows “When it comes to gambling in general, data from YouGov Profiles reveals that US consumers aged 18-34 are more likely to agree (50%) that online gambling should be legal than disagree (28%).”

“Another statistic that supports the notion that millennials would rather gamble via a digital space than a physical one: 47% of US adults aged 18-34 think casinos are depressing, compared to one-third who disagree with that assessment,” stated YouGov.

Large gaming markets like Las Vegas and Atlantic City responded by adding nightclubs, day clubs, and creating food and beverage spaces that are more of an integrated experience.

Casinos are hosting increasingly popular Esports competitions to convert gamers into casino gamers. Esports lounges are growing at casinos trying to attract millennials. Millennial dedicated egaming lounges are popping up across the county with a distinctly social twist that includes arcade games, hand held computers, pool tables and a night club like atmosphere.

Slot departments are experimenting with skill-based games with mixed results. Recently, legalized online casino and sports betting in its various forms appeals to a younger fan base.

All because you can’t ignore the next generation that’s arriving with huge demographic growth.

Three Ways to Prevent Millennial FOMO

1. Segment Messages

Digital marketing allows segmentation to deliver targeted messages towards both baby boomers and millennials. Most casinos use typical images of generic 30-year-olds as aspirational gaming customers to represent all age groups. Digital marketing through SEO, social media, and all other channels gives the ability to target both age groups using diverse images and distinct messages. Consider targeting traditional media towards specific age groups with communications and programs that motivate baby boomers and millennials.

2. Mobile Gaming

States that offer gaming via mobile phones have the best opportunity to draw millennial customers into the market mix. If you can’t attract millennials into the bricks and mortar casino revenue stream, mobile gaming is the next best route to grow revenue from the millennial demographic.

3. Focus on what you know

While Baby Boomers are growing users of mobile phones, social media and digital channels, keeping your nose to the direct marketing grindstone still produces the best results. Database marketing to baby boomers and gen X will keep a consistent flow of revenue moving into your casino while you struggle with the shifting tastes of younger demographics.

Given the overwhelming data that suggests baby boomers will drive the economy for the next decade and beyond, why not follow the money?

Tom Osiecki