During these past months, we have been proud to share summary findings from the new WMS Active Gambler™ Profile survey, the industry’s most comprehensive examination of emerging trends shaping the gaming marketplace of the future.
This pioneering survey has revealed four megatrends, each with profound implications for the future of the gaming business: Time Poverty, Demography, Technology, and Changing Lifestyles and Social Values. In the final column of this compelling series, we delve deeper into the survey’s implications to reveal how gamblers’ preferences are shifting in ways that will revolutionize the casino floor. The corresponding insights provide a roadmap for success, leading operators boldly into the future with enhanced strategies that will help them stay in touch with our most important constituents—the players—and assure the future growth and prosperity of our industry.
Insight 1: Time Poverty will redefine the types and locations of gaming experiences sought by active gamblers.
The explosion in Internet and mobile technology, coupled with today’s frenetic work pace, has led to a heightened sense of Time Poverty, or a generalized sense that “I don’t have enough time” among active gamblers. This sense of time compression will raise players’ thresholds for entertainment, driving the way they plan casino visits and the gaming experiences they choose both when they are there and when they are not. Active gamblers will be drawn to experiences that are unduplicated as more satisfying investments of their limited time. By highlighting first-of-their-kind innovations, such as WMS’ WAGE-NET® (Wide Area Game Enhanced Network) and other new, networked technologies, operators will be able to deliver unique experiences in a way that will reflect and reward players’ evolving sense of time.
Insight 2: The next generation of players will seek different gaming and leisure-time experiences.
America’s demography is changing radically. Today, Boomer and Mature age segments comprise nearly two-thirds of the active gambling population. At the other end of the age continuum are the more than 75 million members of Generations X and Y. As they age and gain more disposable income, this audience of “Millenials” will become a much more attainable and profitable market. Having grown up with video games, the Internet and large-screen home entertainment, the next generation of players will bring new and considerably different technology and entertainment preferences to gaming, including experiences enhanced by interactive platforms, cutting-edge visuals and audio systems.
Insight 3: The industry must attract a more diverse patronage.
More than half of the U.S. population will be classified as “diverse” in just 30 years, at which time non-Hispanic whites will represent the minority of Americans. Yet African-Americans and Hispanics each currently comprise just 2 percent of the active gambling population. For continued growth, the industry must do a better job of attracting these rapidly growing and hugely overlooked diversity markets.
Insight 4: As early adopters of new technology, active gamblers will come to view the Internet as a key medium for the delivery of new entertainment experiences.
While seven in 10 American households have Internet access, more than nine out of 10 active gamblers have Internet connections. Active gamblers spend hours online daily engaged in rich experiences that will ultimately shape their online and offline entertainment preferences. Today, 71 percent of active gamblers engage in online banking and 70 percent shop online. These insights indicate that the web will continue to play a vital role that casino operators can leverage through networked gaming and on-demand content experiences that will cultivate closer and more rewarding relationships with their players.
Insight 5: Personalization will characterize the consumption of all goods and services in the gaming industry.
The explosive growth of Internet usage has led to remarkable growth in the personalization of all sorts of products, from apparel to automobiles. Active gamblers have shown an affinity for personalization, with more than one-quarter (26 percent) purchasing some sort of customized online product or service. The industry has long known active gamblers demand personalized attention. Operators can create an even greater sense of intimacy with players through exciting new technologies that deliver personalized messages and incentives directly at the game level, as well as customized gaming experiences based on players’ preferences and accomplishments.
Insight 6: Togethering will become a stronger social and lifestyle force as technology evolves and the complexity of life increases.
Gaming has evolved from a private, solitary experience to one that is significantly enhanced by communal interactions consistent with the social trend known as “togethering.” Operators can capitalize on this powerful insight with products that allow collaborative and competitive experiences, such as Community Gaming® and networked-gaming technologies.