Social casino

Why social gaming is the path to millennials

Gabriel Cianchetto, Greentube president of North American market development, looks at how social gaming can lure millennials back on to the casino floor  

It’s no secret that millennials simply don’t have the same propensity for gambling as their Baby Boomer parents. While they may enjoy the resort experience provided by some casinos, efforts to lure them away from the poolside and nightclub onto the casino floor have mostly fallen flat. Traditional marketing channels that work with Baby Boomers simply don’t work for younger players.

The good news is that millennials are no longer merely spending their parents’ money. Many are well into their prime spending years where they are unencumbered by family, mortgages and other financial responsibilities of adulthood. Despite the doom and gloom of some economists, millennials have disposable income and we can see that most of them eschew material possessions and instead choose to spend their money on experiences. Look closely and you can see that millennials tend to define themselves by their experiences, which presents an entirely new marketing opportunity for casinos who are willing to adjust their strategies.

To understand this demographic, one must understand that experiences top the list of how millennials prioritize not only how they spend their money but also their time. In other words, finding fulfilling entertainment is often more important than owning something shiny. As a demographic, millennials watch less commercial television, read less print media and pitch mailed promotional materials directly into the recycle bin. They’re seeking the “journey” as well as the privilege of bragging about the journey to their peers via social media and other electronic communications. Bragging rights can be invaluable and serves as one of several paths toward attracting additional players.

Fortunately, the secret to marketing to millennials is the same for any demographic – you market wherever they live, work and play and – in the case of millennials – they live work and play on their mobile devices.

The “Mobile-to-Mortar Strategy

The generation that grew up on video games enjoys a challenge; they’re both task and game-oriented and so too should the marketing aimed towards them. Additionally, they’re social media savvy and enjoy posting their success and triumphs online. Casinos with a robust social gaming platform are aptly positioned to reach and market to this demographic and – as an added bonus – generate revenue through the sale of virtual currency.

The times have certainly changed. According to a recent study by SuperData Research, 85% of social casino gamers play on their smartphone. A very significant 27% of gamers play exclusively on their mobile device and the segment of social casino players who play exclusively on their PC has dropped from 15% in 2016 to 6% in 2017.

That study also found that mobile players stay engaged on social casinos for an average of 57 minutes per session and spend $39.87 per month on games. PC users are still the most engaged and most willing to spend on games, playing an average of 69 minutes per session and spending $79.45 a month. However, given the dwindling number of PC gamers, it’s apparent that the new opportunity lies in engaging players who aren’t tethered to a desktop.

The best platform should allow for in-game marketing capabilities that transcend each channel (mobile, laptop, tablet) and track with the evolution of modern life including shopping, socializing and individual so-called “magic moments” where the player enjoys a customized bonus or recognition. The platform should operate on one seamless and device-agnostic platform that enables players to log in and double down wherever they are.

With the right positioning millennials can view a social casino as a desirable gaming platform whereby they earn rewards, status and old-fashioned bragging rights while spending virtual currency to enhance their experience. By engaging with millennials now, casinos can begin acclimating them to the casino experience by enticing them to visit the brick-and-mortar facility via earned bonuses and finely-tuned promotions delivered via their mobile device. In our experience, free and discounted offers will attract a player at any age. Imagine earning VIP status before one ever walks through the casino door.

Gabriel Cianchetto,

Gabriel Cianchetto, Greentube president of North American market development

Analyst numbers don’t lie, social casinos succeed in getting people through the door. According to SuperData research, 82% of social casino gamers have visited a land-based casino within the past year and 60% have visited within the past six months. This tells us the following:

  • The right games with the right payouts can help players develop an affinity for your social platform while acclimating them toward playing more traditional casino games.
  • Millions of players prepare for their next visit to a brick-and-mortar casino by visiting a social casino online.
  • Many players willingly purchase credits in order to elevate their play, generating revenue for a casino without the operator ever having to provide physical services such as food or hotel. Virtual currency is a money maker.
  • A dynamic social casino gaming platform that is device-agnostic can ensure that players remain active on its site at any time and on any device, keeping players engaged with the casino’s brand and generating, through accumulated points and various incentives, excitement about returning to the casino floor.

Looking to the future

While we’re all aware that millennials are shunning traditional slot machines, online games and new games that will be developed for the casino floor hold great promise to draw new players. Some have already rolled-out first-generation skill games with some success – the formula hasn’t quite been perfected as of yet, but this will give game manufacturers and casino operators an opportunity to see how players react. However, the field is open not only for skill games but also multi-player games that can replicate the casino experience more closely while a player logs in from home or via mobile.

Regardless of the type of games we deploy, an innovative Mobile to Mortar Strategy will generate brand awareness and build long-term brand equity among millennials as they embark upon their adult lives. With the right strategies, most could follow in their parents’ footsteps and – after experiencing the realities of family, mortgages and other responsibilities of full adulthood – view brick and mortar casinos for what they oftentimes are: a means of entertainment and escape from the pressures of adult life.


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