One of the most important phenomena that we at Slots Play Casinos observed during the long shutdown of land based casinos because of the corona virus is that online casinos such as Intertops Casino and all of the other casinos we have reviewed enjoyed a veritable boom in gamer traffic.
Piquing our Interest
As a data gathering and review site for primarily the online casino market, we are interested in who came to online casinos, what games did they play, were they first time online casino gamers, and how can online casinos keep them as gamers even when some of them do return to the occasional long weekend at their favorite land based casino?
Older Citizens are Remaining Cautious
It is not surprising that the younger the casino gamer, the more likely they are to go back to land based casinos once they open. There are two fascinating statistics to come out of a recent study of responses by age groups to the question: How likely are you to return to land based casinos?
Only 40% of people over 60 said that they were likely to go back to land based casinos. However, even more importantly, only 62% of people under 30 said that they were likely to return to land based casino gambling.
This means that, while older people are more cautious, younger people are also either being cautious or are no longer sold on the land based casino experience. Whichever the primary reason that 38% of people under 30 said that they were not likely to go back to land based casinos, these numbers indicate that online casinos have a great opportunity to change the gaming market at least in the short term and possibly in the long term as well.
Online Gaming is Safer than Gaming at Land Based Casinos
It cannot be disputed that one person playing online casino games or a couple playing them together are far safer than a person playing the exact same game at a land based casino where the gambler next to them may not be as healthy as we would like. Health and safety are going to be one of the major driving forces that will bring gamblers back to land based casinos.
Time may Not be On Their Side
Another area of concern for land based casino owners and investors is simply how long it will take until erstwhile gamblers do return in large numbers to the land based casinos. How many casinos will have to close their doors as the return to land based casinos more resembles a trickle than a flood?
The Future of Slots in Land Based Casinos
We have said in other articles that land based casinos are limited by their walls. It doesn’t matter if the casino has a vast open area for banks of slot machines, video poker terminals, and roulette, blackjack and craps tables: they are still limited by their walls.
In the early stages of the reopening of land based casinos, we will find that many slots, terminals, and tables will no longer be “operable” as the casinos strive to maintain the accepted norms of social distancing. How the casinos will alter the movements of players as they leave a game is another conundrum the casinos will face.
Online casinos will have none of those problems since there is no problem of social distancing in cyberspace. Land based casinos will have to “disable” slots that their gamblers want to play! Online casinos will continue to introduce at least one new slot every month!
Land based casinos will likely see their overhead increase as the requirements of the reopening period allows only a limited number of players on the casino floor at any one time. If costs go up for land based casinos, we can expect that the return to player rate will inevitably go down!
This will not happen at online casinos! Costs will either stay the same or actually decrease for online casinos as traffic stays high. That means that the return to player rate might go up slightly at online casinos even as it goes down at land based casinos.
Games Players Like
Adding to the many questions land based casino operators are trying to answer and that online casino operators don’t have to answer is which games will the average land based casino player want to play? Older gamers, who will make up a much smaller percentage of all land based casino players in the future, like to play slots. Players under 40 prefer blackjack and video poker.
Will land based casinos take out slot machines in order to make room for more blackjack tables and video poke terminals?
Older people have seen how a good economy can turn very sour very fast. Younger people are more likely to cast caution to the wind. So, many observers believe that the younger players may actually spend more money in the casinos while older players who do come back to land based casinos will spend less money there.
Older players will be concerned about conserving their money while younger players will be willing to take more chances. However, the games that will attract the younger set of players are blackjack and video poker which have the highest return to player rates when they are played according to the statistically correct strategy!
Older players will likely spend two nights in the hotel when before the virus hit they probably spent three nights. It could mean that they don’t spend a huge amount of money on show tickets.
Will land based casino performers lose their lucrative gigs because there aren’t enough people willing to pay to see them perform?
In other words, land based casinos face a very uncertain future while online casinos have only the challenge of retaining the vast number of gamers who flocked to the online casinos’ doors during the crisis.
What Do Online Casinos Have to Do to Retain Gamers?
The simple answer is that online casinos have to do more of the same. They need to add new types of promotions. They need to expand slots tournaments and to sponsor tournaments in blackjack and video poker. They need to make sure that the game providers continue to make colorful and fun games and to bring at least one new slot out every month.
Online casinos should expand their articles, news, and blog sections. They should run tutorials on all of the games they have on offer. Some tutorials might be a bit long but most should be under 1000 words long. The very existence of good How to Play articles will attract many gamers who will spread the good word to their friends, colleagues, and family members.
Slots Play Casinos gathers information about the casino gaming industry. We focus on online casinos because we feel that the future of casino gaming is online. We also cover land based casinos to some extent. We will report about positive and not so positive developments in the industry and we hope that both the online and the land based sectors can find the way to thrive going forward.