Since their creation in the 17th century, brick and mortar casinos have experienced their fair share of ups and downs, including shifting legislation and changing consumer tastes. And with the advent of digital technology in recent years, casinos, like many other businesses, have had to adapt or die to stay relevant. But despite the attention that tech such as VR and online casinos garner, land-based casinos have adapted and innovated and continue to keep customers coming through the door.

An industry disrupted

The last few decades have been a whirlwind of innovation in digital technology, giving birth to products and trends straight out of a science fiction novel. Whether it’s AI, the internet, or VR, our lives have been forever changed by technology. And with this new technology has come major waves of disruption for long-standing industries. We’ve seen well-established brands go under and new titans emerge, as companies have scrambled to keep up with digital innovation and find ways to satisfy their customers’ changing needs. 

For decades, land-based casinos were king, and the only places where you could gamble, take in a show, and enjoy the glitz and glamor. But along came the internet, and everything changed. Suddenly, players could gamble from the comfort of their own home, and as VR has become more accessible, they can even enjoy a true Las Vegas experience on their screen with live gambling. And with quarantines and social distancing guidelines from the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering in-person experiences, the industry has truly been hit hard. 

For an industry that has been controlled by a few legacy institutions from the beginning, change and adaptation has been a challenge. But that is exactly what is needed to keep up with evolving technology and ensure that the industry is around for years to come. Fortunately, we’re beginning to see significant efforts within the industry to not only embrace new technology, but leverage it to stay relevant.

Bouncing back

While the forecast did initially look bleak for brick and mortar casinos (especially after the explosion in popularity of online casinos) the industry has found ways to innovate and adapt. While digital technology was the source of the disruption, it has also turned out to be its biggest ally in staying on top. Many casinos have found ways to leverage the digital world to keep customers engaged, and coming back for more.

  • Internet-based experiences. While it may seem counterintuitive for a land-based casino to create an online experience, this has turned out to be a powerful marketing tool for some operators. Since a physical location can only hold so many people, some operators have developed online versions of their land-based casinos that attract millions of players. Additionally, they can typically offer a significantly more comprehensive selection of games and experiences than what is available on their casino floors. Creating an engaging and exciting online experience to complement their physical presence, can be a great marketing tactic to introduce new players to the world of gambling and then draw them into their brick and mortar business.
  • Virtual reality brings casinos to customers. Similar to creating an online gambling experience, the rise in popularity of virtual reality can be an innovative way to attract those customers who have been raised on the internet. Some operators see this tech as a great way to stay relevant and attract those customers who prefer to play online. They can offer these players robust experiences where they can play their favorite games in a real-world situation with live dealers and players – getting the best of both worlds. VR also offers the opportunity for players to experience more than just games. Customers can immerse themselves in entire worlds and explore the Vegas strip or take in a show.

  • Creating an experience. For Millennials and Gen Z’ers, experience is everything. Whether it’s a music festival or a business conference, they expect immersive, relevant, and engaging experiences, not just transactions. As such, many brick and mortar casinos offer more than just gambling and have evolved into high-end resorts. Top notch dining, live performances, spa experiences, and more, are now standard elements offered by many in-person casinos. And, many operators are leveraging digital technologies as marketing tools to promote and attract their customers. Targeted ads, social media promotions, and the use of AI and VR, are just a few tactics that land-based casinos are using to engage customers in interesting and relevant ways. 

Different but still relevant

Location-based casinos and online gambling are different animals, and that’s okay. In a world of innovation and new ideas, there is room for both. There will always be some players who want to relax on their couch while they play the slots and others who thrive on the excitement of being on an actual casino floor. The key for land-based casinos is to stay open, educated, and willing to evolve. Embracing new technology, and finding ways to leverage it to their advantage, will ensure that brick and mortar casinos stay relevant for decades to come. 

At Acres, we’ve been breaking new ground on casino technology for decades, and we believe that innovation is the key to the industry’s survival and growth. Schedule a time to talk with us today.