Insights from the Global Gaming Expo
As a trailblazer and leader in loyalty marketing, the casino industry is continuously adapting to changing times and consumer preferences. The industry has nearly 100% penetration of loyalty programs in the nearly 2,000 U.S. properties.
To learn more, The Wise Marketer attended G2E, the Global Gaming Expo. The event is the largest casino gaming and igaming conference in North America and is held in Las Vegas. The American Gaming Association is the event host. Jay Weinberg and David Slavick attended this event for the Wise Marketer and reported the central focus of the conference is fostering innovation and driving growth by bringing together industry leaders from across the globe.
As David shared, the industry has experienced tremendous growth fueled by new entrants to the gaming space as mobile has opened up entertainment value for a segment of the population that enjoys online gaming. According to the American Gaming Association, 49% of the US population gambled in a land-based casino or via online platform in 2022.
New entrants like Fanatics will draw additional traffic to the online space and ESPN in partnership with Penn Gaming is anticipated to launch in 2024 under a joint operating agreement. Sports Betting is the key driver of online activity with significant spikes during the NFL season via category leaders DraftKings, Fan Duel, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM.
The industry is thriving post-pandemic and growth is reflected in multiple measures of traffic, revenue, and all aspects of ancillary services. Over 1,000 casinos are in operation across the U.S., with 13 new properties planned to open during 2023. 35 states have passed legislation for legal online betting (led by sports betting) with revenue flowing back to the states based on revenue share. Three additional states are evaluating legislation for passage in 2023.
From an international perspective, a massive expansion is anticipated with physical casinos complimenting hotel and resort complexes in Japan, Korea, and UAE. It was predicted that other Middle Eastern countries will be expanding their entertainment offerings and that, due to security issues in the Macau region, category expansion investment may shift to the Philippines.
Jay shares some of the latest developments in casino loyalty programs here; from tech-driven enhancements to personalized rewards and the impact of the digital age on these programs.
The integration of technology has become a cornerstone of the modern casino experience, and this extends to loyalty programs. In recent years, casinos have increasingly adopted mobile apps and digital platforms to enhance their loyalty programs. This shift allows for more convenience, flexibility, and engagement.
Many casinos now offer dedicated mobile apps that allow players to track their loyalty points, access exclusive offers, and even play games from the comfort of their smartphones or tablets. These apps are designed to provide a seamless experience, ensuring that players have instant access to their rewards and can engage with the casino even when they're not on property. Caesars Rewards, for example, now has an app that allows members to make reservations at properties, track their play, redeem rewards, and even play online where available.
With digital advancements, casinos can offer players a broader range of rewards. In addition to traditional perks like complimentary rooms and dining, casinos have now integrated instant bonuses, free play, and digital currency to use in games. This flexibility adds a new layer of excitement to loyalty programs, giving players more reasons to return.
Sportsbook and iGaming
With sports betting legalized in most states, loyalty programs are now being enhanced to cover these products, providing further value for the loyalty members and a new, younger membership base for casinos. Further, digital versions of traditional casino games (blackjack, roulette, poker, bingo, etc.) are now legal in 6 states, providing even more opportunities for both casinos and loyalty program members.
Personalization is Key
At the recent Global Gaming Expo, a common topic was KYP – Know Your Player. This refers to ensuring casinos know exactly who is playing on their properties and on their digital apps. One area leading the way is loyalty. Modern casinos are using data analytics and AI to create personalized experiences for each player. These customized experiences are designed to cater to individual preferences and boost player engagement.
Casinos are using data to understand player behavior and preferences. By pulling data from multiple sources and developing machine learning models, casinos are sending tailored offers and promotions, ensuring that players receive incentives that genuinely appeal to them. This personal touch keeps players engaged and makes them feel valued.
Loyalty programs are increasingly integrating gamification elements. This trend leverages the innate desire for competition and achievement. Players can complete challenges and earn badges, prizes, and bonus points. As an industry with a naturally competitive customer base, these techniques are fostering a sense of accomplishment and encouraging continued engagement.
The Digital Age Influence
The advent of the digital age has significantly impacted loyalty programs within the casino industry. As noted, it has expanded the reach of casinos, allowing for virtual interactions and engagement beyond the physical casino floor.
Online Loyalty Programs
Many casino operators, like Caesars and MGM, have extended their loyalty programs to their online platforms. Players can earn loyalty points while playing online casino games and betting on sports, which can then be redeemed for rewards both online and on casinos properties. This integration provides a seamless experience for players who prefer both in-person and virtual gaming.
Social Media Integration
Casinos have really stepped up their game by leveraging social media to engage with their players. Through social platforms, they can communicate promotions, host virtual events, and interact with players in real-time, further enhancing the overall experience and strengthening the sense of community. This change has been influenced by the younger players who are engaging online.
Casino loyalty programs are evolving to keep pace with the digital age and the changing expectations of players. Programs are becoming more tech-driven, personalized, and adaptable to online and mobile platforms.
As casinos continue to embrace the power of data and technology, players can expect loyalty programs that cater to their unique preferences and offer a more dynamic and engaging experience. The future of casino loyalty programs is undoubtedly exciting, promising more immersive and rewarding casino experiences for all.
Jay Weinberg is a Co-founder & Partner in Ascendant Loyalty Marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. David Slavick can be reached at email@example.com