Tom Mitchell, B2B Director at RISQ, assesses millennials’ changing habits regarding online gaming, ushering in a new age for jackpot products on mobile.
Capturing the zeitgeist is often the challenge in the entertainment business as a whole. For if your content can effectively embrace the mood and tendencies of the times, you’ll always have a captive and engaged audience. The gaming industry, of course, is a part of the same entertainment business, competing for the attention and time of players against a multiplicity of other opportunities.
Which is probably why the task of “targeting millennials” has proven such a hot topic on our industry’s conference circuit of late. The swaying spirits of the times naturally change and evolve as generations rise and recede. So while “generation X” (those born between 1965 and 1980) were once accepting of the betting industry’s stagnant over-rounds, millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) are increasingly asking for more from operators.
And while this apparent disparity in wealth and opportunity between the generations is well-documented, millennials are far better aligned to move effortlessly with technological advances. In turn, their tech fluency facilitates the transition from gaming to gambling. While they also regard gambling itself as a recreational leisure activity, rather than the private vice of their older counterparts.
We naturally know the gambling industry has struggled in recent years to engage with millennials, a demographic that is particularly demanding when it comes to expecting a mobile product to deliver an engaging and social experience. However, as smartphone software and adoption rates continue to ramp, the underlying interfaces are now progressively there to activate a new consumer base. Further, with the rise and rise of virtual sports around the world (now a $4billion industry featuring the youngest population in the world) the divide between gaming and gambling is finally being bridged for a younger demographic.
Indeed, according to a recent report commissioned by UK-based communications firm Textlocal, over 30% of people claim to use their smartphone to gamble – and that trend is only running one way for millennials. Sure, they bet in smaller size than their predecessors, but they bet with greater frequency – and in a social way which can involve and inform their peers. Additionally, core characteristics which inform and drive their engagement levels centre around instant gratification and rapid recognition (driven by acute tech-savviness) with shrunken attention spans that command innovation or a quick-strike opportunity.
In short, perhaps only a smart, flexible platform can respond to these capricious demands, and consequently mobile represents the future in many respects. If the experience is immersive, the millennials with vote with their hangtime, recommend and return. The industry has already encouraged 40% of online gamblers to move onto mobile platforms, and millennials are leading this migration. These new recruits also fit the industry’s general wisdom that its key target is now the mass-market, low-value punter who enjoys a few fun bets at the weekend.
With these lower-stakes proclivities in mind, small wonder that jackpots are regularly proving the vehicle of choice for millennials with their small-bet-big-win scenarios. Ally that to a flexibility of games that provides recreational “snackability” (the ability to bet on your mobile during the downtime of, say, a morning commute) and operators seem better place to connect with the quick-fix, instant-gratification of the next generation.
This is where RISQ come in, with the definitive B2B-only solution for jackpot-platform provision and risk management. Our game-changing random number generator (RNG) platform – which boosts client jackpots by up to £25 million – can be attached to any number of client games including slots, tables games, lottery, keno, bingo, and instant win, without the need to rely on cross-network liquidity or self-seeding at operator level.
RISQ can uniquely customise jackpots according to partner requirements in terms of frequency and size – even adding a tiered reward system, which scales with the level entries, maximises the chances of a winning trigger, or a consolation award.
Ultimately, of course, these jackpot games appeal to millennials with the sheer attractiveness of their prizes, coupled to the low-entry level for a chance to win life-changing sums of money. Furthermore, jackpots have a proven and rare aptitude in both delivering new accounts, and retaining the next generation of players with increased activity.
LeoVegas, for instance, already operate over 60 jackpot games live on mobile, presumably with half an eye on harnesses this burgeoning clientele. Indeed, only this month a lucky thirtysomething snaffled €6.7 million from one of their online mobile games. Needless to say, mobile-first operators will likely steal a march on their rivals as the appetite for a progressive portfolio of jackpot games only increases.
Just as mobile-first transformation begins at the very start of the product life cycle, so should the social engagement element of a product. Just consider bingo. At the heart of its success on desktop was the social element of the experience. The potential rewards of reinvigorating the enjoyable aspect of bingo which lengthens affordable player sessions and better engages players remains significant. Bingo has long been established as an effective cross-selling product, and it also appeals to a larger female audience that many audiences struggle to reach.
Elsewhere, high volatility slots on streaming platforms are also speaking to a younger audience, with innovations like Slots Stream Betting spearheading the market. SSB, for example, provides the capacity to bet traditionally on a Twitch TV streamer’s success – e.g. will the slot player enjoy a win in excess of x1000 their bet, over the next 400 spins? A streamer’s followers want to see the win that comes out of the blue, and they want to share in the streamer’s experience – voyeuristic entertainment with vicarious pleasure to boot!
Streaming may still be in its infancy, but live streamers with stage names like RockanRoll and The Bandit are already registering millions of YouTube hits from their younger viewers. It’s also a relatively cost-effective way to while away a few hours of interactive entertainment, with the chance of a huge payout along the way.
We understand we are about to mark a generational shift in which 50% of the workforce will be made up of millennials by 2020. These are the next generation of jackpot-chasers: they are smart, more discerning but high-volume. And we are now starting to see the next generation of products take shape in order to meet them in the mobile marketplace.