Synergy Blue Believes Casinos Need Games of Skill

America’s casino gamblers will skew significantly younger once the industry reopens after the COVID-19 closure, at least initially, a new survey suggests.

A recent survey commissioned by gaming developers Synergy Blue asked 1,000 customers- ” specifically those who gamble” if the COVID-19 pandemic has altered their attitude to casino gambling. The survey showed that, if the venues are permitted to reopen, 51 percent of gamblers will return to casinos.

For those who remain skittish about passing a threshold for casinos, 58 percent cited economic worries, while 47 percent shared worry about how safe the atmosphere would be and 41 percent actually did not feel confident about being in a small space with lots of other people.

About one-quarter of respondents are waiting for a drastic decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections before they return to casinos, while 19 percent say they won’t return before there is a vaccine that can remove the danger fully.

Predictably, despite youth invincibility and COVID-19 fatalities trends, gamblers aged 29 and under were more likely (62 percent) to express a willingness to resume casino tourism than gamblers over 60 (40 percent). Younger gamblers were also much less likely to be drawn back to casinos by conventional slot games (47 per cent) than their older counterparts (73 percent).

In these findings there is something of a self-serving dimension, as the Nevada-based Synergy Blue Hybrid Arcade Wager-based Gaming (HAWG) platform provides casinos with a library of ‘arcade-style, skill-influenced games (or interactive electronic gaming machines), platforms, and applications’ that are specifically aimed at younger demos.

So-called skill-based games have been hailed as the next big thing for many years now, a way to draw millennial customers who see conventional passive slots played as flaccid entertainment for blue-rinse grannies. But the products have yet to really take off at US casinos despite the hype.

At any rate, the survey adds weight to recent comments from CEO Bill Hornbuckle of MGM Resorts, who said the company’s Vegas casinos would rely on ‘drive-in’ traffic until the country feels safe to fly again. Only 22 percent of survey participants said they would be willing to visit any casino requiring air travel, while 41 percent said they would only visit casinos to which they can drive.

Online gambling expects a lasting boost from the pandemic as 64 percent of respondents gamed online (including free-play games) during the lockdown, given the fact that one-fifth of respondents did not participate in pre-lockdown gaming. Of those who played online, 93 percent said that if their land-based options returned, they would continue to do so.