The death of slots has been greatly exaggerated, according to Paul Mathews, the co-founder and chief operating officer of PLAYSTUDIOS. Speaking at the International Casino Conference at the Hippodrome Casino in London today (Monday), Mathews outlined how his company’s flagship MyVegas app offers slot games that provide shopping ‘rewards’ for customers and help to drive them to affiliated casinos.
In an earlier session at the ICC, attendees heard a panel of experts question whether slots will be relevant for the so-called ‘millennials’. “In 25 years in the industry I have heard repeatedly that we’ve got a problem and young people aren’t playing slots,” Mathews said. “But every year as people get older, they start falling into that 40 to 50-year-old bracket – that’s the sweet spot of our market. “You start liking slot machines when you get older, so I’m not seeing a slowdown. Maybe we don’t have as big a problem as we think.”
Sharing the platform with Mathews was Simon Thomas, chief executive of the Hippodrome, who echoed Mathews’ thoughts on the durability of slot-based games. “The play-for-cash slot machine is still a very popular product and will remain a stalwart of the industry,” he said. “We need to keep the machines fun and relevant and offer good value for money. “Our approach to technology has completely changed. We have a big challenge in the industry to get the best out of the internet to drive visits.
“The crossover between online and offline is still relatively small – between 10 per cent and 15 per cent. Our approach is multi-faceted though, and we have online tournaments that conclude with swanky offline finals. “Online gaming is breaking down barriers and educating customers. Years ago, learning to play games in the casino was hugely intimidating. A lot of people play online and then go offline for the real casino experience.”
According to Mathews, only three per cent of MyVegas app customers actually spend money with the company, but even such a small percentage of 1.5 million daily customers represents a significant market. “We entered the market in 2012 – which was late – but we came up with the idea that people are playing games on their phone without really getting any benefit,” he said. “It’s been a fascinating marketing experiment. It’s a marketing programme that’s game based. We’re partly solving the problem, but it’s not the answer.”