Caesars testing ‘casino within a casino’ to attract millennial gamblers

caesars-secret-casinoCasino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp is testing a ‘casino within a casino’ in a bid to convince slots-phobic millennials to try their hand at gambling.

Speaking Wednesday at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) conference in Las Vegas, new Caesars CEO Mark Frissora said “the time is now” for casino operators to embrace change to appeal to gamblers in the 18 to 35 demographic, who flock to Vegas to party but are far less interested in moving from dance floor to casino floor.

Frissora told the G2E audience that Caesars was installing a special gaming zone within one of its Las Vegas Strip properties in order to gauge the response from younger gamblers. Other than that, Frissora was cagey on specifics regarding the ‘top secret’ project, saying only that the zone’s walls were movable, allowing the operator to change the feel of the space. (Anyone else suspect that Caesars will be kidnapping all the millennials who enter this speakeasy, then using the ransom to help pay off its creditors?)

While waiting for the results of this experiment, Frissora said Caesars was attempting to boost interest in its traditional slot machines by incorporating social gaming features like leaderboards to track high-scoring players. Citing his personal experiences with his own children aged 29 to 35 years, Frissora said “these games need to change” if they want to attract younger demographics.

Frissora noted that O’Sheas, a bar at Caesars’ Linq casino in Vegas, was the property’s most profitable watering hole, in part because it offered 10 beer pong tables. Oh, you crazy kids…

Nevada authorities have attempted to free casino operators’ hands to attract more millennial gamblers by approving the introduction of gaming devices that include a skill-based component, effectively marrying the traditional passive slot machine with a more dynamic arcade-style game.

Gaming device manufacturers are rushing to fill this skill-based void. Scientific Games’ Bryan Kelly told attendees that the company’s first skill-based slots would hit Nevada casino floors by the end of 2016 or early 2017. Last week, a New York-based startup called GameCo announced that its new Video Game Gambling Machines (VGM) would be conducting field trials by early 2016.

Meanwhile, Gary Loveman, the man Frissora replaced at Caesars’ helm, has found a new job with health insurance giant Aetna, which is highly ironic, given that Loveman displayed Kevorkian-like talents in presiding over the near-death of the debt-laden casino firm. Loveman will serve as executive VP and president of Aetna’s new consumer-focused Healthagen health services organization.