Are we changing the game or is the game changing us?
Recently I went gambling for the first time. At the age of 21, it was a bit of a bizarre experience because while I have never gambled, I’ve been a part of the gaming industry for years. At the age of 17 I began working for Echo Entertainment. Formerly known as TABCORP, the company currently owns all of the casinos in Queensland, as well Star City in New South Wales. When I originally started back in 2009, as employees we were banned from gambling altogether. Over the years, the employee-gambling restrictions were chopped and changed although I never paid them enough attention to notice. And I had no reason to. After working for the very heart of the machine for so many years, I never felt the itching need to chuck down any money to the establishment I’d well and truly learnt always wins.
I mean, it was how I had a job. My employment was a clear testament to the success of the industry.
High rolling with high rollers.
According to the annual 2011 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, the revenue made alone from gambling worldwide topped a staggering $144 billion dollars. And the number is expected to do nothing but grow as gambling becomes more available across both physical and digital platforms.
Electronic roulette – the real deal..?
Speaking of digital platforms, media convergence within the industry is now more prevalent that ever. Within the Asia/Pacific region, which represents the second largest casino market, the push now is for electronic table gaming. By maintaining the traditional live elements of table gaming, casinos are now able to minimalise gambling specific labour costs and instead inject money into other aspects of entertainment such as live shows and restaurants.
Macau, the new Las Vegas of the East.
So what does this mean for casinos?
Basically the same as it means for most other industries – more money, bigger ideas, harder competition and the need for constant innovation to satisfy consumer demand.
For the mean time though, I guess all it means for us as consumers is to roll the dice and wait to see the results.