The gambling industry has largely ignored the hipster market. What if it woke up to this tremendous opportunity and changed its business model?
Hipsters seem to run the world these days, or at least, the US. Skinny jeans, big black-rimmed glasses, poorly-articulated leftish political opinions and the need to take in music and movies that no one else likes (or at least to pretend to). Given the social influence that these under-30s have, we figured our coverage of the casino industry can’t ignore their presence anymore.
Few hipsters gamble. Is it because they don’t want to out of principle, or because the casino industry just doesn’t cater to their preferences? We think it’s the latter. Sure, there are more mobile casinos out there, and hipsters do love to use smart phones. But none of these apps market to hipsters. And considering the importance hipsters place on nostalgia, we think they would be most interested in brick-and-mortar establishments. If casinos were more hipster-friendly, what would they look like? We’ve envisioned the Hip-Star Casino. Forget the Vegas Strip, the Hip-Star will be located in downtown Portland.
This is an obvious one, and the dress code of a hipster casino would be vastly different from what we see currently. North American and British casinos seem not to have dress codes at all these days, and the up-scale establishments in Macau and Monte Carlo are black tuxedo, white shirt places. A hipster casino would be all about trendy.
Skinny jeans are crucial. No one wearing loose-fitting pants would be allowed in. Men wear tight pants or during the summer women wear sundresses or free-flowing skirts. Currently up-scale casinos require men to be clean shaven or at least well groomed. The Hip-Star? The exact opposite. One’s beard should be as scraggly as possible. Even though you’ve never changed a light bulb in your life you should walk through the doors looking like a truck driver or mechanic. You should wear a jacket alright, but not the kind you’re thinking of. A worn out denim jacket that you actually paid a lot of money for but want people to think you bought at a second-hand store. When sitting down at the hipster-ized American poker room it’s important to look like you’ve been around, even if that only means Williamsburg or Wicker Park.
Other than the games themselves, the buffet is the main attraction at most casinos. And for good reason: prime rib, buttered lobster, baked potatoes, and more desserts than you’ve ever imagined, and all-you-can-eat! I had a high school teacher who drove two hours to the Indian casino every Friday just to eat at the buffet. The Hip-Star will also have a buffet, but it will be much different from the standard fare.
No prime rib. Not unless it’s free range and grass fed. As for potatoes, don’t expect to find them here. What it will have: sweet potatoes. Sweet potato french fries (which actually taste brilliant, but I would never admit to liking something that a hipster likes). And lots of healthy foods, especially vegan. There will be lobster, but it will not be buttered. It’s not fashionable for male hipsters to be muscular, so this buffet with specialize in low calorie foods. If you haven’t gotten the message by now, this buffet won’t cost less than $25.
The games themselves
Most importantly, which games will the hipsters play? Part of being a hipster is trying to cultivate street cred which you don’t actually deserve, while at the same time appearing artistic and counter-culture. So this casino will have lots of blue-collar games, reflecting the insincere importance which hipsters place on the needs of ordinary working people. There may be bourgeois offerings like roulette and baccarat, but they’ll be revised to seem less mainstream and more artistic. What it will have is lots of poker and blackjack.
But the blackjack here will be a bit different from what you’re used to. Face cards don’t always add up to ten. In today’s post-structuralist intellectual climate, how can a card have an objective meaning in isolation from its surroundings? Maybe I want my Jack to equal twelve. Oh, and a Queen coupled with any other face card is an automatic win for the player. This is a socially progressive casino, and its version of blackjack reflects the political reality of female empowerment.
Keeping with that line, the croupiers won’t be sexy casino girls, and your drinks won’t be served by a scantily-clad cocktail waitress. The croupier will probably still be sexy, but in an off-beat, intellectual way. Your Pabst Blue Ribbon or quadruple India Pale Ale is just as likely to be served by a male waiter. If so, he will have a handlebar mustache and be slightly unfriendly due to his general frustration at having a degree in Post-Colonial Literature but having to support himself by waiting tables (the life of a hipster isn’t always as easy as it looks).
As for slot games, they are the epitome of culturally-illiterate feckless consumerism, and American gambling laws should restrict them. But the Hip-Star will still have slot games (hipsters are more susceptible to mainstream marketing and consumerism than they realize). They will just be hipster-ized versions of what we see at most casinos. Instead of kitschy Oriental, celebrity or faux-historical themes, we will see more nuanced and counterculture slot games.
For example, French silent film-themed slots. Whether you have ever even seen a French or silent film, if you are a hipster this slot is for you. It combines three things hipsters love: France, foreign films (by that I am speaking from the American perspective), and silent films. I’m not sure if hipsters actually like silent films, but if asked they will claim that they do. Another great hipster slot: international non-profit organization slots! This will feature the logos of different organizations like Doctors without Borders, Oxfam, BRAC and the Danish Refugee Council. The average hipster may or may not know what these organizations actually do, but the important thing is being socially aware. So pull away, my hipster friend.