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The Growing Indie Presence in Casinos

When we think of casino entertainment, the mind inevitably wanders to big ticket names such as popstar Britney Spears and class act Celine Dion – names that have graced the billboards of Vegas for years, and dominated the headlines. For a while, it seemed that this wouldn’t change, even as casinos began to shift with the times, incorporating EDM and techno-pop into their rosters as patrons seemed to shift their interests. The continued saturation of the gaming industry, however, has seen many casinos begin to turn to alternative forms of entertainment and different genres of music to offer something new to their audiences.

Reports by Time Magazine have indicated what experts had been warning us about for years: we’ve reached the saturation point of the casino industry, and things aren’t showing any signs of letting up. In the UK, the casino industry struggles not just from the growing number of land-based casinos, but from the weight of online gambling portals as well. While many land-based casinos have been forced to expand their services online and begin to optimize their services for mobile phones, others have turned to trying to one-up other casinos by providing quality live entertainment instead.

While the saturation of the market spells trouble for many casino operators, it also means hope for many indie artists who are looking to find a new niche to fill. Many casinos have begun looking towards independent artists, with the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver even holding a dedicated “Indie Night” for a few months earlier this year. Unfortunately, the program was short-lived, and after seeing several indie bands perform in the casino’s stage, Indie Night has yet to be revived. Still ,the success of Hard Rock Casino’s Indie Night has shown that it’s possible to have non-mainstream music headlining at a casino.

For some independent musicians, this could be their big break. One immediately thinks of Imagine Dragons, an independent act that has grown into international fame. Founded in Las Vegas, the band played at local bars and small casinos before they were named Broadway’s “Breakthrough Band of 2013.” It was on the Hard Rock Café on the Strip that they first headlined, and the rest is history. Playing at casinos isn’t always at the top of an indie band’s priorities, but with the shift in entertainment needs witnessed in the casino industry, it seems that it would do bands well to consider landing casino gigs once again.