Brian Christopher, also known as BCSlots, has recently become the first slots influencer to create and launch his own branded slot machine, rolling out first in Las Vegas last month, and currently expanding into California, Colorado, Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma and Minnesota, and more to come. With over 1.1 million followers over multiple social media platforms, 300 million views worldwide and 5.1 million unique monthly viewers on his YouTube channel, Christopher, who even has cruise line giant Carnival as exclusive partner, has developed an innovative way for traditional casinos to connect with all ages and genders.
In partnership with Las Vegas-based manufacturer Gaming Arts, they have launched Brian Christopher's Pop'N Pays More at the Plaza Hotel & Casino of Las Vegas. This casino had already debuted a dedicated area for the influencer last year, and the Plaza in June unveiled the details of four large-scale projects including downtown’s first smoke-free and "social media friendly" gaming area featuring an agreement with Christopher. "I have been pushing for casinos to become more camera friendly for years and Plaza has embraced that," he tells Yogonet in an exclusive interview, adding that he has committed to partnering only with smoke-free spaces by next year, amid ongoing debates around smoking ban at casinos across the U.S.
What’s your assessment so far of Pop'N Pays More’s debut as a first-of-its-kind, influencer-branded slot? Which challenges have you faced, and what learnings or key takeaways could you share with us in this brand-new segment opening for the industry?
Winning on slots is all about luck and timing with zero skill involved. Creating this slot machine with Gaming Arts took some luck, timing and a LOT of skill! We are over the moon happy with its initial launch as it continues to hit more casinos across the country. Gaming Arts took a big chance on me, and I'd say it has already by far outshot our expectations. When you have the reach that we do, coupled with a love and understanding of what makes slots so enjoyable, I think we've come up with something super fun and unique.
In February 2021, the Plaza Hotel & Casino of Las Vegas saw the debut of the “Brian Christopher Slots at the Plaza” gaming area in Downtown Las Vegas. Now the same casino is opening downtown’s first smoke-free and "social media friendly" gaming area in partnership with you. What’s the differential value, and possibly disruptive features in these areas? What was the criteria behind their design; how have you contributed to that process?
I made the pledge a year ago that by 2023 I would be partnering exclusively with smokefree spaces and so Plaza took that challenge to heart. I have shared all of our stats with them including the fact that only 13% of the US population smokes these days. Being the first person or company to do anything first may seem a bit scary, but I am convinced the time is right to take this head on. My space is growing from just 28 slot machines to around 80. This will allow us to bring in the newest and greatest slot machines for all to enjoy - and to capture on their phones! I have been pushing for casinos to become more camera friendly for years and Plaza has embraced that. We live in a social society, so it only makes sense. The design was conceived by Plaza and I am actively working with them throughout the process. All slot machines in the area are those I choose that I know my fans and others will adore.
Palms Casino Resort reopened in April under the first tribal casino ownership in Las Vegas, and now it has hosted your new branded slot’s roll-out. How have you built your relationship with the new owners?
Palms is owned by San Manuel who I have had a longstanding relationship with, so they reached out to me first (well, Gaming Arts). Most often, it is the new casinos who approach and ask us to come and help launch their new space. The main issue that we run into (if you can call it an issue), is that we are booked solid 6 months in advance and are already 50% booked for 2023. So planning in advance is key!
Other installations were made in California, Oklahoma, Arizona and Minnesota, all jurisdictions where tribal gaming's presence is very strong. What does tribal gaming represent for your project? Could you share some further details of the new slot’s debut in those states?
Tribal casinos are integral to our business. We love our relationships with the tribes and they continue to grow each year as word gets out on what we do. Launching the game at three casinos in Las Vegas was super exciting and brought hundreds of people out. We then launched our games in 5 further casinos in Arizona to sold out meet and greets as well as in Oklahoma. We're off to Minnesota next, with more states being added to the list. We are keeping a running list of locations on BCSlots.com/Pop so our fans know where it will drop next!
Why have you decided to become a slots influencer?
I didn't decide to, it just happened. I posted a few videos for fun and never thought anything about it. To my surprise, they blew up - so I shot more. The more I posted, the bigger I grew and this is what continued for the past 6 years. We now have a team of 10 employees that has grown from casino slots, to online slots and even on board cruises with our exclusive partner Carnival.
What’s your target audience in your social media channels, how would you describe them?
We literally hit every single age group and are split between all genders. That's what is so great - is that slot machines are exciting to 21 years olds and 80 year olds alike. I don't curse when I lose (and I lose a lot!), and we're just there to have fun. I promote responsible gambling as well and always remind my audience to use an entertainment budget. So win or lose, we have a blast.
Why have you chosen Las Vegas-based manufacturer Gaming Arts for this new slot, and how was the process and criteria to define its features?
Gaming Arts really understood me and my brand, and they basically gave us free range to come up with anything we wanted. Even right down to a few weeks prior to launch, I made a few last-minute choices that really stood out in the game and made a huge difference. They were the dream company and we really worked well together. We had bi-weekly meetings to review everything from what music I wanted, what sounds, symbols, movements, features, etc, that I felt my audience would like best.
How would you define your relationship with casino operators, manufacturers, and players? Do you face any conflict of interests when trying to keep a healthy and synergistic bond with all parties?
Everyone has always been super supportive of what we do on our channels. They know that when they work with us, they will get family oriented content (no cursing or irresponsible gambling) that is fully positive and fun and will show off the best (and worst) parts of every game and casino. I don't hold anything back, and don't edit out clips when I lose. I am real and so are my wins and losses. That is what builds trust with both our partners and our audience.
Ari Fox, co-founder of the Casino Esport Conference, has recently told us that the problem with casinos' user acquisition is that they don't connect to a community, which he sees as a key asset in the esports industry, for instance. Do you see any trend or pattern in that sense today; how would you help forge a community around traditional casinos? What opportunities and added value does this open up for casino operators, specially in terms of customer acquisition? What new customer segments or bases could they attract if they partner up with you?
Every day I drive by billboards for casinos. Some billboards cost them over a million dollars a year. I can honestly say that they have never encouraged me to turn my car around and hit their casino. They have no idea how many people see that billboard, and what percentage of them are gamblers. There is no sense of ROI. When they work with us, they can be guaranteed that their casino or product will be seen by 100% gamblers, from all over the world (predominantly in the US). And when we host events at their casino, we will bring hundreds of fans in person. We have built an incredible community, a fanbase so large that within days and sometimes within hours, our events sell out. We have over 5.1M unique monthly viewers and they are here for it! Our audience hits all demographics as well across all ages and gender with fans from 21 up until their 90's!