Industry Insider: Brian Christopher, President and CEO, BC Ventures
In this Industry Insider, we spoke with Brian Christopher, President and CEO of BC Ventures, about how he turned his love for entertaining into a career, how influencers can help operators, what he’s most looking forward to seeing at G2E 2023, and more.
Could you elaborate on your transition from being a slots enthusiast to becoming a prominent casino gaming influencer? When did your passion for playing slots evolve into a full-fledged career?
The transition happened quite organically. I have always had a passion for gambling and slots, while also “growing up” in entertainment as an actor since I was a child. Melding together my love for performing in front of an audience with my interest in gaming was a natural fit. I had no plans on making this a career. It’s only because the videos I uploaded for fun went viral, and audiences seemed to respond to me, that I decided to do more until it grew as big as it has!
Your brand has expanded beyond being a casino gaming influencer to include creating a slot machine manufactured by Gaming Arts, having an online version on Chumba Casino, and partnering with Carnival Cruise Line. How did these partnerships materialize, and do you have anything in the pipeline for the future that you can share?
When you do top-quality professional work, people notice. In both instances, Gaming Arts and Carnival reached out to us about working together. They were natural fits as our brands all deliver fun and excitement.
My team and I have exciting things in the works related to new game titles, including online gaming, though it is premature to share anything on that front. This year, we have been partnering with MGM Resorts International to host BC signature experiential events across the nation. I’m also so excited about a brand new content offering I will be announcing in a few weeks which puts our players at the center of the experience.
Earlier this year, BCSlots at the Plaza expanded to be five-times larger than it was previously—2,500 square feet with 75 of the industry’s latest games. What was the process like when curating this first-of-its-kind experiential space? Do you have plans to create more of these activations?
My list of favorite games goes far beyond 75, so it was tough to pare it down! We are definitely open to having more co-branded, curated gaming areas throughout the country to promote not only the latest and greatest games, but also the most avant-garde, social media friendly, and, importantly, smoke-free environments.
Global Gaming Expo convenes the global gaming industry. Do you remember your first G2E? In what ways has G2E propelled your career?
As soon as I realized this would be my career, I went full throttle and wanted to know everything about the industry. I showed up at G2E after only operating my channel for six months. I had no idea what to expect but knew that I had to go. I went up to every slot manufacturer and every booth to develop knowledge and relationships. The invaluable contacts I made from that very first visit seven years ago led to my very first brand sponsorship and have continued to be long-lasting.
Historically, the casino industry has not been open to working with influencers. You have spoken about the difficulty of taking photos and videos on a casino floor. How have you seen attitudes change toward working with influencers? In your experience, what are the benefits for operators to partner with influencers?
Anyone who tells you that influencer marketing or social media will not affect positive change on a gaming establishment or product is likely to be the same person who prefers to passively spend millions of dollars on traditional, one-way marketing like television, billboards, and print.
Social communities are not just the future. We are the present and already driving massive change. We just hosted a Brian Christopher Slots Cruise with 650 fans on board (one of a dozen scheduled voyages) and we consistently sell out our Meet & Greets in addition to our other casino events. Aside from attracting thousands of people to casinos, BCSlots videos are watched by more than 5 million unique viewers each month. They see the places we visit, the games we play, the food and drink we consume, and the fun that we have - win or lose. But we don’t stop at just showing the fun, we also promote responsible gaming with an “entertainment budget” as I’ve coined it.
G2E is the catalyst for gaming - fostering innovation and driving growth by convening the global industry to define tomorrow. What are you most looking forward to seeing at Global Gaming Expo 2023?
As it is my first time being on stage for not one, but two education sessions, I look forward to speaking with the audience and also learning from other experts. I welcome the opportunity to connect with more casinos about their policies. Everyone should listen to players in the millennial and Gen Z cohorts when it comes to the gaming environments that will keep us coming back for more. I am eager to make the rounds and see what is new, what is on the horizon, and what games I can consider adding to my curated spaces.
G2E is always a great opportunity to spend time with old friends and make new ones, from all sides of the industry. I love every aspect of gaming, and I look forward to learning from everyone to see how we can help each other in the future!
Register today and experience global gaming under one roof, October 9-12 at The Venetian Expo. And don’t miss Brian Christopher speaking on “A Discussion: Smoking & Casinos” and “Influence is the New Currency: How Player Marketing is Evolving” as a part of G2E Education.