Brian Christopher Brings Online Slots Influence to Las Vegas Casinos

These days, social media influencers exist across all platforms, all types of industries, and all personalities, and gaming is no different.

Palm Springs-based YouTuber Brian Christopher has been a leader in slots videos since his channel Brian Christopher Slots – followed by over 500,000 subscribers on this site and over 600,000 on Facebook – started six years ago .

Its popularity is now peaking in tangible places in casinos. Last month, he announced a partnership with the Plaza that will result in a smoke-free space in his name. And this week, slot machine manufacturer Gaming Arts will unveil Brian Christopher’s Pop’N Pays More, an extension of Pop’N Pays in his image.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke with Christopher by phone while visiting a Maryland casino for its channel in late June. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Review-Journal: How did you start publishing and when did you realize you could make a career out of it?

Christopher: I started my YouTube channel in 2016. I just uploaded some videos of a trip for fun. I think I put about five videos on my first one and then I was done. I had no intention of uploading any more videos after that. However, the videos themselves, they did very well. To my surprise, I got tons of subscribers from this.

I decided to upload more videos after that, just to do a bunch of them again in one day. They were all about three minutes long. And again, those videos took off. I was invited by YouTube to join the partner program at that time, so I started making money from these videos.

Gambling is still extremely expensive and a losing sport. YouTube was great, but it doesn’t seem like a great deal to make money while losing money, so I was very careful about that. Even then, I saw it as a part-time gig to help support my acting career, maybe, but never in a million years did I think it could become my job.

From year to year, we have almost doubled in size. Now we have nine staff members. Each week we are in a different location, or in a different city or state, promoting a different casino. While we are on the property, we file all of these videos with them. We also organize live streams and meetups, as well as all other types of events such as slot tournaments or group gatherings.

What is a common misconception or challenge about this career path?

I am very careful about the way I bet and play. I play with my “entertainment stash” – the company budget, really. Because, I mean, I have to be able to make a video. So when people ask me, ‘What’s your budget for the weekend?’ I don’t have a clear answer for them. It’s more like you have to play within your budget. You do it for fun. I do it for work.

How has your channel evolved over the years?

When I started there were only a handful of channels doing what I do. My goal has always been to try and improve the game a bit, make it a bit more professional, work on editing my thumbnails and get into the rhythm of something. Then after about six months, I’m like, ‘OK, what can I do better now, to make it more beautiful or to innovate?’ Because over the years there are now thousands of these gaming channels that basically look at the high rollers and see what we do and then try to imitate or copy the styles or themes that we do. So I have to keep reinventing myself to stand out and be different and unique.

Over the years I have tried to make 360° videos. About a year and a half ago we added a second camera because everyone always wanted to see my reactions. We frequently broadcast our live streams via Facebook and YouTube, and increased our resolution on our videos to make them look better. We made different kinds of challenge ideas to make it exciting, and just being able to travel to different places each week definitely sets us apart from our competition. Most other chains will stick with their local casino or head to a casino in Vegas or something. We are always traveling and doing events and these are really exciting videos too.

You traveled even during the early months of the pandemic, and it seemed like a good opportunity for you to show people what things were like at this point in the pandemic. What was it like to be the eyes, ears and respiratory system of your viewers?

I felt like it was my responsibility to show them this because they all rely on me to give them the casino information. When the first casino reopened, I wanted to be there because I knew there would be so many questions about what it was like to be in a casino now. I booked the first possible flight to get there safely. I did my livestream and talked to them throughout the process.

It was really eye-opening for viewers to see what it looked like. It was the first steps, I wanted to do this and I also felt very bad for all the casinos that were closed for a few months, all the workers who lost their money and their salary. I contacted tons of casinos offering my services for free. I didn’t want to charge anything. Then I donated all my Super Chat donations from all my livestreams to the casinos so they could give them to their staff as a thank you for attending.

My fans really enjoyed seeing it. I know immediately that everyone was like, “Oh, I’m not going to do that.” Eventually, I mean years later, it happened because we had no choice.

You have a new partnership with a slot machine, Pop’N Pays MORE — just like you. Machine licensing is, of course, very common, but it looks like you’re the first – or one of the first – Internet celebrities to be among them. How unique is it?

Certainly the first, which is incredibly humbling and exciting. I hope this is the first of many we are doing. I know our fans are super excited about these games. Pop’N Pays is already a proven brand and our fans love this game. I feel like I was able to add my voice, literally and figuratively, into this machine to make it a lot more fun, to add new experiences and many more ways for them to win in this game. The bonus itself is so exciting. There’s also a lot of action on most of your turns, which is unique to the game.

I have recorded over 200 sayings for this. They had a list of things to say for me that they heard me say in my videos, and I have my own list of additional things and even found some more during that. Words congratulating them for hitting the progressive jackpot; all my favorite sayings there, like the word “rude” I say a lot in my videos or “Oh, nelly!” when something excites me. There are a few little Easter eggs that some of our superfans might find as well.

What do you think that says, more symbolically, about the overlap of internet culture and slots or gambling to have an internet personality on a machine?

I think it speaks to what we do as influencers. You see it in other areas, like MrBeast has his own chocolate bars, he now has burgers. It’s a proven concept, like when our fans see something we do, they want to be part of that experience, whether it’s just showing us a new T-shirt. Because I’m so well known for slots and the love of them, if I love a game and had a hand in creating it, you just know that our fans are going to seek out that game to play.

We have many places we’ll be flying to in the first few weeks just to promote the game, but it’s going to many, many more casinos across the country. Time will tell how it fares too in the end, but if Pop’N Pays’ original hit is anything, this one is sure to take it to the next level.

Do you meet people at the casino or casino executives who don’t know how to influence?

There are definitely tons of casinos that still don’t understand what an influencer is. They are the ones who, if you go to their social networks, show you a photo of a drink, a photo of a steak. Like, they just don’t understand. While there are other casinos that really get into it, they will showcase player winnings and things that real players want to see. I’m not that excited about a steak meal or something we see on Facebook. That’s not gonna make me go to your casino. If you want me to play there, show me some game stuff.

We have a proven track record. I’ve been doing this for six years now. We can provide all kinds of statistics to casinos to show them our value and our value to them. All it takes is a trip to a casino to really see how valuable we are and what we can contribute. And then immediately they’ll want us back, that’s for sure.

How do you use your platform to persuade casinos to adopt smoke-free policies?

I’ve been saying that for years. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID, it opened people’s eyes. Many of them have decided to open a smoke-free space to begin with. It was kind of like a blessing in disguise because they actually saw this, “Wow, we can do this well. Our audience actually prefers it and our workers definitely prefer it. Because young workers these days, they didn’t grow up seeing cigarette smoke anywhere and all of a sudden we expect them to show up and breathe it in all the time. Nobody wants to do that.

I feel happy about myself pushing it. I feel like I was responsible for encouraging him because he knows how to remain a non-smoker. In many of my contracts I have stipulated that you must remain a non-smoker in order for me to continue to visit you. I think this push with Plaza is definitely a step in the right direction and hopefully it gets proven to show everyone how popular it will be and how it doesn’t really affect the excitement of a casino.

What do you think of the future of the game and influence?

Our new space (social media friendly) is opening at The Plaza, the renovated area itself will welcome all kinds of influencers who will want to come and share their experiences there. I know everyone will watch it, especially in downtown Vegas, to see how well it works.

At any casino that allowed us to come and film inside them, they certainly reaped the benefits. They know that’s the place to go to film this because that’s where Brian Christopher goes. And Brian Christopher told them they were allowed to film there. So they go. They are not harassed by security, they can have a good time and have fun with their friends.

McKenna Ross is a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected] Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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