I get tired of the whole "the single biggest thing that's killing bowling" deal
There is no single biggest thing.
If technology was the single biggest thing killing the game, then why is Golf growing or at least staying even? Club technology has drastically changed, balls have changed dramatically, even the GRASS and the mowing have evolved. Yet Golf seems to be doing just fine. Other examples can be found.
Are balls and lanes and oil patterns contributing factors? Probably. However, I don't know of anything other than opinion pieces that give any causative evidence.
I think it is just as much marketing/promotion. As 82 and others have mentioned, the impression of bowling is that it's not cool. It's definitely small-town and hick thing. I work at a college in SoCal and I'm seen as an anachronism as I bowl, I race cars, and I brew beer, all of which definitely go against the academic grain . . .
I think it is just as much management. Centers that are dirty, that cater to parties (sugar) instead of working to thrive on leagues and steady business (fiber). They want that quick jolt that doesn't require much overhead.
I think it is just as much sanctioning body. USBC seems more interested in Nationals and nitpicky details rather than getting youth and new bowlers involved. (this ties into the promotional portion) They could be getting HS and College bowling on one of the "off" sports channels (which are much better than ESPN, but that's a different convo) - NBCSP, CBS-SP, FXSP1, etc.
I think it is just as much equipment - casual bowlers CANNOT do anything except casual bowl with the crap equipment that's given them. You can do "OK" with rental equipment at a golf course, like a Par-3. Not great, but you CAN do ok. You absolutely cannot, CANNOT do diddly crap with the crap that is on the racks. Heck, I can't do diddly crap with the crap on the racks. How do we expect to GET new bowlers when they HAVE to spend a hundred bucks (ish, whatever) to do anything at all, much less compete with us who walk in with our own shoes and multiple balls, wrist braces, powder, blah blah blah.