First, I think one must understand the difference between Independent Casino Reps and Casino Junket Reps. This is not always easy because the definitions can vary depending upon where in the world one is located. In some areas, they are synonymous and it other parts of the world they are totally different. Asia is […]
Casino innovation is rare these days in the casino industry. Unfortunately our industry has been labeled as a copy cat industry since we tend to copy more than we create. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is legal and everyone benefits. However, there is still plenty of room for creativity and innovation in casinos. This month’s kudos for casino innovation goes to Gianfranco Scordato, CEO of Gran Casino Costa Brava in Spain. Gian and his team at Gran Casino Costa Brava are the first casino management team that I am aware of in Europe to make an innovative decision to private label an energy drink for their casino.
It is an intriguing concept which required further investigation because they focused on their Poker Players. It is quite interesting when one considers that the beverage industry in the United States alone is now a U.S. $60 billion per year industry. Energy drinks are the fastest growing segment of this market. Ten years ago energy drink sales in the United States were only $12 million for the year. Last year, energy drink sales topped $12.5 billion and are increasing rapidly. That represents phenomenal growth for any industry and a good opportunity for casinos around the world. According to the “Energy Drinks and Shots: Market Trends in the U.S.”, sales of energy drinks and shots will grow to a value of $21.5 billion by 2017.
So, why a private label an energy drink in a casino? According to Gianfranco their casino currently gives away or sells a huge number of cans of energy drink every month to either customers playing Poker or playing on the casino floor as well as in their various restaurants or lounges. His investigation revealed that the energy drinks were being consumed by younger casino customers and also by their Asian casino customers. Both of these market segments are very high on their list of priority markets in their strategic marketing plan. They want to increase the percentage of younger players and have started to vary their entertainment as well in an effort to be more appealing to them. Gianfranco also commented:
I recently took up digital photography and wanted to learn more about how to improve my photos. I went to the book store to look for an instructional book. I looked in the photography section and I purchased a book titled “Digital Photography for Dummies” because it was written for an inexperienced new user. I have used the “Dummies” books before to learn about many new subjects of interest. Having worked in the casino industry for thirty five years primarily in casino marketing I realize that most of what I know today came from “on-the-job”, hands-on experience. I am currently self-employed as a casino consultant specializing in all aspects of casino marketing. I have written and published numerous articles over the years about casino marketing. Never-the-less, I still feel that I am always learning new things about casino marketing and try to share them openly especially with younger folks new to the casino industry.
I receive numerous requests every month for help from young people who want to break into the casino marketing field, learn about casino junkets, better understand Asian casino marketing or who want to learn more to improve their present skills. As a result of this I now realize that there is not a great deal of information available for young people who want to learn about casino marketing. Therefore I have decided to try to offer some helpful recommendations and suggestions.
First, I think it is important for people to realize that it is often very difficult and frustrating to break into casino marketing in one of the better positions unless you have some unusual skill set, past work experience or speak a desired foreign language. Most of the larger casinos around the world usually try to promote from within in order to develop career paths for their own hard working, dedicated, loyal employees. Marketing seems to be one of the more glamorous desirable positions that many people want. Consequently, one strategy is to just get hired first by your company of choice; hopefully for a lower ranked position within the marketing division, and watch for any postings or listings of new open positions that the casino wants to fill. It is a great way to learn from within and to climb the corporate ladder to a higher, more desirable marketing position. […]
One of my favorite sayings is, “The operation was a success but the patient still died.” Oftentimes, in today’s highly competitive casino industry, balancing common sense with value or perceived value in a highly regulated environment can make the difference between success or having your patient (the customer) die (or disappear). This may sound strange but one of my friends named Dennis Conrad who I think is one of the better casino marketing consultants (besides myself) in the casino industry today, also has a favorite expression; “Doing business today is not about making money, it is about creating value”. I totally agree with Dennis.
One time, I received a telephone call from a small player that I knew quite well on a personal basis. He called me to tell me that he was sorry but that he was going to have to cancel his reservation at Foxwoods. I asked him why, and he informed me that he was offered a better deal from another casino. He told me that he received a discount coupon in the mail and that he could use that extra savings for play in the casino. The $20 difference in room rates represented value to him. I was also intrigued because this customer was own brother. So much for loyalty in the casino industry today; value won. This made me think for a moment about what else do we take for granted that we often see day in and day out that may be perceived as “value” by our customers. Every casino in the world has either direct or indirect competitors depending upon their location.
Foxwoods was rapidly approaching its annual strategic planning sessions. Therefore, I decided to issue a challenge to all Foxwoods management throughout the organization to first take a good hard look at our own operation within each of their own operating divisions and then to make at least three personal visits to our direct competitors or any other competitors on either a local or a regional basis. I discussed this with our CEO, who immediately recognized the thought process, and issued a personal memo to all management to support our new Value Project and to accept the challenge. […]
I know that many of you have followed my ongoing series of articles about how to make money in the casino business today. I keep repeating one of my friend’s favorite sayings that being successful in the casino business today is not about making money but rather it is about creating value. And as always, many of you keep challenging me for more detail and more in depth information. Therefore, since I was employed previously by Foxwoods Resort Casino, it makes sense for me to use Foxwoods as an example for this article. Foxwoods is the largest casino in North America today. Foxwoods, at the time, had over 380 Table Games, 7,400 Slot Machines, 1,500 Hotel Rooms and approximately 12,000 employees plus a wide variety or restaurants, salon, spa, showroom and two Rees Jones designed golf courses. Foxwoods is located in the middle of 2,500 acres of pristine virgin forest half way between New York City and Boston. Therefore, due to Foxwoods remote location, Foxwoods aggressively marketed to every single segment of its different gaming markets ranging from Bingo, Poker, Slots and Table Games. We also focused a great deal of attention and marketing on our non-gaming revenue producing areas such as salon, spa, entertainment and retail to help support the overall marketing efforts of the property.
In addition to all of this, many people still believe that there must be a secret formula for success in the casino industry. This made me reflect for a moment to try to think about exactly what are the critical elements that would make up some magical formula for Foxwoods phenomenal success at that time that could be replicated by other casinos around the world. In retrospect, I did come up with my own interpretation of that secret success formula:
The Casino Secret Formula for Success =
The 3 P’s (People, Product & Profit) X Marketing / Financial Analysis, Training, Motivation & Fear […]
In today’s economy it’s tougher than ever to acquire new players, re-activate old ones, and increase visitation to your casino. To stay competitive in today’s market, and to maintain and build your property’s “share of wallet” many casinos are anxiously trying to reinvent themselves, and evaluating new business development opportunities. So how do casinos find and develop new business in today’s fiercely competitive market? How do casinos retain their existing base without sacrificing the bottom line? And what is the best way to reactivate your existing base of customers who may be frequenting your competition?
One new tactic employed by businesses is the revolution of the “Daily Deal”. This recent phenomenon led by Groupon and Living Social has changed the buying process for budget conscience consumers. Many industries have adopted these models including the travel, restaurant, and salon and spa service industries. You can even buy a coupon for a discount sky-diving jump. So what they have proven is that with the right incentive, consumers are willing to try anything once.
With the overwhelming success of Groupon and Living Social, daily deal websites have popped up like wildflowers in the past two years. These sites offer a no-upfront cost advertising opportunity to businesses that are willing to provide discounted products or services to be sold on the daily deal website. They tend to focus on small businesses with small marketing budgets. Oftentimes, it’s the small business owner who is also the marketing director, the advertising manager, and the bean counter, so the opportunity to reach a wide audience of potentially new customers is appealing. […]
Many readers are probably old enough to remember a very famous “advice column” that was around for years titled “Dear Abby.” Readers used to write to the newspaper to ask Abby’s advice about numerous different subjects, but mostly related to their love life. As a casino consultant, I also get numerous letters from readers asking for my advice. Many of their questions relate to “How do I become a junket rep?” I think answering questions about someone’s love life might actually be easier to answer than questions related to junkets, but nevertheless I will try.
A typical letter:
I read your advice online and am very interested in becoming a casino junket rep. I have traveled to Atlantic City on a few junkets and feel it could be a rewarding job as well as a fun job. I am not a heavy gambler. I mostly play slots and blackjack, but never felt the need to gamble more than I set aside for any given day. Therefore, the temptation to bet my house is not a problem.
I did, however, notice that on most of these junkets I have been on, there is very limited interaction between the rep and the player. I feel if the reps got more involved in making the trip enjoyable, they could get more repeat business. I have no clue how to become a casino junket rep and could use some advice in how to get started. Do I contact the casino? Is there a license I have to apply for? Is there a school I need to attend? I have found many sites for travel agents, but none for casino junkets. Any advice you can offer would be great. […]
There are almost 600 casinos in the United States and several thousand around the world. Every one of them probably has a different interpretation of what a high roller is. It is an interesting and controversial subject that is all relative to each casinos VCL. VCL is one of the many variable factors that can affect the way a casino would view their interpretation of a high roller. In other words, one size doesn’t fit all when evaluating high rollers. Therefore, I think is important to review VCL first and hopefully clear up some of the many misconceptions that are out there about high rollers and casinos.
Do you know your casino’s VCL? VCL stands for “Volatility Comfort Level”. For that matter, do you know what your own personal Volatility Comfort Level is? For example, if you went to a Roulette Table with a $1,000 bankroll, would you be comfortable betting $1000 or 1000 Pounds Sterling straight up on a number that pays 35 to 1 odds? This represents high risk but high potential reward as well as a high VCL. Or, on the other hand, would you be more comfortable betting only $10 on Black or Red which is an even money bet with minimal risk but also minimal potential reward or low VCL.
Simply stated, the player’s need for risk-oriented betting parameters and the casino’s tolerance for risk in relation to potential reward is what VCL is all about for both the player and the casino. It is one of the subtle influencing factors that can have a dramatic effect upon a player’s real or perceived value in a casino. It can also be a competitive factor as casinos use betting limits as a means to attract and compete for players. In terms of bottom line it can dramatically influence the casino’s profitability as well over the short and mid-term thereby potentially affecting cash flow, and stock prices. From purely a selfish point of view issues directly or indirectly related to volatility can affect the job security for the casino executives having to make these day-to-day decisions. […]
What do they all have in common? Probably not too much but how else do you focus ones attention on such horrible diseases. One could possibly argue that Leprosy, Ebola Virus and Bubonic Plague are not common illnesses but never-the-less their effects can be both devastating and catastrophic. Problem gaming is also an illness that can also have catastrophic consequences not only for the victim but also for the innocent families of the victims. Nobody likes to talk about negative topics and therefore it is often easier to avoid talking about them or even worse, pretending that they do not exist.So, who really cares about problem gaming? I do for one and fortunately most responsible casino executives and managers also care about it. In recent years the casino industry overall has begun to take a much more proactive rather than reactive approach to the way they handle problem gaming. Senior management does seem to understand all of the various issues. However, as an industry we still have a way to go to properly educate as many employees as possible in the gaming industry.
I used the term educate rather than train for how we deal with our employees. We train horses and we train dogs but we educate people. Therefore, an on-going progressive educational program about problem gaming is one of the keys to success. The gaming industry in general needs to be commended on their efforts in recent years to properly train their staff to recognize the early signs of problem gaming to allow management an opportunity for intervention before it is too late. […]
The other day my wife called me and asked me what I was doing. I gave her the standard one word answer – “working”. She then asked me what I was thinking. I gave her the standard one word answer – “nothing”. We often joke back and forth like this but basically she was curious as to what I was doing and what I was thinking that day. I then told her that I had a meeting with one of our Table Game Shift Managers. She questioned me about what a Vice President of Casino Marketing and a Casino Shift Manager would talk about on a rainy day? I told her that at xxxxx Casino we discuss normal casino business matters as well as some very unusual and different things such as physics and psychology. She couldn’t tell if I was joking or serious. We are very fortunate to have a lot of very bright and creative people on our team here at xxxxx. Ken is one of them. He always challenges me with unusual questions which I enjoy. At our meeting, we had an interesting discussion about behavioral habits and the way certain players develop some very unusual gaming habits. This caused us both to wonder why? […]