How to Become a Casino Junket Rep / Independent Rep & Earn Big Money…….. by Steve Karoul

 

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 one of the more complicated markets to understand because the terms can vary country to country and even within the same country.  Second, depending upon the gaming jurisdiction, licensing by casino regulators can also vary dramatically often incorporating different standards for licensure.

Never-the-less, a very general summary of both terms may be that Independent Casino Reps refer qualified players to casinos.  They usually do not lend money, issue credit nor collect debt for casinos.  They are normally paid a commission based upon either the statistical Theoretical Win or the actual Loss of the player.  A Junket Rep, especially in Asia, may lend money or issue credit to their player and may also collect any casino debt.  They are normally paid a percentage of Turnover of non-negotiable chips.  Independent Casino Reps are normally sole proprietor type businesses working alone and Junket Reps oftentimes represent larger organizations which engage many sub-junkets or sub-reps under their umbrella.

Many readers are probably old enough to remember a very famous “advice column” that was around for many 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 as well.  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 Casino Junkets / Independent Reps but never-the-less I will try.

A typical letter received would be:

Dear Steve, I read your advice online and am very interested in becoming a casino junket rep. I have traveled to Atlantic City and Las Vegas on a few junkets and feel it could be both 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 the junkets or casino trips that I have taken, there is very limited interaction between the independent 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 / independent rep and therefore could use some advice on how to get started.  Do I contact the casino?  Is there a license that I will need to apply for?  Is there a school that I need to attend?  I have found many websites for becoming a travel agent, but none for becoming a Casino Junket or Independent Rep.  Any advice that you can offer would be great. Thank you so much, John.

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a school or university that teaches Junket Rep 101 or Independent Rep 101.  Therefore, the first thing that one must learn is to understand exactly what being a Rep means in real terms as well as in financial terms.  In real terms, a junket or independent rep is a hybrid cross between a salesman or a saleswoman (yes there are some female junket reps – very good ones too), a casino host, an advisor and a gaming resource.  In financial terms, a junket rep is usually financially successful because the good ones will have the ability to earn a lot of money from lucrative commission programs offered by casinos.  Legitimate Junket / Independent Reps are not loan sharks, mob enforcers or gangsters preying upon innocent naïve gamblers.  For the purpose of this article I will use the term Junket Rep as being synonymous with Independent Rep but it could vary depending upon location and license requirements.  Therefore, I will just refer to them now as Casino Reps.

Casino Reps are basically service providers.  Casino Reps provide services to both casinos and to their customers if they are qualified players.  The services provided to casinos are basically marketing services.  Casino Reps help to promote the host casino to new players so, in effect, they provide the prospecting aspect (searching for new players) of player development for various casinos.  They also provide marketing services because they are informing qualified players about upcoming casino special events, gaming or golf tournaments, headliner entertainment or shows, etc.  Casino Reps also provide a special service to their customers in the way of access to these non-public or private events, shows or tournaments.  Casino Reps often provide convenience or “one stop shopping” to their players.

Convenience is very important as well as access for many busy players.  Casino Reps make it very easy and convenient for players to book a gaming trip through them or their office.  Once the player commits to attending the event their Rep handles all the details for them which may include booking their hotel room or VIP suite, booking their show tickets, arranging transportation, reserving starting times for golf or spa / salon treatments, booking restaurant reservations and getting their player access or VIP seats to the casino special event, show or tournament.  In some cases, dependent upon the location and the casino programs in place, the Rep may also intervene on behalf of their player and help negotiate other things such as Loss Discount percentages, Promo Chips, Bonus Slot Play or gifts in the form of shopping allowances within the casino.  This does not happen in casinos offering non-negotiable chip  rolling programs for Baccarat as often found in Asia due to the high commissions paid on the Turnover.

Expectations:

Casinos expect that anyone invited by the Casino Rep to be a “qualified” player, meaning that the Rep knows the player personally as well as their past play history at other casinos, and  knows that their level of play will qualify for an invitation to such event.  Therefore, Casino Reps provide background checks and verifications that a casino would normally have to do prior to inviting a new player to an expensive special event, show or tournament.  Casinos almost always set event criteria for each event which may include a certain level casino credit line or cash deposit, a certain number of hours play per trip at a minimum level bet or higher, a past -history of documented wins or losses at other similar size casinos and possibly some background on the customer’s skill level or playing style for the game played.  In the case of slot players, the casino would also want to know if the customer plays slot machines versus video poker since video poker machines hold less money for the casino, coin denomination played and average dollar amount of coin in during a normal gaming trip.  Most casino management systems compile all of these details and summarize them in reports which reveal the players ADT (average daily Theo or theoretical win).  Theo for table game players is a standard casino statistical formula comprised of average bet x time played x house advantage per game x number of decisions per hour.  Most casinos recognize ADT because it is fairly-well standardized which allows them to then prioritize suites or room assignments, VIP seating or a host of other details that may be capacity or space controlled.  The simple fact is that the best players get the best accommodations, etc. and everything else trickles down by either ADT or a Casino Reps strong recommendation to casino management on a potential new player.

Gamblers or players expect to deal with a Casino Rep who is very familiar with the host casino and their staff so that they may receive VIP treatment upon arrival as well as throughout their entire trip.  Players also expect that their Rep will be able to get them with access to the special events, shows or tournaments as well as VIP seating.  They also expect that their Rep will have made all other reservations for the duration of their trip so that they do not have to worry about any details and basically will just go to gamble and have fun.  In other words, they want a “stress- free” trip other than from the Win or Loss on the gaming tables or slots.  Players often view their Rep as their casino Concierge.  They rely upon their Rep to take care of everything for them for that particular casino trip.

Most casinos in regulated jurisdictions require Casino Reps to be licensed with either the State or the Gaming Control Board.  The applications can be quite lengthy and detailed and often require a full financial disclosure with copies of your past three years of income tax filings.  One concern of the gaming regulators is obviously to keep organized crime and criminal elements out of the casino industry.  Junket license fees depending upon the State or jurisdiction can range from $100 to many thousands of dollars.  The license fees are used by the regulators to conduct a complete and thorough background check on all applicants.  Finger-prints are checked via the FBI and other law enforcement agencies depending upon the country.

So how can one start?  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  Most casinos normally want to engage experienced Casino Reps that are already established in their city, territory or region who have large lists or databases of qualified players.  In the old days, many of the Casino Reps were book-makers who knew who the local gamblers were.  However, today, many of these former old-time book-makers probably would not get licensed.  Therefore, individuals who want to become Casino Reps must think creatively.  One method is to try to go on a Junket (gaming trip) or two and talk to the Rep to see if they may be looking to hire additional staff.  Another way is to try to get a job at a casino to learn from the inside out.  Working at a casino in an area such as their Players Club or in Casino Marketing will enable one to learn how a casino functions and also give one an opportunity to work with gamblers or players and learn their idiosyncrasies.  Ultimately, the goal is to understand how casinos operate and then begin to build your own database or portfolio of qualified players.  I know many Casino Reps who did this and started with as few as 50 qualified players and built up from there.

It is important to also point out that the better Casino Reps that survive and prosper do so based upon their reputations.  Therefore, one always wants to operate with the highest level of integrity.  It is a privilege to be invited to a casino along with your customers for an event.  I have unfortunately observed many Casino Reps self-destruct by trying to steal players while on the casino floor or from other Casino Reps while attending such events.  Once you get “Black Listed” from a casino it will be very difficult to get hired by other casinos.

A key point for aspiring Casino Reps is that you need to start slowly and carefully.  Once you get licensed and accepted by a casino as a Casino Rep it is normally fairly easy to get accepted by additional casinos in different gaming jurisdictions.  Many Casino Reps normally are licensed at minimum in Las Vegas, New Jersey, the Caribbean, in their own State, by a cruise ship, or in their home country if other than the United States, etc.  That way they can develop their own distinctive marketing strategies which may involve direct sales, social networking, direct mail, website marketing, telemarketing as well as referrals or recommendations from existing satisfied customers.  One goal should always be to try to develop “Advocates” from your existing players who will continually recommend you to other players whom they may meet elsewhere.  Being licensed in more than one casino also affords you the opportunity to offer your players access to many additional exciting events or shows across the country or internationally.  Junkets vary as well around the world.  Junkets in Asia are quite different from Junkets in Europe or North America. Many Junkets in Asia actually supply credit to their customers and therefore are also responsible for the collection of this credit.  Therefore, one must very carefully research their own local markets to better understand if they will be able to qualify as a Casino Rep or be able to function successfully as a Casino Rep.  If you really want to become a Casino Rep you will need to be persistent.  It is not easy but it can be done and the rewards or compensation can be very substantial and quite lucrative.  Good luck.

Please feel free to share this article with your staff, friends or peers.  As we all know, the casino business today is a very complicated business.

Please also note that I am available for short-term casino marketing consulting projects covering such subjects as:

  • Casino Host / Player Development Training based on the premise that everyone should be focused on sales and developing advocates.
  • Junket Training – understanding Casino Junkets and Independent Reps to help most casinos import new business and maximize profitability.
  • Asian Casino Marketing – how to attract and improve profitability from this lucrative but complicated market segment. One size does not fit all with regards to Asian casino marketing due to numerous cultures, customs and languages.
  • Ethnic Casino Marketing – this is an area often misunderstood and often overlooked for incremental casino revenue.
  • Casino Special Events, Mini-events, Photo Ops for Social Media, Miscellaneous other Promotions but using sponsorship money or merchandise to help offset expenses.
  • Casino Marketing Plans – how to develop an effective one or how to fine tune an existing one to maximize profitability.

I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to casino marketing. I can be a very valuable independent consulting resource and help your casino in many different ways to increase revenues and maximize profits.

 

[Steve Karoul is a well-known and respected casino marketing consultant with over 38 years of hands-on experience. Steve has lived and worked in numerous different countries around the world and has conducted casino marketing in well over 125 countries. He has worked as a Casino Rep, he has worked for two of the larger Junket Reps in Asia and he has employed hundreds of Reps while working for different casinos. He understands both casino operations and casino marketing.  He is viewed as an expert on Casino Junkets / Casino Independent Reps.  He is also a gaming industry innovator who openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow casino industry executives. For additional information, Steve can be reached at [email protected]  or www.euroasiacasino.com ]

 

AML, FINCEN, Casinos, International Banks and Intrigue

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

What do AML, FINCEN, Casinos and Banks all have in common?  It is not intrigue but unfortunately the intrigue element comes into play because of Compliance.  Compliance is the new mantra of both casinos and banks today.  Unfortunately there have been abuses within both systems and both industries handle large amounts of cash.  Cash used to be “King” but not any longer.  Today cash generates concern.  That concern translates across many industries today besides just casinos and banks.

For example, FINCEN falls under the US Department of the Treasury.  This is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and they have both casinos and banks in their sights among other industries. This not only affects casinos in the United States but also affects western casinos conducting business in Asia or elsewhere around the world. FINCEN’s charter is as follows:

“FINCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities”

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Private Label your own “Casino” Energy Drink???

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

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:

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Asian Casino Marketing: Lucrative but not Easy

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Almost every casino around the world understands the value of Asian Casino Marketing but most do not understand what Asian Casino Marketing really is.  Therefore, many casinos seem to make the same fatal error and then wonder why their Asian casino marketing program failed.  One of my more popular articles was titled “I’m not Chinese, I’m Vietnamese”.  This article sums it up nicely because the first thing a casino needs to understand is that not all Asian market segments are the same or simply stated; one size does not fit all when it comes to Asian casino marketing.  It means the same thing when one considers that Asia is not Asia.  Asia consists of many different countries, many different cultures, many different languages, many different foods, customs, traditions, beliefs, holidays, etc.

I consulted for a very nice casino recently located in the United States and asked why they did not have any Asian casino marketing programs in place.  They told me that they had tried Asian marketing in the past and that they were unsuccessful so they abandoned their efforts.  Upon further investigation I learned that they had hired one Chinese speaking Casino Host and put that individual in charge of their entire Asian Casino Marketing efforts.  I also learned that they added a number of Chinese food items to their casino buffet because they did not have an Asian restaurant or an Asian Noodle Bar.  They also did not promote any Asian games on their casino floor such as Baccarat or Pai Gow.  I kept digging and finally learned that the majority of Asian players from the surrounding communities were all Vietnamese and not Chinese.  Their Asian Host was unable to communicate with these players in their own language.  The Chinese food items that they prepared were unappealing to Vietnamese players.  And they did not focus on any Vietnamese holidays or Vietnamese entertainment.  No wonder their “Asian casino marketing” efforts failed. Read More…

Casino Marketing 101: Very Unique Player Gift Discovered by a 14 Year Old High School Student

My 14 year old son and friends were working on a school project related to marketing.  Their goal was to develop a business plan and market a new product.  Their first task was to find a new product to market.  They actually did a great job and found a really unique product that almost everyone would have a need for.  It is a multi-functional new type of flash light that uses numerous LED light bulbs.  In fact, it has 54 LED bulbs built into it.  It is one of the brightest lights on the market today.  The only one brighter was designed for military use and is actually not that much brighter than the Safe-T-Lite.  The only big difference is price.  The military model costs about ten time more than this commercial model.

My son and his friends were looking for a niche market for this unusual flash light.  I told them that I thought it would make an ideal give-away gift for casinos.  Most casinos look for unique gift items that will appeal to their players and also offer high perceived value. The product is unique, the packaging and size are perfect and the price is fantastic ranging from $14.95 to $19.95 F.O.B. New Jersey depending upon quantity.  Their first task was to write their copy for their ad.

Remember my previous article about “Perception is reality and reality is perception in the casino business.  The casino business today is not about making money, it is about creating value for our customers. Create the value first and making money will be much easier.” Read More…

Casino Marketing for Dummies

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

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.  Read More…

The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Mystery Shopping has been around for many years.  It is not a new concept. It is particularly prevalent in the retail and hospitality industries.  However, it is a relatively new concept for the casino industry.  I am now involved with a fair amount of casino consulting as well as lectures at various casino conferences.  I often stress to casino executives and casino managers that there are three important factors involved with success in the modern casino industry.  Years ago, I used to always use Conrad Hilton’s often coined expression that there were three key factors involved with success in the hotel industry and those three factors were #1) location, #2) location and #3) location.

Location is obviously a very important factor but in today’s dynamic casino industry I believe that three of the more important factors today are #1) communicate, #2) celebrate and #3) validate.  You can never over communicate in the casino industry especially with your staff.  Most staff are hard working, loyal and dedicated.  They want to be involved so I always recommend that casino operators communicate to the legal maximum allowed by law.  Casino operators that communicate well with their staff will reap the benefits and the rewards. Involvement from happy motivated staff is a critical success factor that will payoff handsomely for both large and small casino operators around the world. Neither location nor size matters when it comes to communicating well with your staff.  Improving upon this one factor alone can make a huge difference in your operation.

The second success factor that I mentioned is celebrate.  Celebrate both with your customers and with your employees.  Look for reasons to celebrate.  People want to have fun.  People come to casinos to have fun.  Celebration is a critical element of having fun.  Unfortunately it is an area that often gets overlooked or the almighty budget over-rules and the celebrations never take place with the casino staff.  What a missed opportunity.  I often advise casino operators to develop a new line item in their budgets called “Celebrations” and to budget an amount of money each year that you can keep in reserve to use for those “unexpected” opportunities that will always arise when you least expect them so that you can celebrate both with your customers and with your staff.  They will appreciate it. Read More…

Understanding the Basics about Casino Management Systems (CMS)

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

During my many years of consulting, I have witnessed a continued evolution and growth in the Casino Management Software needs of various casinos around the world.  It is an area that is often overlooked in the development stages of a new casino or during a pending software update.  However, this area should not be taken lightly.  There are actually many different options available but most suppliers only recommend a few of the larger systems to most casinos.  Sometimes this can be overkill as well as extremely expensive for some casinos who may be perfectly satisfied with a less expensive casino management system.

A Casino Management System (CMS) serves as a focal point for the day to day processing and recording of operational transactions throughout the facility.   Realistically, there is no one single vendor who offers all of the software that a major casino resort needs to operate and manage their facility.  Consequently there has always been a need for a central management system that is capable of interacting and collecting meaningful information from the many “best of breed” operational systems commonly found in today’s modern casino facilities.  Some of the basic applications that should integrate with your Casino Management Software include Slot Monitoring / Accounting, Slot Ticketing, Cashless Gaming, eGames Platforms, RFID Table Monitoring, Live Point of Sale Systems for Keno, Bingo, Race and Sports Book, Promotional Kiosks, Hotel, Food and Beverage Point of Sale, Surveillance and Security, Responsible Gaming, On-line Internet Gaming, Third Party Check Cashing, General Ledger, and Data Warehousing just to mention a few..

Making sense of this entire complex subject can be very difficult and often overwhelming for many casino operators or casino developers.   I am often reminded by some of my software friends of just a few key items to remember when selecting a Casino Management System for your property: Read More…

Artificial Intelligence, Poker Bots and Wining at Poker

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Approximately ten years ago I was approached by a company from Israel that was working on some artificial intelligence projects.  The owner loved to play poker so he started on a new venture to try to see if he could develop a program based upon artificial intelligence to help him to become a better poker player.  This project involved the development and programming of the software, physics, mathematical analysis and a variety of gaming and casino marketing experts including myself.  All of this was before the current boom and popularity of both online poker and casino gaming.  Einstein was ahead of his time as well as the father of modern physics.  Einstein was a genius; Einstein was a curious type of individual who liked to question “Why?”  My poker enthusiast friend was the same type of creative, curious individual but whose passion was playing poker and gambling.  He was convinced that with the help of computers, proper programming and software development involving complex algorithms, etc. that he could learn the secrets and teach himself to be a great poker player and a great gambler.  I am still not sure whether he wanted to learn these skills purely for enjoyment or to make lots of money as a semi-professional, highly skilled player.  He never told me.

Artificial Intelligence or “AI” can replicate or mimic many of the human brain functions.  Computer programmers have often played with new software applications to try to match or improve upon human brain functions.  This became very evident with the game of Chess. Deep Blue was the name given to a chess playing computer developed by IBM. On May 11, 1997, the machine, with human intervention between games, won the second six-game match against world champion Garry Kasparov by two wins to one with three draws. Kasparov accused IBM of cheating and demanded a rematch. IBM refused and retired Deep Blue. Kasparov had beaten a previous version of Deep Blue in 1996.  IBM used one of their faster computers in 1997 but that was sixteen years ago.  Computer chips, RAM and software have been improving dramatically and geometrically every year since 1997.  It is amazing how powerful some of the new computers for gaming are today compared to just a few years ago. Read More…

The Old Annual Casino Budget Dilemma

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Casino budgets are an annual process that seems to come and go without too much ceremony or celebration. Depending upon your casino’s budget process, it can be a productive activity or an activity of futile frustration. I have researched the budget process in many different casinos looking for common denominators as well as common helpful hints to ease the pain. However, one common denominator that was heard was “I wish we could change all of the B.S. that goes along with the budget process”. So, you are not alone out there in casino land. It was the same comments from many different locations and many different kinds of casinos. Financial people view things one way, operations people view things another way and marketing people view things in an even different way. Further investigation did however divulge some common denominators as well as common complaints.

Everyone agreed that the budget process was in fact necessary and everyone agreed that some form of financial planning and record keeping is also necessary for every casino. Most individuals surveyed also felt that the casino business is different from the hotel industry, restaurant industry, manufacturing, etc. but do share certain commonalities. They also recognized that the accounting process must basically conform to certain pre-established standard accounting practices for record keeping and budgeting. Never-the-less, many casino executives felt that the overall process was in some ways counterproductive and could be improved upon. This common denominator or comment was intriguing.

Further investigation revealed that many casino executives felt that the budgeting process found in many casinos today is not always helpful since it sometimes may actually hide or hinder growth opportunities. It may mask the truth when market conditions change unexpectedly such as what we are experiencing today with gasoline prices in the $3.00+ per gallon range or higher in some States. Budgets force people to still try to “make the number” no matter what. This can cause undue stress throughout the casino organization and create a very serious and stressful atmosphere that oftentimes is conveyed to the customer in the form of poor customer service or an “un-fun” atmosphere. Remember, customers come to casinos to have FUN whether it is from gaming, entertainment, dining, etc. Read More…

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