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When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

 

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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

INTRODUCTION 

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.    Read More…

When, Why and How to “Fire” a Customer

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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

For those of you that continue to follow my series of articles on Casino Marketing, you have heard me over and over say that the casino business today is not about making money, it is about creating value.  I sincerely believe that because people are not stupid.  Human beings all are motivated by basically the same things.  Value is one of the top motivators when it comes to selection or shopping.  However, from the casino operator’s perspective, we do have to pay attention to bottom line profitability.  Creating “Value” will help to bring customers to your casino.  Managing that business properly to make a profit oftentimes involves a completely different set of criteria.

Nobody ever wants to lose business or lose customers.  However, not all business and not all customers are good for your casino’s overall well being.  For example, I don’t think anyone would ever dispute firing a customer or excluding a customer that is abusive to your staff.  We value our employees and want them to be treated fairly and appropriately by both fellow employees and by our customers.  We operate with a zero tolerance for any type of sexual, racial or physical abuse of our staff by customers as well as by fellow team members.  We also look very carefully at verbal abuse and warn customers that we do not appreciate nor tolerate inappropriate behavior directed at our staff.  We place customers on our exclusion list every week for such behavior.  They are given a formal warning that if they return to the property that we will consider it criminal trespass and that they will be arrested.  Once again, we view this seriously and we do arrest individuals who try to test our warnings and exclusion process.

There are also other times when a casino may want to end a relationship with a customer.  Ending a relationship sounds so much better than “firing” a customer but basically they are the same.  So, when does a casino want or need to fire a customer?  The answer is only after every method has been used to try to salvage the customer and the problem still exists.  Most of these problems are related to cheating or questionable behavior but some of them are also related to profitability.  Cheating is not always clear cut and conclusive.  Sometimes the player may make mistakes.  In those situations it is up to the Pit Boss to speak to the customer and explain what is considered to be appropriate and correct.  In other words, issue a warning.  We document all such warnings in our computer in the Comments Section of our Rating System.  This way we can track the patron to see if there is a pattern to their behavior. Read More…

Marci in Accounting is a Casino Marketing Machine

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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

Pew research recently released a substantial report related to the connected nature of our digital world. Its focus was the impact that social media and digital connections have on the relationships held with our friends and family.  Most telling in their report was how the average person has 634 connections.   This article is about the need casinos have to reach out to these 634 potential customers who are friends and families of those who work at the casino.

Thinking back 20 years ago, we substantially engaged our friends & families through the mailbox, over the fence, across the picnic table, and in our workplace.  Events brought us together to discuss relevant conversational topics within our lives.  We had back yard cookouts, reunions, holiday parties or the chance meeting of two friends walking their dogs.  Today however, we have new on-line options that both complement and supplant these events from 20 years ago.  Facebook is arguably the largest, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, YouTube videos, etc.  Within each of these social platforms is a whole new ecosystem of communication that profoundly changes how we as a culture communicate and connect with our friends and families.  The question now surfaces, can casinos tap into these connections, and if they can, how best does a casino optimize their brand?

As we consider the advertising efforts of our casinos, we see much interest in getting our promotions and event notices into the eyes and ears of these potential customers, many of whom are online.  Banner Ad Campaigns, Social Presence, On-line Re-targeting, Facebook Fan Acquisition, Microsites, Rich Media Content, YouTube Channel, Blogger Advocates are but a few of the buzz words the Digital & Interactive marketing professionals use to get marketing dollars moved towards the digital genre.  Each of these digital channels are important in the larger, holistic advertising strategies necessary to get our communities to spend at our casinos instead of buying a new sofa, or the “two for one special at Red Lobster” prior to going to the movies. Read More…

Understanding Asian Casino Marketing

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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

Asian Casino Marketing is not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it is a fairly complicated process and if not performed properly it can actually be perceived as offensive to the intended recipients. Steve Karoul explains some of the basic principles of Asian casino marketing. One form of casino marketing in Asia consists of Junkets and VIP Room operations while another form of Asian casino marketing is much more generic and more appropriate for casinos located around the world.

There is an old expression in Asia that when translated goes something like this, “Asia is not Asia”.  When you think about it you begin to better understand its subtle message; one size does not fit all and Asia is neither one country nor one culture.  Asia is a vast melting pot of numerous different countries, languages and cultures.  Some of them have marked differences based upon thousands of years of history and cultural evolution.  Asians are extremely nationalistic and proud of their own cultures and customs.  Therefore, it is extremely offensive to generalize all Asians as one in the same.  They are not.  Successful casino marketers around the world will need to understand this up front and then make every effort to research their target market segments before jumping into any new Asian marketing campaign.

Chinese is normally the largest Asian culture in the United States, Europe and elsewhere but this may vary when segmented by geographic locations as well as from city to city even with the same country.  In some instances, Vietnamese or another Asian culture may dominate on a local basis close to a particular casino.  Never-the-less, many uninformed casino marketing managers still insist upon copying and implementing marketing strategies specifically developed to target and to satisfy Chinese gamblers.  However, this approach may backfire on you and actually be offensive if your Asian players are not Chinese.  The cultural mix of Asian players residing near your casino may vary dramatically. Do your homework first to determine if you want to attract Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Malaysian, Indonesian or other Asian players. Read More…

Angry Upset Players: What do you do?

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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

How do you diffuse conflict when a player becomes upset or angry?  It sounds like a simple question but the answer can often be quite complicated.  It also does not matter whether the player is a table game player or a slot customer.  Conflict is conflict.  My office was located on the casino floor at Foxwoods Casino which is the largest casino in North America and had approximately 380 table games, 6,700 slot machines, 1,500 hotel rooms and 11,000 employees at the time that  I worked there.  We averaged 30,000 to 70,000 customers per day coming through our doors.

Therefore, I had a lot of “opportunity” to deal with angry upset customers.  I say “opportunity” because this allows us a chance to save or salvage an upset player that may go away angry and go to your competition on his or her next trip. Often times this is a “face to face” experience but sometimes it is over the telephone.   Never-the-less, an angry upset player is usually going to be confrontational and come at you with an “us versus them” attitude.  Therefore if you recognize this upfront and are prepared for it you still have a chance of salvaging the customer.

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