Value – A Simple Word that all of your Players Understand Well – Do you?

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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

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. Read More…

The Casino Secret Formula for Success

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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 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 Read More…

Coupons, Groupons and Daily Deals for Casinos – Which one works best?

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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

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. Read More…

Asian Casino Marketing: I’m not Chinese, I am Vietnamese

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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. 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 will understand this up front and make every effort to research their target markets before jumping into any new Asian marketing campaign.

Chinese is normally the largest Asian culture in the United States but this may vary when segmented by geographic locations or from city to city.  In some instances, Vietnamese or another Asian culture may dominate on a local basis close a particular casino.  Never-the-less, many uninformed casino marketing managers still insist upon copying and implementing marketing strategies specifically developed to target and 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, or other Asian players. Read More…

ONLINE POKER OR ONLINE CASINO SOFTWARE

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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

 “When it comes to online poker or online casino gaming software – look to the future, not to the past”

By Steve Karoul

The Past:

This next comment is going to age me a bit, but I remember when the first Atari pong game was all the rage.  This in my opinion was the beginning of the video gaming phenomenon as we know it today.  A simple game box hooked to your TV created the first in-home video game, which now meant that we no longer had to go to our local bowling alley or video arcades store to play.

We’ve come a long way in such a short period of time (40 years).  Since the invention of the TV around 1927 we have seen an explosion of new technology, which allowed us to leave the mechanical age and entered the age of technology.  During the next 20 years, thousands of video and action games have been created, which meant we could play from home, work and when we wanted to play.  Less than 20 years later, the Gameboy mobile game left the TV behind and you could travel anywhere with your hand held video gaming device. Read More…

How to Become a Junket Rep and Earn Big Money

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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

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:

Dear Steve,
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. Read More…

Great Casino Websites are just like Sexy Blue Eyes – They Get Noticed

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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

Most casino websites today are really not effective at all. They lack the blue eyes per se and therefore they just don’t get noticed. In addition, they are oftentimes confusing and complicated.  Casinos just like most other businesses today spend a lot of money on their websites as well as search engine optimization and social media.  However, the big questions are:  1) are they effective and 2) are they cost effective?  Research shows that most businesses have a fraction of a second to a few brief seconds to visually make a good first impression.  That first impression will make all the difference in the world as to whether the consumer will actually take additional time to explore your website.  That is the reason why I ask if your website is cost effective or not.  Is it doing the job that you intended it to?  From what I have seen, most casino websites are neither effective nor cost effective.  What does that mean?  Simply stated, it means that it is time for a change or time for a fresh image on the Internet.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry today claims to be an experienced website developer.  The same goes for most advertising agencies.  They all claim to be great website developers. That may well be but how many of them really understand casinos? Read More…

Lunar Poker Appears to be a Home Run for Casinos

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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

Casino operators are constantly bombarded with many new ideas for both new Table Game and new Slot Game ideas.  However, most of these new games never materialize or develop into games that have both customer appeal and the ability to make money for the casino operator.  Occasionally a new game will succeed and rise to the top.  The trick is for the casino operator to recognize new opportunity early on to better maximize their ability to earn from the game.  One such new game is called Lunar Poker.  It has already proven its success in other parts of the world and is about to be introduced into the North American market. Lunar Poker has been carefully developed to appeal to a poker player’s every desire and it also has a proven, verifiable track record of holding at least 32% of the cash drop.  Quite impressive to say the least.

Lunar Poker should not be viewed in the same light as many other Poker variants in the market today.  Lunar Poker should also not be viewed as a “Carnival Game”.  It is not.  Lunar Poker is in a class of its own and has already started to go live at many different casinos around the world and growing very rapidly in popularity with players.

Casinos and card players worldwide have been continually looking for a new Poker variant where actual skill and decision making are involved with the game. Additionally, we know that successful games need to cater to everyone from the novice to the most experienced player in order for the casino operator to make money.   Lunar Poker delivers all of the above and more.

Lunar Poker is both fun and exciting. Lunar Poker is a game that will capture the attention of all types of players due to the facts that the player feels in control, actual Poker decisions are made, the game is highly interactive, very exciting and has a strong social aspect. Lunar Poker is the only true game of draw poker against the dealer available in the market today which will also help to guarantee its success.

Read More…

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…

Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

 

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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 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.  Read More…

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