casino marketing

Casino Marketing for Dummies

Bio Pic

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 Casino Secret Formula for Success

Bio Pic

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…

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

Bio Pic

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…

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

Bio Pic

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…

When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

 

Bio Pic

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

 

Bio Pic

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…

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

Bio Pic

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

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? Read More…

One Million Miles of Thanks to American Airlines

Bio Pic

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

As a frequent flier who has conducted business in well over 100 different countries around the world I have had the pleasure and sometimes displeasure to fly on so many different airlines that I cannot even remember them all.  I have flown the Concorde, First Class, Business Class, Economy, Helicopters and even in the cockpit with the crew in an extra jump seat.  (No it wasn’t an American carrier.)  I do want to take a moment to thank American Airlines and to also wish them good luck and much success with their new merger with US Airways which is another great airline.  American Airlines has always been there when I needed them.  They offer great service which is not easy today as well as some really great staff within so many different departments. Keep up the great job.  I am looking forward to the new merger as well as the availability now of 336 destinations in 56 different countries. Read More…

When, Why and How to “Fire” a Customer

Bio Pic

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,