Casino Profitability

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…

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…

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…

Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues

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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

Managing a casino resort today is much more complicated than in the past.  Before, the primary emphasis was always on game security and preventing internal theft. Today, the emphasis is more on maximizing bottom line profitability.  Many casino operators have had to review their operating philosophies in many different areas in order to achieve this new objective.  With the help of various technological improvements in surveillance equipment, casinos have been able to reduce man power and payroll for the area of game security.  This reduction in payroll has obviously helped improve bottom line profits.

Along these same lines, an often overlooked area for helping to tweak bottom line profitability is an area that I refer to as optimization of room occupancy levels as well as the occupants themselves.  Here at xxxxxx Casino we find that it is important for us to balance the ratio of comp to cash room revenue.  Many people will argue that is better to fill the hotel with all casino customers and comp all of their room nights.  However, the problem is that many of these customers play in the casino using casino credit.  That means that their markers may not come due for 45 to 90 days or longer depending upon the gaming jurisdiction and regulations.  In the meantime, the casino still has to pay out huge cash disbursements each week to cover payroll, taxes, utilities, vendors, etc.  I don’t think your employees or your vendors would want to accept a partial cash payment and a partial comp dollar certificate or I.O.U. note if the casino did not have sufficient cash flow that week to cover all obligations.  Therefore, managing cash to comp ratios is an important function today in any large casino hotel operation. Read More…

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