Steve Karoul

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

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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

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…

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…

One Million Miles of Thanks to American Airlines

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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]t 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

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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…

Understanding or Confusion with Online Poker and 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

Casino operators rush to online poker, but confusion is everywhere.  After attending the 2012 G2E Conference in Las Vegas and speaking with many casino operators and casino executives about the future of online Poker and online Gaming, it was very obvious that many were thinking very seriously about how to get involved. It was also very obvious that most of them were confused and unsure as how to proceed. Many felt that if they did not get involved quickly in some capacity or other that they may miss out on perhaps one of the most important Internet business opportunities of a lifetime as well as the future growth and survival of their own casino companies. They were all acutely aware that the casino industry as well as their own operations were going to change in the future and that they needed to prepare now for that coming change or get left out in the cold.

Once again the most obvious characteristic from all of this was confusion. There was confusion from both the casino operators and also confusion from the online casino providers. It seemed that many of the new online providers did not take the time to understand the fact that they needed to be conscious of and aware of what the land-based casino operators and casino properties were really looking for.  This was even more obvious by the fact that many casino operators did not actually know themselves other than that they knew that they needed to be considering online gaming in one form or another.

Why is there such urgency among casino operators to carve out market share in either the online social gaming or online gambling spaces? According to a recent H2 Gambling Capital report, if US legalization of Internet gambling were to pass, it is projected to generate more than $14 billion in gross gaming revenue within a year, rising to $27 billion within five years.  That’s a real motivator for any casino operator to want to get involved in online real-money gambling, even if their state, or states in which they have properties, has not yet passed or isn’t even presently considering online gambling legislation. 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…

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