Casino Profitability

Private Label your own “Casino” Energy Drink???

Casino innovation is rare these days in the casino industry.  Unfortunately our industry has been labeled as a copy cat industry since we tend to copy more than we create.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is legal and everyone benefits.  However, there is still plenty of room for creativity and innovation in casinos.  This month’s kudos for casino innovation goes to Gianfranco Scordato, CEO of Gran Casino Costa Brava in Spain.  Gian and his team at Gran Casino Costa Brava are the first casino management team that I am aware of in Europe to make an innovative decision to private label an energy drink for their casino.

It is an intriguing concept which required further investigation because they focused on their Poker Players.  It is quite interesting when one considers that the beverage industry in the United States alone is now a U.S. $60 billion per year industry.  Energy drinks are the fastest growing segment of this market.  Ten years ago energy drink sales in the United States were only $12 million for the year.  Last year, energy drink sales topped $12.5 billion and are increasing rapidly.  That represents phenomenal growth for any industry and a good opportunity for casinos around the world.  According to the “Energy Drinks and Shots: Market Trends in the U.S.”, sales of energy drinks and shots will grow to a value of $21.5 billion by 2017.

So, why a private label an energy drink in a casino?  According to Gianfranco their casino currently gives away or sells a huge number of cans of energy drink every month to either customers playing Poker or playing on the casino floor as well as in their various restaurants or lounges. His investigation revealed that the energy drinks were being consumed by younger casino customers and also by their Asian casino customers.  Both of these market segments are very high on their list of priority markets in their strategic marketing plan.  They want to increase the percentage of younger players and have started to vary their entertainment as well in an effort to be more appealing to them.  Gianfranco also commented:

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By |January 7th, 2015|Asian Gaming, Asian Marketing, Casino Energy Drinks, Casino Marketing, Casino Profitability, Casino Promotions, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Private Label your own “Casino” Energy Drink???

The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

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. […]

By |October 20th, 2013|Casino Budgets, Casino Consulting, Casino Formula for Success, Casino Management, Casino Mystery Shopping, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

Understanding the Basics about Casino Management Systems (CMS)

During my many years of consulting, I have witnessed a continued evolution and growth in the Casino Management Software needs of various casinos around the world.  It is an area that is often overlooked in the development stages of a new casino or during a pending software update.  However, this area should not be taken lightly.  There are actually many different options available but most suppliers only recommend a few of the larger systems to most casinos.  Sometimes this can be overkill as well as extremely expensive for some casinos who may be perfectly satisfied with a less expensive casino management system.

A Casino Management System (CMS) serves as a focal point for the day to day processing and recording of operational transactions throughout the facility.   Realistically, there is no one single vendor who offers all of the software that a major casino resort needs to operate and manage their facility.  Consequently there has always been a need for a central management system that is capable of interacting and collecting meaningful information from the many “best of breed” operational systems commonly found in today’s modern casino facilities.  Some of the basic applications that should integrate with your Casino Management Software include Slot Monitoring / Accounting, Slot Ticketing, Cashless Gaming, eGames Platforms, RFID Table Monitoring, Live Point of Sale Systems for Keno, Bingo, Race and Sports Book, Promotional Kiosks, Hotel, Food and Beverage Point of Sale, Surveillance and Security, Responsible Gaming, On-line Internet Gaming, Third Party Check Cashing, General Ledger, and Data Warehousing just to mention a few..

Making sense of this entire complex subject can be very difficult and often overwhelming for many casino operators or casino developers.   I am often reminded by some of my software friends of just a few key items to remember when selecting a Casino Management System for your property: […]

By |October 20th, 2013|Casino Management, Casino Management Systems, Casino Profitability, CMS|Comments Off on Understanding the Basics about Casino Management Systems (CMS)

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

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. […]

By |October 14th, 2013|Casino Formula for Success, Casino Marketing, Casino Marketing Strategy, Casino Profitability, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Value – A Simple Word that all of your Players Understand Well – Do you?

The Casino Secret Formula for Success

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 […]

By |October 13th, 2013|Casino Formula for Success, Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability|Comments Off on The Casino Secret Formula for Success

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

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. […]

By |October 10th, 2013|Asian Casino Marketing, Asian Marketing, Casino Profitability, High-roller, Junket Reps, Marketing|Comments Off on Asian Casino Marketing: I’m not Chinese, I am Vietnamese

When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

 

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.    […]

By |March 29th, 2013|Casino Junkets, Casino Marketing, Casino Profitability, High-roller, Marketing, Table Games, VIP Player|Comments Off on When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

 

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.  […]

By |February 24th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous, Problem Gaming|Comments Off on Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

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? […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues

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. […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Marketing|Comments Off on Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues