Miscellaneous

AML, FINCEN, Casinos, International Banks and Intrigue

What do AML, FINCEN, Casinos and Banks all have in common?  It is not intrigue but unfortunately the intrigue element comes into play because of Compliance.  Compliance is the new mantra of both casinos and banks today.  Unfortunately there have been abuses within both systems and both industries handle large amounts of cash.  Cash used to be “King” but not any longer.  Today cash generates concern.  That concern translates across many industries today besides just casinos and banks.

For example, FINCEN falls under the US Department of the Treasury.  This is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and they have both casinos and banks in their sights among other industries. This not only affects casinos in the United States but also affects western casinos conducting business in Asia or elsewhere around the world. FINCEN’s charter is as follows:

“FINCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities”

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By |January 18th, 2015|AML, Casino Junkets, FINCEN, Miscellaneous, Money Laundering, Problem Gaming, VIP Player|Comments Off on AML, FINCEN, Casinos, International Banks and Intrigue

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

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?

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

One Million Miles of Thanks to American Airlines

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. […]

By |February 14th, 2013|Miscellaneous, Uncategorised|Comments Off on One Million Miles of Thanks to American Airlines