Casinos Work to Attract Players

I had a business lunch this past week with my friend, Phil Robertson (, who is an incredible marketing consultant. I always learn SO MUCH at a business lunch – especially when I’m talking to an expert in their field!

Phil and I were talking about a recent casino promotion. As a marketing expert, Phil could easily see why this particular promotion was a failure. As a former advertising sales executive I, too, could see the obvious flaw. Had I sold this casino their advertising to promote this event, I would have been mortified – as I’m sure the “Monday Morning Reconciliation” would have indicted the promotion was a failure. So, what caused the failure of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN an incredible promotion? My guess is it all came down to one employee with bad judgment.

Phil joined a slot club at a casino near his home. If you’ve ever joined a slot club, you know that the casinos in Nevada offer gifts as incentives to get you into their casino in the hopes that you will play. If a gift costs them a dollar or two – or even twenty dollars, and the average player drops $10, $20, or $200 on their way to pick up their “Free” gift, then guess who the REAL winner is! The casino – of COURSE!

It wasn’t long before Phil discovered that this particular casino’s slot club offered some incredible, upscale gifts to their members. And, while those of us who live in Las Vegas are less enamored with casino-logo’d casual wear, t-shirts, six-pack coolers and such, our friends and family from across the country are  MUCH LESS jaded about such items. As it turns out, my friends and family, as well as Phil’s, absolutely ADORE watches that say “Boyd Gaming,” T-shirts from Stations Casinos, golf shirts from local courses, and baseball caps that feature casino logos.

Phil got a notice this past week that this slot club was giving away CROCK POTS on Friday night at 6PM. Smart – as they were looking to create some traffic and excitement in their casino on a Friday evening. He didn’t have a crock pot so he thought it would be worth it to swing by on Friday night to pick up his free gift.

Since Phil knows a lot about marketing, it was easy for him to see the situation (and what was wrong with it!) clearly. Rather than have the customers walk through the casino to claim their gifts – and hopefully gamble a bit while they were there – the casino had the big boxes of crock pots set up in a room right at the Valet entrance.

Phil said people were coming in, getting their crock pots, and promptly leaving – with their gifts. The valet is not even on the same floor as the casino! NO ONE WAS STOPPING TO GAMBLE! Why would they – when it would take extra effort to even visit the casino? Apparently, the casino employees in charge of this promotion were offering to hold your crock pot while you went to the casino; they could give you a claim check to assure you your crock pot would still be there when you were ready to leave…but none of the “players” were interested. This casino made it SO EASY for the players to pick up their gift and be home in time to watch Jeopardy! 🙂

They should have had the crock pot giveaway on the casino floor. People would then be more likely to gamble, thereby making the casino’s cost for the crock pots justified. The gambling wins would outweigh the expense of the promotion. So – where did this promotion break down?

My guess is that ONE executive at the resort probably balked at the thought of schlepping all those heavy crock pots down to the casino, and thought how easy it would be to hand them out from the valet location. The whole purpose of the giveaway was to drive traffic to the casino – and it failed miserably!

Look at your business closely and make sure that whatever you decide to do to promote it will be executed perfectly. Don’t waste your precious resources by allowing one bad decision to ruin your well-laid plans. Where was the management? Where was the marketing genius who thought up this promotion? Poor executive – he or she will have to defend the expense and might never know WHY the promotion failed to generate casino revenue.