Gaming Seminars and Courses
One of the key questions facing the global gaming industry pertains to the challenges presented by those who gamble problematically. This session will provide a summary of international “best practices” (and worst practices) in this area, and articulate a specific and customized plan for attendees.
This session discusses overall surveillance department operations and the core skills necessary for both the individual investigator and the department to succeed in the protection of the business. Key surveillance skills and a thorough knowledge of casino and hotel operations are emphasized. Methods to protect operations and to detect cheating in gaming, advantage play, and internal and external theft and fraud are provided.
Scholars from Aristotle to Freud have been interested in understanding why people gamble. After more than a century of social science research on casino gambling, Reith points out that the meanings of gambling are still incredibly idiosyncratic. Gambling “...is multi-faceted: an exciting leisure activity, a mundane form of consumption, a means of socializing with others, an opportunity to display skill, a hobby which offers the possibility of winning money. The heterogeneity of games is matched by the heterogeneity of players and motives” (Reith 1999, 126). The research into gambler motivation will be reviewed and some new depth research into the psyche of different types of gamblers (slots, table, online) will be presented.
This session dwells on estimating the effects of restaurants on gaming volumes (using the assumption that diners translate to gamers) and will be especially useful to those operating restaurants at a loss. Given the magnitude of annual food department losses, the analytical process advanced here is worthy of careful consideration. This study not only examines some interesting factual performance data, it also presents some interesting research questions for the future.
The casino industry is unique in that much of the transactional data produced by customers are not captured. Simple tables are easy to use and understand, but they hide tremendous amounts of important information. As a result, more sophisticated forms of analysis and estimation are required to make business decisions. In this session, we discuss the basics of advanced analytical techniques and identify their applicable uses to show that advanced forms of analysis can provide a sustainable competitive advantage. The analysis challenges facing the gaming industry will also be examined, including the necessary elements of cause and effect. The session will help gaming executives better understand the limitations and relative power of various forms of analysis. Optional: A review of failed promotions in the gaming industry.
This case study examines a wide range of issues that led to the quick demise of a Las Vegas Strip property. We begin with a review of capitalization, marketing and product service problems, and from there, look at hotel capacity, room product concerns and the entertainment product. Basic property design issues are also covered, as are problems with the operating systems and organizational culture. The session closes with a review of the lessons learned and suggestions for future openings.
(Note: Other topics include discounting actual losses, estimating gaming value by hotel segment, and estimating the indirect gaming contributions of poker rooms and race and sports book operations.)
Modern microprocessor gaming devices, casino management software and hardware systems, components and player tracking systems are an integral part of the gaming industry. This session will cover topic areas including manufacturing, market, maintenance of gaming machines, bill acceptors (validators), video monitors, audio-video display systems and security hardware/software. Also, manufacturing and licensing standards will be compared for gaming jurisdictions. In addition, future technology such as server-based and downloadable gaming, handheld devices and their applications and table games technology being brought into gaming devices will be covered. By the end of the session participants will be able to understand gaming technology and the approval process and how it is used in the gaming industry.
Are leaders born or made? In this session, the principles of leadership and the characteristics for leadership success will be described and discussed. The sense of global leadership will be characterized by discussion of emerging markets, new ventures, and the effect of global telecommunications and concepts described in the book “The World is Flat.” Attendees will discover how to distinguish between characteristics of leaders and those of managers, and understand the vital need for both. Case studies, short video segments, and small group discussions will give participants multiple sources for evaluation and learning. Finally, attendees will be given tools to help them assess their personal leadership styles and determine the type of development activities they should consider to further advance their leadership skills and ability.
State-of-the-art casino operations management methods are examined in this session, with emphasis on the interpersonal dynamics that flow from the Casino Manager through the entire casino department’s organizational structure. Discussions, assignments, research and problem-based learning applications will be used to give a clear and solid understanding of these dynamics.
As with other aspects of casino management, the interpersonal dynamics that flow from the Director of Slot Operations through the entire slot department’s organizational structure are very important. Discussions, assignments, research, and problem-based learning will give participants a strong understanding of how these dynamics relate to effective state-of-the-art slot operations, management methods, and equipment selection.
Upon completion of this session, participants should gain sufficient knowledge to segment a casino database for marketing purposes. The session provides a review of the demographic and behavioral data elements typically captured in casino transaction systems, discussion of the challenges faced by marketers regarding both reliability and barriers to access of transactional data for marketing purposes. It also covers a brief overview of data warehousing technology, third party data appending services such as National Change of Address (NCOA), Targus Information and the US Census Bureau. In addition to an overview of the traditional Recency, Frequency, Monetary and Location (RFML) database marketing segmentation model, a discussion of player reinvestment strategies derived from segmentation models, and a brief review of various types of direct marketing collateral typically offered by casinos will be discussed.
Participants will apply knowledge gained in Marketing Theory to a case study on monthly newsletter offers provided by a local market casino. Participants will work with the instructor to discuss and develop strategies that seek to accomplish a casino’s goal. The case study will conclude with an in-depth review of the actual session of action taken by the casino, including development of a pro-forma statement and analysis of results.
Building on knowledge gained in Marketing Theory, participants will analyze a case involving a casino’s desire to increase play from their database during a forecasted low demand period. Participants will work with the instructor to discuss and develop strategies that seek to accomplish a casino’s goal. The case study will conclude with an in-depth review of the actual session of action taken by the casino, including development of a pro-forma statement and analysis of results.
Casinos are data rich environments, given the depth of transactional information collected in the various operating systems. However, transactional system architecture is typically not conducive for in-depth operations analysis. Data warehousing technology has enabled casinos to make better use of their transactional data for both performance analysis and marketing operations. Components of IGT’s Mariposa CRM software suite will be reviewed, along with a discussion of how casinos employ this technology to better analyze and operate data warehousing, online analytical processing, campaign management systems, and data mining.
Virtually every type of hospitality service has what they call a “loyalty program,” but whether these programs really develop customer loyalty is in question. A majority of customers use loyalty programs to discount price rather than to create an emotional connection to the company. This session will cover some in-depth research on loyalty and casino loyalty programs. The implications for other hospitality loyalty programs will be discussed.
A major strategic issue is how much to customize versus standardize a marketing strategy in another culture. Cross-cultural consumer research provides the core insight to avoid costly cultural blunders while searching for the most cost-effective approach. The Disney Company will be used as an illustration. Some cross-cultural gambling research will also be discussed.
Lottery-based promotion is very expensive and yet equally popular in casinos with frequently repeating clientele. No one, however, has ever empirically analyzed the effectiveness of these promotions. Since management cannot adequately capture the necessary data directly, such effects must be estimated via statistical modeling. This session includes results from multiple promotions and properties.
Cash mail and free play offers represent the majority of reinvestment in slot players. This session reviews the results of studies across several markets, which were conducted to estimate the incremental gaming effect produced by such offers. This session will also help participants to measure the effectiveness of their
With the advent of actual loss discounts, dead chip programs should be attractive to gaming operators. This in-depth look into the mechanics of dead chip offers examines how dead chip programs work, how gaming tax rates affect their structure, how to compute the costs associated with such procedures, and how properties could save millions of dollars. The structure of failed programs, as well as that of successful ones, is also reviewed. Since all premium players in Asia are on dead chip (or rolling) programs, a look at cash chip programs and the structure of Macau’s 40/40/20 rooms is also included.
This session reviews the actual slot marketing efforts of a successful, repeater-market casino operator. It begins with a look at the casino’s marketing framework, followed by a point-by-point description of their marketing tactics, including customer acquisition, retention and reactivation efforts. This session will prove especially interesting for those who are curious about the marketing practices of successful Nevada casinos.
This session begins by covering the evolution of slot clubs, enrollment data issues, and membership benefit vehicles. From there, we discuss and compare both theoretical-win based awards and coin-in-based awards. Also discussed are benefit accumulation rates (including examples from existing clubs), overall investment in members, point redemption protocol, training issues, card use, and player tracking limitations. One-card systems and tiered slot clubs are also reviewed.
Understanding the mechanics of these popular offers can save casino marketers substantial sums of money. This session covers the computation of both single and multiple decision match play offer costs and break-even points, along with the effect of gaming taxes on costs and some important redemption recommendations. Also included is a review of empirical research that examines the ability of actual match play coupons to accomplish the stated performance goals. Finally, we look at the mechanics of voucher programs and promotional chips, citing a critique of an actual voucher program.
This review of premium and general marketing tactics examines a multitude of means and strategies used to pursue slot and premium players, which kinds of promotions apply to particular target markets, and their effectiveness in reaching their goals. Topics include the analyses of the results of special events, vacation and shopping events, timing of promotions, and the use of game rules and betting limits. A review of an actual special event analysis is included, along with a discussion of issues related to pro-forma event analysis.
Hotel casinos face many unique and challenging conditions with regard to the marketing plan process. This informative session offers a helpful start in understanding this difficult but critical endeavor. We examine the need for an effective marketing plan, the components of a successful plan, and why measurement science is so vital to a hotel casino’s marketing strategy. This session follows a nine-step outline designed to cover the essential areas of a well-prepared and effective marketing plan.
Casino Accounting and Finance
This session offers a rare inside look into the income statements of Las Vegas Strip and Las Vegas repeater market hotel casinos. It enables participants to see the results based on the actual financial performance of these properties using data submitted to Nevada gaming regulators. Both consolidated and departmental income statements are reviewed, as are the gaming industry’s most commonly reviewed record, the daily manager’s report, to reveal interesting sources and uses of cash flow. Finally, a review of the historical revenue and profit contributions discloses some shocking results related to the gaming mix. Things are not always as they seem.
Using finance utility theory, this session explains why people gamble and how to analyze people’s gaming propensities. Attendees will learn how to classify players into risk-taker, risk-neutral player, and risk-averter categories based on their risk attitudes. Various gaming motivation strategies will be discussed and effectiveness of different casino promotion methods will be evaluated. In addition, attendees will learn the player rating system according to theoretical win contributions.
This session presents the relationship between revenue volume, costs, and casino profits. In this session, attendees will learn how to identify fixed and variable costs, how to decompose mixed costs into the two types of costs, and how cost structure can affect casino profits. Strategies for strengthening operation profits will be presented. As a result of this session, attendees will be able to analyze the effect of casino marketing, comps, and rebates on profits and determine the efficiency of those activities.
Lower holds encourage game play and increase the gaming volume. Lower holds, however, may not necessarily increase gaming revenues. This session presents the relationship between hold, volume and win. Attendees will learn how to identify the optimal hold that may help maximize the win.
Financial ratios are important tools for casino managers to monitor the financial performance and financial health of a casino business. Attendees will learn how to use financial ratios to evaluate liquidity, solvency, operating efficiency and profitability of casinos. Financial ratios of Las Vegas-based properties will be compared with industry benchmarks to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Slot Operations and Management
Get the latest information on how casinos are using player cards, how points are awarded and how they may be redeemed, how technology is being used to improve service and decrease costs, the great cash back debate, communication of slot club rules and benefits, trends in third party comp benefits, promotion ideas and other marketing trends.
Many repeater market casino operators offer bingo games at a loss or marginal profit level under the assumption that bingo drives slot play, but are you sure bingo is the best use of your scarce casino floor space? This research session examines this theory in a pragmatic and revealing way, with some surprising results.
This session is a must for casino executives wishing to make better decisions with regard to future game purchases, machine move decisions, and slot floor design. Attendees will understand what is critical to a game’s success on the slot floor, and why one slot machine outperforms another. With the goal of offering a customized and objective performance benchmark for each game on the floor, a variety of game locations and specific game characteristics are examined in order to deduce their effects on how much coin-in per day each game should produce.
This session looks at the results of three studies that dispel some existing management paradigms. The pay tables or math of the games can greatly influence the player’s experience and ultimately his or her satisfaction. In this session, the relationship between par and play time (a.k.a. time on device) will be explored. Also, the relationship between play time and the following variables will also be explored: hit frequency, pay table volatility, and the coefficient of variation of the pay table. The latter variable is simply a measure that jointly considers a game’s par and volatility. The results of this research are controversial and insightful. Casino executives are afforded key information regarding the positioning of their slot product.
How do slot machines produce a profit, or, for that matter, how do all casino games produce a profit? This insightful session will answer these questions and more. It will also review an actual par sheet and cover the idea of managing time on device and the machine-move decision-making process. This lecture is a must for casino marketers and managers, as the profit production process of games affects many operating and marketing decisions.
The intricacies of progressive games and the management and accounting issues that surround them are examined in this informative session. Participants will learn about the different types and configurations of progressive games, how progressive meters grow, alternative uses for long-standing progressive jackpots, how progressive jackpots affect the house advantage, how hidden meters work, Mystery and Jumbo Jackpot mechanics, and issues unique to video reels. The session concludes with a discussion regarding the ability of progressive games to increase win, including results from actual studies.
This session will begin with an introduction to the mathematics of casino games, and examine the definitions of Expected Value (EV) and House Advantage and Variance (HAV) of a game. A few examples of Session III slot game analysis will also be presented. Following a brief discussion of the session of a game, the mathematics involved in developing Session II and Session III slot games will be outlined.
Learn how to develop a successful slot floor layout, slot product mix and product portfolio. This segment will also cover denomination issues, multi-games, ticketing, managing participation products, game mix percentaging, slot merchandizing and promotions, signage and progressives, bonusing and time-based tournaments, and customer retention through value-added events.
Analyzing the performance of games is critical to maximizing the results of the slot department. This segment will cover the knowledge cycle (data to intelligence), data collection sources, key ratios and formulae, developing key performance indicators, managing by metrics, software tools for management, Monte Carlo simulations for decision-making, decision tree analysis and queuing analysis.
In most modern casinos there are several dozen types of video poker --- like Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild, Jokers Wild, Super Aces Bonus, etc. They come as single line games, Triple Play up through Hundred Play, and with and without progressives. This segment will explain the differences between these games in an easy-to-understand manner. It won’t turn you into a competent player, but it will turn you into a casino manager who understands the differences between these games.
It’s a trick question – some casinos should have none! There is no universal answer to this question, but in this session we will help you decide how to think about the right answer for you. Whether you are thinking about having “stealth” tiers, or three or more public tiers, we will discuss the importance of building your tiered card around your player database, population, marketing strategy, and facility structure. We’ll even talk about some of the best – and worst – conceived tier structures to help you copy the leaders – and avoid the mistakes of
Why do casinos send so much direct mail to slot customers? Why does it work so well? This session will explore the reasons why database marketing is uniquely suited toaddress the marketing needs of the gaming industry, explore best practices in designing and implementing a database program including targeting and segmentation approaches, developing successful offers, setting up a campaign, designing and producing a mail package, and tracking and interpreting results.
Gaming promotions offer every property, large and small, the chance to increase excitement and provide customers with a value-added experience for the gaming dollar. In this session, we will talk about how to design the optimal promotional strategy from start to finish – laying out a quarterly calendar, developing a wide variety of promotional concepts, and the importance of developing pro-forma statements to ensure incremental profitability. We’ll discuss the importance of flawless execution, and new technologies that can help ensure this. Then, we’ll debate the importance of post-analysis and learning, to help get the process going all over again.
This session will cover what makes people perform and apply these concepts to a practical process that will help you develop outstanding customer service. Some of the topics covered are developing behavioral customer service standards for your department, developing a process for measuring compliance with the standards, giving effective feedback, and developing a recognition program.
Learn why, when, and how to perform a competitive analysis of your competitors’ player reward systems.
The session will focus on the current trends in the protection of slot play with a look at recent scams and investigations, and a discussion of the resources necessary to properly manage the Ticket In-Ticket Out (TITO) experience. How have the security and surveillance functions changed (or have they?) with the migration from the traditional machines to TITO? Determining what the threats really are and the way you choose to deal with them today will impact the future. We will explore some of available counter measures to ethically address scams, employee theft and cheating, and provide an overview of successful loss prevention and protection techniques from an enterprise-wide management perspective.
This will be a round table discussion and interactive session that will help operational leaders understand and create their vision of what elements are important in the slot and table floor of the future. Discussion topics will range from networked (server-based) gaming to the newest ideas in marketing, customer reinvestment, and loyalty programs on the gaming floor.
This session covers methods operators can use to evaluate trial games and to set standards for purchase. We will discuss how to structure trial parameters to ensure clinically relevant results. Also, we will look beyond the base game price negotiation to gain additional products and services.
Our industry is at the beginning of an evolutionary process that will require real time analytics and the ability to predict opportunities that will not be realized unless strategic processes are developed and in place to execute when these opportunities present themselves. In this session, we will look at the past, present and the future of Slot Analytics and how technology will dictate a new way of managing the day to day responsibilities of a slot floor.
It used to be that marketing in this business just required a key: unlock the doors, watch the money come rolling in. But with the number of casinos up throughout the world and the U.S. in the midst of recession, times are tough for casino marketers. In this session, we will talk about how smart operators are responding to shrinking wallets and increased competition and discuss new tools and technologies – Free Play (it isn’t free!), electronic promotions, automatic table tracking, and server-based gaming, how they are changing and will change, and how we think about, and do, casino marketing.
Table Games Operations and Management
For those unfamiliar with table games, this session provides basic information on blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat, how these games are played and dealt, how bets are won and lost, and the computation of the resulting house advantages. Relayed management and procedural issues are also covered.
This session examines the primary uses of hold, what the hold percentage actually tells you, what kind of decisions you can make from looking at the hold percentage, the relationship between theoretical win and hold percentage, and what hitless win is and how it is important. Also discussed are the variables that can affect the computation of hold and a synopsis of the relationship between four of those variables: hold percentage, table occupancy, table profit, and table labor margin.
Race and Sports Book Operations
The Race and Sports Book is a place where a gambler can wager on various sports competitions, including golf, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, horse racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts. The method of betting varies with the sport and the type of game. The more prominent the event, the more wagering options that are made available.
This session will begin discussing the history of Race and Sports Book development and the legal jurisdictions involved in the evolution of the product offered. It will address the fundamental operations of the Sports Book, including sports betting, money lines, and point spreads both from the operators and the customer’s perspective. Finally, it will identify the dynamics of the Race Operations that include betting at the track, types of races, types of bets, racing terms, regulatory requirements, and the overall race book operations.