Casino marketing made easy

Jan 19, 2010 5:03 PM


Fresh ideas to lure back customers

You can own or operate the grandest, most expensive casino in the world, but flash doesn’t always translate to cash. You need to get people in, keep them in and keep them returning. There’s an art to attracting regular, content, loyal customers, no matter what part of this country or in other nations and often, management misses the target.

Sadly, sometimes casinos learn the hard way, after wasting millions haphazardly, and being forced to change either architectural design or their approach to beckoning the hesitant player.

Fortunately, there are enlightened, experienced management and published books to guide the novice as well as the old pro to intelligent decision-making.

Here are several titles to shed light on the "secrets" or formulas that have worked in the past and are worth exploring with refinements in the future:

Kathryn Hashimoto’s Casino Marketing: Theories and Applications (150 pages, paperbound, $61.80) published in 2009 is the freshest of all titles, with 11 chapters covering strategic planning; why people gamble; using player demographics; internal service quality (employee satisfaction, retention) and customer loyalty; revenue management including identifying profitable guests; sales promotions; public relations and advertising. Well-indexed and packed with helpful references, this book is good enough that it could be used to teach a university course on the subject. It’s a must-read for anyone planning a career in the gaming industry.

 Michael McNamee’s Understanding Casino Marketing (269 pages, plastic spiralbound, $39.95) was written and compiled by a casino veteran with two decades of experience, including stints at Caesars World, Park Place and Trump Hotels. A dozen chapters discuss branding; market research; creative elements of advertising; public relations, direct marketing, players clubs and promotions; player development. The author applies examples, asks questions and supplies answers and creates problem solving scenarios. Overall McNamee creates a thoughtful atmosphere to guide both newcomer and established veteran to new ideas to help a casino create or improve their image and bottom line.

Nick Gullo’s Casino Marketing (155 pages, hardbound, $25) was published in 2002 and focuses on marketing, hotel sales, junkets, special promotions, invited guests, bus programs, establishing a casino marketing department and slot marketing among other areas. There are some extremely helpful examples of reports, forms and record-keeping tables and charts, along with a formula to analyze players and comps.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler’s Book Shop. The store’s website is You can order there using your major credit or debit card or by phoning the store Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day. The store, opened in 1964, is located at 1550 E. Tropicana Suite #4, between Maryland Parkway and Spencer Avenue, just a couple of miles from the famous Strip.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Howard Schwartz