Casinos find winners with Win Cards

Nov 13, 2007 5:28 AM

In recent years, the popularity of poker and table games has stimulated play in casinos throughout the country.

Helping to fuel that popularity are Win Cards, handy pocket-sized cards that assist players in casinos staples — blackjack, craps and roulette.

Reflecting their popularity, since their introduction in 2000, Las Vegas casinos, Excalibur and Circus Circus have now sold over 200,000 sets of customized Win Cards to their customers.

The success of this casino marketing program at these and other casinos has prompted the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and the Luxor in Las Vegas to implement the Win Card promotion, which is designed to attract and develop new players for the casino’s live table games of blackjack, craps and roulette.

Win Cards are handy, plastic cards with a dial that works to assist casino operators in making their live games more accessible to novices.

In 2007, the Win Cards program has been upgraded. Until now, most casinos have sold the Win Cards for $10 and provided a $15 refund to those who opted for the offer.

Now, the three card sets are sold to the casino’s Player’s Club members for $20. Those who choose to buy the Win Cards receive $30 in special, free-play, non-negotiable chips and one "Dealer’s Tip Coupon."

"Just because someone visits our casino does not necessarily mean that they know how to or that they want to play our live table games," said Bart Pestrichello, General Manager of the Hard Rock — Las Vegas. "Marketing is a full-time job and the Win Cards program helps us reach out and turn our casino’s visitors into players. We have had nothing but positive feedback from our new program."

With the marketing focus in Las Vegas shifted to the retail, food and shopping experiences, many new visitors are unfamiliar with the nuances of gambling. The live games of blackjack, craps and roulette are naturally intimidating for beginners.

The Win Cards program has, for the past 21 years, provided casino operators with a viable, universally recognized and cost-effective method with which casinos can introduce those who are not pre-disposed to gamble to give the games a try.

"Win Cards are the ultimate ice-breaker," said Dennis Weipert, Director of Gaming at the Red Lion Hotel and Casino, in Elko, Nevada. "We get a steady flow of customers who want to learn how to play our games. The Win Cards Program provides us with a quick and easy way to develop new table games players. And it can be implemented on a cost-free basis. The Win Cards are provided on consignment — we only pay for the Win Cards that are actually sold, and we do so out of the incremental revenue that this promotion garners."

Tracking of the play by those who bought Win Cards has provided casinos with "proof" of the effectiveness of the Win Cards Program. At Circus Circus - Las Vegas, in-house tracking has determined that their customers lose an additional $51 following their purchase of the Win Cards. With sales of approximately 85 sets per day, the program is responsible for a minimum of over $1.5 million in trackable incremental revenues, per year.

The numbers are even more impressive at the Excalibur where the average loss by a customer who bought the Win Cards was estimated to be $88 by internal casino tracking. With numbers like these, it is easy to see why many other major casinos are "getting on the Win Cards bandwagon."

In the upcoming year, customized Win Cards are being designed and marketed at the Hard Rock, Luxor, and Circus Circus in Las Vegas, and the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. In addition, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines are about to implement a trial of the Win Cards on their ships, featuring the $30 for $20 offer.

The Win Cards will be on exhibit, once again, at the Global Gaming Expo ’07, in Las Vegas, at booth number 2829.