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Summit to focus on (gasp!) players

Jun 10, 2008 7:05 PM

By David Stratton | As demonstrated at the recent Gaming Technology Summit, advancements in casino technology have given operators an array of tools to reach customers, maximize revenues and diversify their casino offerings.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle are the players themselves, their needs and how to best cultivate their on-going patronage.

Those needs will be identified and addressed in next month’s second annual Player Development Summit, the opening act of the Casino Marketing Conference, scheduled for July 22 at Paris Las Vegas.

Specifically, the Player Development Summit will focus on five player groups – Asians, Hispanics, Generations X & Y, seniors and tourists – and how casino operators can meet the challenges of dealing with a diverse range of players.

"In today’s environment, with casinos competing with each other as never before, it becomes critical to really understand your players and potential players," said Dennis Conrad, president and chief strategist for Raving Consulting Company, co-producer of the conference together with BNP Media. "It’s also important to realize that certain groups represent tremendous opportunities for the gaming industry, but they need to be marketed appropriately. Player Development Summit will help put these issues into focus more clearly."

The Summit’s keynote speaker is Richard Schuetz, a candid and sometimes controversial consultant and former vice president of marketing for Lyle Berman’s Grand Casinos.

In his presentation entitled, "Sleeping Well at Night in a Sometimes Ruthless Business," Schuetz will share his thoughts on the evolution of player development (from Cro-Magnon to corporate), where it is headed (for better or worse) and how the marketer can survive it all (alcohol, needlepoint and/or shock therapy).

At the conclusion of the Summit, the Casino Marketing Conference and trade show will get under way. Keynote speakers include Dr. Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at UNLV; and Don McMillan, a humorist whose unique background allows him to take a light-hearted look at computers, technology and the high-tech culture.

The conference will also feature two annual award ceremonies: the Romero Awards, which recognizes excellence in casino marketing; and the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year, the latter award will be bestowed upon Ginny Shanks, former senior vice president of brand management for Harrah’s Entertainment.

Conference details and registration info are available online at