Summit probes marketing and player development

Jul 8, 2008 7:01 PM

By GT Staff | Facing declining revenues, fewer tourists and a slumping economy, Nevada’s gaming industry now more than ever is turning to casino marketing and player development as means to stimulate business.

Helping to provide focus and direction on those opportunities is this month’s Player Development Summit and Casino Marketing Conference, scheduled for July 22-24 at Paris Las Vegas hotel & casino.

The second Player Development Summit is the opening act of the fifth annual Casino Marketing Conference, sponsored by BNP Media Gaming Group and Raving Consulting.

The Summit features five, opening day sessions, each examining a different player group. The first two sessions explore Asian and Hispanic ethnic populations – their potential as casino customers, their cultural nuances and the best way to tailor programs and marketing campaigns to reach them.

The next two sessions focus on different age groups – the younger audiences characterized as Generation X and Generation Y, and the mature seniors who have historically provided a large share of casinos’ revenue.

Casino marketers need to understand both the importance of developing new customers when they are young and meeting the needs of their older patrons.

The last session of the Player Development Summit reviews the opportunity to reach tourists, especially for new or expanded resorts with a variety of amenities.

Confirmed speakers at the Summit include: Christopher Abraham, vice president of marketing for Golden Gaming; Conrad Granito, general manager at New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Casino; Charles Harrison, managing partner of Harrison & Montoya Associates; Deb Hilgeman, seniors marketing specialist; Scott Voeller, vice president of marketing for Mandalay Bay; and Bill Zender, owner of Last Resort Consulting.

"We have assembled a strong group of experts in these specific topics," said Dennis Conrad, president and chief strategist of Raving Consulting, co-producer of the conference along with BNP Media. "They will help provide focus to casino marketers at a time when it is more important than ever to understand different market segments and the opportunities they represent."

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

In a presentation entitled, "Sleeping Well at Night in a Sometimes Ruthless Business," Schuetz will share his thoughts on the evolution of player development, where it is headed and how the marketer can survive it all.

After the Summit concludes, the gaming industry’s leading marketing conference and trade show gets under way.

Casino marketing has become one of the key facets of the gaming industry, and the strong conference program is led by two diverse keynote speakers: Dr. Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada; and Don McMillan, a humorist whose unique background allows him to take a light-hearted look at computers, technology, and the high-tech life.

The conference also features two anticipated annual awards – the Romero Awards: Recognizing Excellence in Casino Marketing; and the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented to Ginny Shanks, former senior vice president of brand management for Harrah’s Entertainment.

For complete conference details and agenda, and registration information, go to