Game shows among casino attractions

Nov 25, 2008 5:05 PM
by Kevin Stott |

Always looking for new ways to get customers into the building in this ever-changing business climate, casinos have now turned to some creative ways of luring in customers, including starting to offer up live television game shows and performing arts.

At the 2008 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, a new seminar was added this year that focused on such ways of helping the marketing department try to simply get the folks in the door.

Seminar moderator Kell Houston of the Talent Buyers Network said, "We wanted the casinos to have a product that they could earn money on over a 30-day period as opposed to a one- or two-day period."

And knowing that customers who are just given something may not be as interested in ultimately attending that event – and more importantly from the casino’s perspective, returning to the property – Houston said these offerings need to create a certain buzz with the casino customer.

"We wanted to allow the casino players to win tickets to the [game] show as opposed to buying them and create excitement on the casino floor," he said.

One speaker at the seminar was Jim Weiner, chief operating officer of Theater Mogul Productions, the rights holder to the play "Defending the Caveman," which is now in its second year at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

Weiner told why this one-man play – the longest running solo play in Broadway history – which attempts to resolve the "war" between the sexes – can be the perfect fit for the gaming industry execs looking for something a little different in the form of entertainment.

"The reason it’s had that kind of unusual success around the world is that it’s portable – it’s light, it’s small and yet it caters to a devoted adult-couple audience which parallels perfectly to the casino industry," Weiner said of the hit that is now playing in 85 cities in the U.S. and 30 countries around the globe.

Another such success is "Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding," an interactive audience show now running at the Rio that also features an authentic Italian buffet.

The producer of "Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding," Joe Corcoran, said this type of show is the perfect

entertainment for the right property.

"We found a way to make it marketable to casinos," Corcoran said. "It’s about working with the casino and seeing what their budget is."

Coast to Coast Promotions President Jimmy Richards told how his company has been successful getting live game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The $250,000 Ultimate Game Show" (LV Hilton Theater) into casinos. A similar offering, "The Price Is Right," has been a big hit at Bally’s Jubilee! Theater in Las Vegas.

Moderator Houston summed up the new philosophy which has become prevalent in many a marketing department in the gaming industry.

"It’s about giving them [marketing departments] all the tools to work with," he said. "Your database is the very most important resource in a casino. It’s about database management. And we have to be creative these days."