Video poker crucial to bottom line in ‘Vegas

Jul 9, 2002 10:44 AM

Just how important is video poker to locals casinos?

Try crucial.

Station Casinos, for instance, revealed recently that about 85 percent of its gaming revenue comes from the slot machines, of which video poker generates a healthy 65 percent.

Most casinos on the Strip report that their slot income is about 65 percent of their overall win, with video poker contributing substantially less than half the overall slot take.

But Las Vegas locals have made video poker the game of choice, according to Station Casinos’ Tony Fontaine, who recently addressed a group at the Las Vegas International Hospitality and Restaurant conference.

"Video poker is king in this city," Fontaine said. He added that, when Stations operated casinos in Missouri, it tried to introduce that market to video poker, but "it bombed there," he said.

Fontaine said Station Casinos cultivates an active customer base of more than 260,000 players.

"Gaming is part of our players’ entertainment budget," he said. "Because of that, we try to focus on providing value through our restaurants, entertainment and other offerings."

Fontaine said customers visit a Stations casino 2.75 times a month, on average. He said the casinos’ task is to keep customers coming back through database driven bonusing, tournaments, contests and rewards programs.

"Customers are always looking for ways to stretch their entertainment dollar," he said. "We’ve been successful because we’ve found ways to do that."

Fontaine’s address was to mostly online casino operators, who are seeking ways to retain their customer base.