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Casinos urged to use the web

Oct 1, 2002 5:16 AM

   Speed kills on the highways, but it's needed on the Internet for a site to survive.

   "If people aren't able to download an item within 10 seconds, they're gone," IQ-Ludorum Software President and CEO Roger Stone said during last week's Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

   "Speed is the number one part in creating web pages," Stone said. "The next basic demand is a large and accurate database with 24-hour, seven-day a week maintenance."

   Stone also suggested that any top-notch website will offer free items to customers.

   "Make the customers know they are in safe hands," said Stone, whose company has handled sites for William Hill and Ladbrokes in Great Britain. "Offer free contests, tips on how to win and reach out to the audience."

   Fernando DiCarlo, president and CEO of IGSS Gametronics, said the key to a successful site is to "reproduce the experience you have spent millions of dollars creating."

   "Give the people a link to your casino," said DiCarlo, whose company built the Internet site for Caesars Palace. "The opening page not only should include games, but polls and a quick quiz. It's also good to leave a a space at the bottom of the page for ads."

   DiCarlo said his studies showed that 145 million Americans play video games.

   "This type of data analysis of player information determines how to approach the audience," he said. "Player tracking is huge in our business. Offer hotels rooms on the site before they go unused."

   Howard Lefkowitz, president of Vegas.com, said his site is successful because it's done with a personal touch.

   "If you sell your site solely on price, you can't compete," he said. "We push entertainment, golf, hotels and everything that fits the Vegas lifestyle except (Internet) gaming. Jail is bad."

   Lefkowitz has also done work for other Greenspun Media ventures such as Las Vegas Life, Showbiz and Vegas Golfer.

   "The theme is the same with each," he said. "Create goodwill and prestige through being friendly. You can't ignore the intangible benefits. Looking at what people are doing on our site has contributed to our exponential growth the past 12 months."

   Tim Schaden, CEO for Reservision said he could not find a website focused on women, even though the majority of customers are female.

   "Our studies showed that 55 percent of Internet casino players are women," said Schaden, whose clients include Earthlink, CNN, Sony and E-bay. "That was quite a surprise to us."

   DiCarlo predicted that Internet gaming would come in the U.S., even though it is illegal and showing no sign of any change.

   "I think Nevada and New Jersey will be the first states to get in on it," he said. "There is profit for sure, but proximity is more important."