Brians bring their AGame to casino marketing
September 27, 2016 3:01 AM
by Dave Dye
Husband and wife first, business partners second.
That’s the approach Bobby and Sheila Brian have taken to run their company, AGame Marketing, which is based in Las Vegas and serves as a middle man for casinos that want to protect themselves by taking out prize insurance in some of these big-money promotions.
Their married friends often ask them, “How do you do that?”
“I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody,” Sheila said of starting a business with her spouse. “We’ve been working together for 20 years. We like each other’s company. We compromise. ‘You take this one, I’ll take the next one.’ But pretty much, we’re on the same page.”
AGame – as in “bring your ‘A’ game” – stands for Association of Gaming Advertisers, Marketers and Entrepreneurs.
A recent promotion by the Cannery casino, in which a player came one card (the king of diamonds) from a royal flush that would have paid him $1 million, was the work of Bobby, Sheila and AGame.
Casinos – or any type of company, for that matter – turn to them when they want to attract more customers with a potential life-changing contest of this type. AGame will set up the insurance, handle the marketing and even design an interactive game that’s appealing to the players.
It’s a nice partnership for the casinos because they know the exact cost of doing such a promotion and don’t have to worry about making a possible mega-payout if a player happens to defy the odds.
Sheila is the insurance expert and works with a Lloyd’s syndicate. Bobby is the creative, idea guy. They complement each other well.
“What we try to do is suit the promotion to the market and to the property,” Bobby said.
They typically ask a client to complete the following statement: “I wish I could make my players… Then it’s our challenge to create a compelling offer that’s exciting, memorable and results-driven to modify that player behavior and maximize the casino’s profits,” Bobby said.
He takes pride that a Detroit casino, which had been in operation for more than a decade, saw player-card sign-ups increase by 50 percent as a result of a million-dollar free-pull promo organized by AGame.
The Brians both worked at SCA (Sports Contests Association) Promotions in Dallas before deciding about six years ago to break away and form their own company.
They met on his first day on the job in 1992 and “immediately hit it off,” Sheila said.
“We tried to keep it a secret, but that didn’t last long,” she said. “After about a week, people put it together.”
Her career was further along at that point so Bobby quickly decided he would be the one to look for another job if business ever got in the way of their relationship.
That wasn’t necessary. They figured out how to make both work together.
SCA, one of the pioneers in the industry, was the perfect place for them to learn all of the ins and outs. They set up insurance on hole-in-ones at golf outings, half-court basketball heaves and shots through a small opening into a hockey net.
A couple years after getting to SCA, Bobby suggested they reach out to casinos to expand the business. He started traveling to Las Vegas every other week to meet with clients. Other times he visited casinos in Atlantic City and Mississippi.
The timing couldn’t have been better because casinos were starting to pop up more and more throughout the country. That focus on the gaming element ultimately led to their decision to go on their own and form AGame.
Bobby called relocating three years ago to Vegas a “strategic move” that brings credibility simply because “the gaming business is still centered here.”
The Brians will attend this week’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center to meet with clients and try to generate new business opportunities.
AGame’s clients already include GamingToday, which runs the “Beat the Big Dog Football Challenge” that offers a $100,000 bonus if a contestant picks a certain number of games correctly for the season.
For AGame, the only concern is making certain they provide Lloyd’s with accurate information on the possibilities of someone actually winning any of these insured contests.
“We would be impacted if we failed to provide excellent security for our underwriters or failed to give them credible information on the odds and chances of winning,” Bobby said.
Sheila smiled and said, “We want a winner every now and then. It’s fun.”
She paused and added, “But if you have too many winners then the insurance will fall out.”