So you’re in the casino at the table games, the poker room or the sports book and a nicotine fit strikes. Many of the books have banned cigarettes so a company is about to jump in to offer an alternative.
“Our White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes have the look and feel of a cigarette without the harmful after-effects,” said Matthew Steingraber, the company’s managing director and co-founder, during a conference call last week from home base in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
For those who haven’t been to Tarpon Springs, it’s a beautiful spot on Florida’s West Coast roughly 16 miles north of Clearwater and part of the Tampa Bay area. Lots of Rays, Bucs and retired folks there – many of whom smoke.
It’s that demographic Steingraber and Rich Pierce, the company’s marketing director, are going after. And, in particular, they are targeting Las Vegas.
“I think we will get a good response from gamblers,” Steingraber said. “It takes a little while to get exposure. Our product got rave reviews from the American market and we would very much entertain having a booth at the World Series of Poker.”
White Cloud calls its nicotine-less cigarette Fling and whether or not the product becomes the substitute for smoking cigarettes is something we’ll find out down the road and not debated in this article.
No, like most everything today, it’s all about the money. And White Cloud backers feel they are offering a product gamblers will take to because it’s a safer substitute for cigarettes with a longer lasting period at less cost.
“The Fling is equal to two packs of cigarettes,” Steingraber said. “It’s disposable and priced at about half of what competitors charge. You can do about 300 to 400 puffs on the Fling, while the average tobacco cigarette has about eight to 10.”
Management says a whole year of Flings would cost about $700 compared to $2,500 for smoking cigarettes, depending on taxes. Of course that figure is a rough average and many could be chain smokers while others may only take a puff or two once in a while.
But again, the smoking debate is not what interests us in the gaming world. The fact a company is planning its market strategy for Nevada gamblers is.
“We have a number of distributors throughout Nevada,” Steingraber said. “Our plan is to attend the bar and nightclub owners show in March in Las Vegas, look to make contacts and break into the casino market.”
The company’s statistical research has determined that 66 percent of those using Fling are over 51 years old with an average household income of $65,000. More women (51.5%) use the product than men (48.5%).
“We go international in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Canada,” Steingraber said. “Nevada we have targeted for our second quarter of the year to coincide with the WSOP.”
Flings can be purchased in a 5-pack for $29.95, a 10-pack for $45 or singular somewhere between $4.50 and $6. They come in regular, menthol, espresso, peach, apple, lime and coconut.
The WSOP would truly be a prime test ground for Fling, since the lobby outside the Penn & Teller Theater during Main Event week resembles the Fremont Street Experience.
“That’s the market we want to capture,” Steingraber said.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].