Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Internet To Play Bigger Casino Role

CM Comment: There definately seems to be a shift underway as more and more casinos seek to expand the role that the Internet plays in their marketing operations.

May 26, 2009: summarized Gaming Today -- Casino operators from around the country descended on Las Vegas last week for the seventh annual Gaming Technology Summit, which featured conference themes ranging from assessing IT departments to capturing casino customers via the Internet.

The latter topic - expanding the casino's reach over the Internet - generated spirited discussion among conference attendees, as did a related topic, legalizing online wagering.

"Up until now, most casinos have used their website to book hotel rooms and drive business to the casino," said Tony Fontaine, president of propickracing.com, an online horse race betting site, and former vice president of interactive gaming for Station Casinos. "But they need to expand that application by driving those casino customers back to the website, where they can be captured and 'monetized' through various programs."

Fontaine said that one method of capturing an Internet customer is through legal gaming, which can take the form of trivia contests, skill games (such as poker), fantasy sports leagues or horse race wagering.

In addition to tapping into the scope and reach of the Internet, other conference sessions explored assessing a casino's Information Technology department, fine tuning casino marketing, advances in mobile gaming, social networking as a vehicle for marketing and promotions and how technology is being used toward the "greening" of casino and hotel operations.

Many casino operators were especially interested in enhancing their marketing efforts, especially facing the challenges of a slumping economy.

"It's surprising how many casinos still use a shotgun approach to reaching their customers," said a panelist in one of the conferences. "There's often an overlap in their efforts, with customers often receiving three, four or five of the same mail pieces.
"Casinos need to learn how to streamline and combine their promotions," he continued. "It's generally agreed that 20 percent of the customer base generates 80 percent of the business, so it's important to go after that top 20 percent."

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