Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not Your Kids Internet Games

CM comment: Note the demographic ... now you know another thing that your guest's are doing with their non-gambling leisure time.

Amazon Expands Into Casual Videogames
February 4, 2009: The Wall Street Journal -- Amazon.com Inc. entered the casual videogames market, expanding the Internet company's digital distribution business into a growing entertainment genre.

Casual games are simple games like card or word games that typically don't require a long-term commitment or special skills to play.

Casual games tend to attract an older and more female user base. While some videogame makers have been struggling in the recession, the casual category has thrived.
Amazon faces competition in casual games from companies including Big Fish Games and Yahoo Inc., but thinks it will gain an edge from its existing relationships with customers. "Our customers are used to a very trusted shopping experience. We felt that was something we could bring to the casual gaming space," said Mr. Hart.

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=agiyfxcab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fcfpcjy&id=preview

How Will Casinos Adapt?

CM comment: An interesting analogy is the music publishing industry. Today this industry is in turmoil because the traditional players simply stood aside while digital media took over. Numerous other indsutries have proactively embraced the web and their business are thriving as a direct result. What about the casino industry? Will U.S. casinos learn how to create and leverage digital relattionships with their patrons before online gambling takes hold?

Future of Worldwide Online Gambling
January 31, 2009: from Online Casino Sphere -- Online casinos are much better able to market their products and services to their players. Once registered with an online casino, marketing managers can remain in constant contact with players via email, allowing a closer relationship with the players. Brick and mortar players tend to play anonymously and the casinos can rarely send offers to bring them back consistently. In today's digital age, a customer's email address remains the 'holy-grail' for marketing specialists.

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=agiyfxcab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fclwhr7&id=preview

Barona Testing Mobile Marketing Campaign

January 27, 2009: from Casino Journal -- Imagine a person scanning a barcode that is displayed on your mobile phone - a barcode that could unlock restaurant specials, food and beverage deals, even cash offers. Working toward this goal, Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino has launched a pilot test of its innovative mobile marketing campaign, which utilizes 2-D barcode text messages that can be scanned to provide special offers and information to its players.

"As one of the first organizations in the country to utilize this technology, our goal is to create a mobile marketing program that will provide convenient services to our players with added benefits," said Troy Simpson, Barona's senior vice president of innovation. "Since the barcodes are sent to players that opt to receive them directly on their mobile phones, they are easily stored and scanned - making this program ideally suited for players who are moving throughout the resort and casino."

The program is being tested by approximately 360 opt-in Club Barona Diamond-level players. Each player received a text message with a special restaurant offer. Players with Web-enabled mobile phones are able to view a 2-D barcode from a Web link within their text message. Once at the restaurant, this barcode comp can be redeemed tableside by a server, using a handheld 2-D barcode scanner. Players without mobile Web capabilities can still redeem the offer via individual redemption codes provided within the body of the text message.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/ddgpmr

More Web Ads Improve Their Aim

February 5, 2009: The Wall Street Journal -- As marketers scale back their budgets, some new technologies that make it easier for marketers to track the impact of their online advertising are gaining ground.

Products based on these technologies -- such as customized ads that show different products to different users, Web ads hidden inside links in text, and online coupons -- are part of what is called "performance-driven advertising." That's because the products aim to improve and more precisely measure how a particular ad performs.

Companies like Choicestream, Yahoo and Teracent hope to steal some thunder from search advertising, which remains one of the biggest and fastest-growing ad formats. Since search ads are related to what a person is searching for on the Web, consumers often find them more relevant than other ads, and advertisers typically find them more cost effective.

But as budgets tighten, other formats that can prove they are worth their price are gaining momentum too. Coupons Inc., which makes software to help companies create and distribute online coupons, is among the companies that are benefiting. It has seen a recent surge in interest from advertisers looking for more cost-effective online marketing options, says CEO Steven Boal. Mr. Boal says the company expects to issue $1 billion in coupons this year, up from $300 million last year, and is drawing new customers who appreciate that they pay for the service only when a consumer prints out a coupon.

The new ad formats are winning over some big marketers. Over the past year, auto maker Chrysler, whose brands include Dodge and Jeep, has shifted its online-ad spending away from lifestyle sites to sites, such as Edmunds.com, that are geared toward consumers who are in the market for a car, as well as toward performance-driven products like Vibrant's in-text ads. Chrysler is also continuing to spend on search ads, says Chuck Sullivan, director of interactive at Chrysler.

"The good news about the performance-based media is that it's very easy to track, and we are able to see what works and what doesn't work," Mr. Sullivan says.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/c36scn

For Casino Industry, Server-Based Gaming Still In The Cards

February 3, 2009: from CNET News -- Industry executives say, the time is finally right for server-based gaming, and the first signs of the technology--albeit a new form of it that has been reworked considerably from what it was originally--may actually be on the horizon. The next great thing may at long last be here.

That means a host of new slot machine-based innovations could be on their way. Among them, said Rob Bone, the vice president of marketing for WMS Gaming, one of the casino industry's big-four manufacturers, is a community-gaming system that will allow multiple people to play games across a series of machines. And another, known as "adaptive gaming," will make it possible for the machines to keep track of a player's progress and let them rejoin their game, even at a different location.

These days, a big part of successful casino operations is best figuring out how not only to get a player to bring his or her money onto your floor, but also how to get that person to join your loyalty program and return to one of your properties again and again.

For companies like MGM/Mirage, for example, that kind of customer acquisition and retention is key, especially in a city like Las Vegas, where the giant already owns ten major properties--including Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Luxor and others--and will soon open up City Center. Making it possible for its customers to play games and feel welcome and valued at all of its casinos is just about the most important thing MGM/Mirage or any of its competitors can do.

And that's why, while an IGT machine still won't run games from Bally--at least not any time soon--the four manufacturers seem to have come around to the idea that their technology had to give the casino operators much more control over the messaging players would see on those machines.

Additionally, Saenz said, the gaming machines will need to be able to access the casinos' databases of customer names and information, regardless of who made the machine, in order to serve up information that is individual to each user.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/ac9588