Tag Archives for " casino competition "

2015 Casino Predictions: Be Smart As You Do More With Less

OK, so this is a little late, but it’s still January!  Here are my thoughts and casino predictions for 2015 and the gaming industry.

2015

Last year was a catastrophic year for gaming in Atlantic City and other markets that were ravaged by intense competition and a consistently slow economy.  Years ago, I wrote about what I saw as the end of “build it and they will come.”  Well, 2014 proved that out.

So what is going to happen in 2015?

The good news is that, as I see it, the economy is flatish and that means people will soon start to feel like they can have a little fun again.  This attitude will also be supported by lower unemployment rates and people feeling better when they have a job and steady income.  Those are both great news for all casinos because when people have money, they want to spend it!

This also means that people will take a risk and hope to have a life-changing event at a casino.

The other positive news is the plunge in oil prices.  That means cheap gas!  (Or what passes for cheap gas these days.)  For those of you that have casinos a little off the beaten path, it will only cost a few extra dollars to get to your property.  This likely will translate into more visits to your property.

Unfortunately, the world is in a state of turmoil.  Oil prices could be WILDLY volatile.  All it would take is one incident any place in the world and prices could go through the roof.

What does all this mean?  It means you need to take advantage of these situations now.

Competition in 2015

In 2015, Casinos Will Need to Think Smarter to Meet Even Greater Competition and the Demands of Customers

On the other side of the coin, we see casino leadership pushing all departments to do more with less.  Thus, some people are making questionable decisions.  Cutting marketing to save money just leads to fewer guests and less revenue.  (It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.)  The really bad news is that we see casinos doing the same thing with training.  This leads to lower levels of service execution and that gives your competition an opportunity to acquire your guests.

Speaking of competition, 2015 will be the most competitive year in gaming history in the U.S. and around the world.  As more and more markets have gaming options, guests will require more to earn their business.  States are behind the curve and are trying to catch a falling knife by adding casinos to reduce state debt.  It’s too late.  They are cannibalizing other casinos and not expanding the player pool.

FYI – This is great for players because they can demand better customer service and more generous offers.  But that will put immense pressure on casinos to operate at a higher level!

Successful casinos in 2015 will work smarter and find ways to do more.  They will not just make across-the-board cuts.  Instead, they will identify areas that didn’t perform and reduce them while working to find new ways to do important tasks better with less cost.  (By the way – Any day now, we’ll announce a way to reduce training costs.  No, it’s not staff reductions.  It’s a learning “dis-order” that negatively affects training.)

Well, those are my amazing thoughts for 2015!

Take a moment and share your thoughts.  What do you see happening this year?

Marty

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com

 

Casino Competition in Overdrive: The Stench of the Saturated, Rotting Casino Industry in the United States

Casino competition in the United States is in overdrive and the resulting market saturation is roiling the industry.

It sounds like a bad scene from the newest “Sharknado” movie, but this is not some Hollyweird concept.  This is the reality that is affecting people from Atlantic City to Indianapolis and beyond – casino cash cows are dead and dying at an alarming rate.  And they stink.

This is why I have been writing even more about the importance of casino customer service and casino customer service training.  They are the only real answer to what’s happening.

For years, people have said that casinos are recession proof and even grow during tough economic times.  That might have been the case in the past, but those days are long gone.  The Great Recession and market saturation have created a death spiral for casinos.

Casino competition has driven the casino industry into oversaturation

Casino Competition and A Saturated Industry Are Killing the Casino Cash Cow

You can easily look at Atlantic City as the poster child for the new reality of the overbuilt casino industry.  It looks like 25 percent of the casinos in Atlantic City will close this year.  Oh, how far the city’s casino industry has fallen!  For decades, Atlantic City was the second largest gaming market in the U.S. behind Nevada.

Not too long ago, if someone had suggested this situation would come to pass, they would have been see as a laughing stock.  (I guess I really stuck my neck out in 2002 during another economic downturn when I made the case that casinos are no longer recession proof, no longer countercyclical.)  But today’s gaming industry is being shaken to its very core and it’s not going to end any time soon.

The root of this tectonic shift is an anemic economy and states starving for tax revenue.

Back in the day, if you wanted to go to a casino and you lived in the eastern U.S, your only real choice was Atlantic City.  Now there are casinos from New York to Maryland.  This means that potential players have more choices that require less travel and offer the lure of a newer property.  Why would anyone drive from Baltimore to Atlantic City when they have sparkling casinos a few miles away?  The answer is they wouldn’t and they aren’t.

There also is a systemic problem that most people are not thinking about – states that use casinos as an ATM to pay for schools and roads and to keep taxes low will soon face very tough decisions.  For quite some time, people from Maryland drove to Delaware to gamble.  The casinos’ parking lots were packed with cars from Maryland.  This meant more tax revenue for Delaware without raising taxes for the general public.

Casino competition and the saturated casino industry

Casino Competition Has Led to Market Saturation

Last week, the Delaware state senate announced a $10 million bailout for the state’s casinos. That is a serious change in fortune.  In seemingly the blink of an eye, those casinos have morphed from a profit center to an expense for the Delaware treasury.  Also last week, Indiana casinos announced substantial losses to properties in Ohio.

If you are a state representative or senator and you ran on (1) not raising taxes and (2) adding programs funded by the gush of casino tax revenue, what are you going to do now?  You have two very bad choices.  Either you reduce or eliminate programs or you raise taxes.  FYI, those are not platforms that get people re-elected.

By now, it is abundantly clear that the casino industry is reaching maturity and saturation.  That means that the glory days of “build it and they will come” are a fading memory.  In order for any casino to grow, it will need to take revenue from another casino.  There’s no other source for the money.

This problem is not limited to the eastern seaboard.  When Florida opens pending mega resorts around the state, the one in the panhandle will be very disruptive to casinos in Alabama and Mississippi, markets that have long lived off Florida guests coming over for entertainment.  A Tunica, Miss., casino has already closed.  What will happen to the casinos in Oklahoma and Louisiana if Texas sees a need for more tax revenue?  Why drive from Dallas or Houston to a neighboring state when you can take the short drive across town?

These putrid cash-cow casinos will have an immense impact on states.  The loss of tax revenue is only part of the picture.  Casinos that close employ lots of people, sometimes thousands.  Most people think these are low-paying service jobs, but they are sorely mistaken.  With “tokes,” casino employees often make significant income that won’t be replaced by “would you like fries with that” jobs.

Blackjack dealers can make significant tips working just part time. This allows them to take care of their children and still afford homes and cars.  There are not many jobs that will give them that flexibility and revenue potential.

Now is the time for casino owners and states to come together and make intelligent decisions. They must work together so that casinos can remain open and profitable and offer guests an amazing entertainment experience.  Both sides need to team up if they hope to survive for the long term.  It is inevitable that more casinos will close because some states have made it too difficult to make a profit and compete.  Casino owners will use their capital where they can generate a return on their investment and they pull assets out of markets that are just too onerous and competitive.

If you think the stench is bad now, just wait a little while.  More states are still looking at entering the casino market or allowing more casinos to open.  There is no doubt this will kill even more casino cash cows and leave a very putrid mess.

Marty

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com

 

Casino Customer Service and Casino Customer Service Training Are the Best Long-Term Options for Gaming Properties’ Survival

Casinos need to focus on exceptional casino customer service if they want to survive.  Yes, I said survive.

Recently, I watched an entire hour on a major cable news channel devoted exclusively to “Internet gambling.”  I also recently read that the state of Massachusetts needs to rethink its budget because it is not receiving anticipated casino revenue.  In other words, the state is not getting those casino dollars from heaven.  Lastly, there was this gem in USA Today about casino points for frequent-flier miles.  CLICK HERE

When I was growing up, my aunt and uncle would go to Las Vegas and that was a big deal.  They came back with boxes of candy and ash trays from the casino.  Their stories of free drinks, all-you-can-eat buffets and 99-cent shrimp cocktails dazzled my family.

Casinos that stake out casino customer service are more competitive

Stellar Casino Customer Service Driven By Outstanding Casino Customer Service Training Is Gaming Properties’ Best Long-Term Option for Surviving Competition

Those days are gone!

Looking back at the USA Today article, the idea that a casino has partnered with an airline to use casino points as part of a frequent-flier program just shows that casinos are doing whatever they can to compete.  Here is a news flash … instead of looking for things to give away, how about focusing on offering guests an amazing entertainment experience by providing exceptional casino customer service?

Online casino gambling has not taken off yet in the United States.  But it will and when it does, local casinos that don’t provide a great entertainment experience will be left wondering what happened.  Some of you may remember that at one time people didn’t flock to tribal casinos, but that has all changed, too.

There are only two defensible positions in business – you either compete on price or you compete on service.  We all know “low-price” leaders that do very well.  The challenge is that low-price leaders in the casino world will either need to have a lower cost structure or be ready to survive on much lower margins.

Gaming properties that are smart enough to stake a claim on casino customer service will need to do more than simply beef up service.  They will need to take service to an entirely new level.  “Good enough” will not be acceptable going forward.  Now is the time to invest in developing your people with casino customer service training that explains why you are creating a service culture.  It should also help team members understand that their jobs depend on this culture.

I’m sure the gimmicks will continue rolling out like trick ponies at the circus.  Ploys and promotions will come and go.  The customers they attract will come and go.  Casino customer service is the only advantage that will last long term.  It is your best option for creating an entertainment experience that will keep guests come back to play again and again.  It is your best option for survival.

Marty

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com

Casino Customer Service Training and Casino Customer Service Help Properties Survive Brutal Casino Competition – Did Bloomberg Businessweek Get It Right?

We at Robinson & Associates, Inc., believe that what we have been saying for several years has been validated by an article published last week in Bloomberg Businessweek – with casino competition reaching new heights, casino customer service and casino customer service training are the only true long-term competitive advantage for gaming properties.  The casino marketplace is getting extremely crowded and survival and success will come from great training and great service that make savvy casinos stand out.

Casino customer service training and casino customer service are the answer to casino competition.

Bloomberg Businessweek Explores the Reality of Today’s Casino Competition – Too Much Supply, Not Enough Demand. We Believe Casino Customer Service Training and Casino Customer Service Are the Answer.

The Bloomberg article sheds harsh light on the casino industry in the U.S. and points out something straight from economics 101:  if there is too much supply and not enough demand, something has to give.

The article explains that between increased casino capacity and the struggling economy, casinos are getting squeezed.  It really is that simple.  If guests have less money in their pockets because of stagnant wages, increased taxes and lack of job security, they will spend less.  With the number of casinos increasing and guests spending less, something most definitely will have to give.

This is a typical boom-and-bust cycle.  When I was a child growing up in rural Indiana, people planned and saved to go to Las Vegas for a big, exciting trip.  Now people in many states can drive a couple of hours in almost any direction and reach a casino.  This means they will be more particular and have higher expectations.  They will pick and choose.  They won’t just expect good service.  They will demand exceptional casino customer service.

Take a moment and read Bloomberg’s “Local Casinos Are A Losing Bet.”

Marty

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com

Stellar Casino Customer Service Is Critical During Times of Intense Competition — Read More in Our Newsletter

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe to our newsletter for interesting casino news articles and the latest information concerning online gaming, casino customer service training, mystery shopping, casino reputation and reviews, service gap analysis and more.  To subscribe, click here.

 

The casino market is brutally competitive.  Stellar guest service is the only true advantage you have to compete effectively.

Casino Customer Service
Solutions, Tactics and More!

Sept. 5, 2013

Outstanding Guest Service Is the Best Solution to Casinos’
#1 Problem Today — Unrelenting Competition
 

Sometimes Reading Pays More Than You Think

This week, we released the second edition of our casino customer service book “Gaming Guest Service from A to Z.”  It has been updated to include topics such as Advocates, Mystery Shopping and Reputation, to name a few.  The good news … CLICK HERE to get your copy with our compliments!  You can get it first and get it free.

Here is what one casino executive shared with me about the new edition of “Gaming Guest Service from A to Z” …

“​Marty,
This is absolutely incredible! I went through the first fifty pages and I love every line of it; very simple and plain, but incredibly to the point. This will be a great tool for me. Thank you for making me a lot smarter.
Thanks again Marty.”

Get your copy NOW

Your Casino’s Reputation Is At Risk!
Fact is your guests trust the casino reviews they read online more than the ads you run.  This means that many casinos are spending millions on ads that they should invest in creating a better reputation.  Read more here.

Sliced and Diced in A Yelp Review??!!  It Can and Does Happen
Casino reviews at Yelp, TripAdvisor and other online sites can be brutal.  This really matters to your casino’s bottom line.  Click on the image below to bring up an interactive version with valuable information embedded in the icons.

Would You Give A Guest $40 to Improve Your Casino’s Reputation?
Last week, I wanted to buy a new computer, but the ad didn’t match the actual price when I checked it out … So would your casino spend $40 to make a guest happy?
Click and read all about it.

Will Online Be the Savior Or the Straw That Breaks the Casino’s Bank?
Casinos in Delaware have launched FREE online gaming.  How will free gaming accessed through Facebook fill the state’s tax coffers?  Click here.

Wynn Sees $$$ in Online Gaming
I don’t claim to be Steve Wynn, but I know that online gaming is happening and it will have a HUGE impact on the current casino business model.  Will your casino be ready when it happens?  Read this article.

Was It the Super Storm Or PA That Caused This?
AC casino revenue tumbled 9.9 percent in the first half of this year.  The next story may hold the real answer.  But first, read this.

PA for Casino LOVERS!
From Rust Belt to casino destination, Pennsylvania casinos are making the state very happy with more than $5.4 billion over the last four years.  What’s good for PA could be crushing neighboring states.  Click and read.

“Tested Casino Guest Service Tips, Tactics & So Much More!” is a compilation of industry-related casino customer service information and other gaming-related management topics offered by Robinson & Associates, Inc.  Just glance over the topics and click on the items of interest to you.

We hope you find information that is not only interesting, but thought provoking and valuable to your endeavor to compete in today’s gaming market.

Marty Baird
CEO
CasinoCustomerService.com
Robinson & Associates, Inc.
602-639-4858

P.S.  Do you have a service delivery gap?  Put our tested system to work for your casino!

Secret Reveals Why Service Sells:  AdvocateDevelopmentSystem

A Service Delivery Gap Analysis Is the First Step to Giving Casino Guests A Truly Superior Gaming Experience.  CLICK HERE to Learn More.

Our Services

Click Here

20 Years of Helping Casinos Measure, Manage and Improve Their Service.  Call Now to Put Their Systems to Work for You  208.991.2037

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Amazing Casino Customer Service Training Is Critically Important — Read Our Newsletter

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe to our newsletter for interesting casino news articles and the latest information concerning online gaming, casino customer service training, mystery shopping, casino reputation and reviews, service gap analysis and more.  To subscribe, click here.

 

Effective employee training and outstanding customer service go hand in hand.  Learn more here.

Tested Casino Guest Service Tips,
Tactics & So Much More!

Aug. 20, 2013

Intense Casino Competition Demands Amazing
Service Training and Memorable Guest Service

 

Because People Aren’t Born Guest Service Experts!  It Takes Awesome Training!
Casino employees are a major part of the entertainment experience and that means they need to provide a memorable service experience.  The problem is people aren’t born guest service experts.  As a matter of fact, many associates think they provide a great guest experience when it is at best “OK” … It takes memorable casino customer service training to move people forward.  See more.

Service Consistency Matters More Than You Think!
Guests want one thing more than anything else and that is a consistent experience.  Think Seinfeld and the “Soup Nazi.”  The service was terrible but it was consistent.  They knew what to expect.  Read more here.

Service Consistency Matters More Than You Think!  Picture This
See service consistency in a new way!  Click here.

What Will States Do for Taxes After All Gaming Goes Online?  Really!
Look at what is happening and the writing is on the wall.  From Nevada to New Jersey, people are starting to place their bets on online gaming.  From technology companies to state governments, they are looking at what it could mean and how to get in on the action.  FYI — service is your only competitive advantage now and when online casinos happen.  Read the news articles below.
Online gaming pact.
Congressional hearing.
Atlantic City Partnership.
Gaming industry flocking to Atlantic City.
Mississippi gaming market takes hit.

Sometimes Reading Pays More Than You Think
In the next 7 days, we will release the second edition of “Gaming Guest Service from A to Z.”  It has been updated to include topics such as Advocates, Mystery Shopping and Reputation, to name a few.  The good news … If you email me at mbaird@casinocustomerservice.com this week, we will send you a free copy!  You can get it first and get it free.

“Tested Casino Guest Service Tips, Tactics & So Much More!” is a compilation of industry-related casino customer service information and other gaming-related management topics offered by Robinson & Associates, Inc.  Just glance over the topics and click on the items of interest to you.

We hope you find information that is not only interesting, but thought provoking and valuable to your endeavor to compete in today’s gaming market.

Marty Baird
CEO
CasinoCustomerService.com
Robinson & Associates, Inc.
602-639-4858

P.S.  Do you have a service delivery gap?  Put our tested system to work for your casino!

Secret Reveals Why Service Sells:  AdvocateDevelopmentSystem

Casino Train the Trainer is an intense, life-changing 5-day customer service training program offered only by Robinson & Associates, Inc.  Learn more here.

Our Services

Click Here

20 Years of Helping Casinos Measure, Manage and Improve Their Service.  Call Now to Put Their Systems to Work for You  208.991.2037

  

Casino Competition Explored In Interactive Image

Casinos are getting hit from all directions, including state taxes and casino competition that both eat at profits.  This interactive image with information-packed icons takes a look at casino competition in 2013.

Marty Baird

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com
208-991-2037

Casino Competition Ramps Up in 2013 – As Predicted

It’s nice to be right about something I predict, but I take no satisfaction in my prognostications about casino competition.  Last December, I made some statements about casino competition for 2013 and I was squarely on the mark.  Unfortunately, this is not good news for the gaming industry, but at least you were warned.  I hope all casinos read what I had to say and took steps to get ready.

Let’s take a look at my predictions and comments from late last year and examine what has happened through July of this year.  Keep in mind that outstanding casino customer service is probably your property’s only viable answer to what you are about to read.

 

“The Headlines Are Already the Proof.  Three headlines already tell the world that there is an increase in casino competition that will only blossom in 2013.”  What an understatement!  Just look at Delaware alone.  Earlier this year, Delaware legislators approved $8 million in emergency funds for the state’s three struggling racinos and then they created the Lottery and Gaming Study Commission to address, among other things, declining casino revenues.  Dover Downs has threatened to lay off employees if the state doesn’t lower its taxes.  Casino competition from neighboring states is clobbering Delaware casinos.  And Delaware isn’t the only state where casinos are coming to grips with regional competition.

“States Will Want More and More Gaming Revenue. State governments love tax revenue from casinos and they will want more as they grapple with budget deficits.”  Isn’t that the truth?  While Delaware casinos were struggling, the state increased its share of gaming revenue 7.5 percent to deal with budget shortfalls.  New Hampshire State Reps. Peter R. Leishman and Katherine D. Rogers wrote in July that voters don’t want more taxes to bring in more revenue.  Leishman and Rogers went on to state:  “So what is left? Maybe it is time for the House of Representatives to listen to the people of New Hampshire who have resoundingly spoken out in the past in favor of expanded gaming in the form of a casino. Only a few lawmakers stand in the way of the overwhelming public support for gambling.”  These comments go to the heart of both increased competition and tax revenues.

There’s more.  In a July article for The Press of Atlantic City, reporter Donald Wittkowski wrote, “Despite an explosive growth in casino gambling throughout the Northeast — some say the market is already oversaturated — the expansion continues. Tempted by the jobs and tax revenue generated by the gambling industry, states are eager to cash in on casinos.”  Of course, the Northeast isn’t the only region where this is happening.

“Internet Gaming Is Looming. The website for the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi and New Jersey have introduced legislation authorizing forms of Internet gaming in their states.  The reason they are doing this is because they want to make sure they are not left out of this possible revenue stream.”  Oh yes, oh yes!

Take a look at this early July headline from The Star-Ledger in New Jersey:  “Every Casino in N.J. Wants to Offer Online Gambling, State Says.”  Reporter Ryan Hutchins wrote, “In a sign of how lucrative online gambling in New Jersey may become, every casino in Atlantic City plans to offer its own games in cyberspace, state officials announced today.”  Earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an internet gambling bill into law.  Online poker is legal in Nevada.

Washington, D.C., is well aware that states are taking matters into their own hands.  This year, two congressmen – Peter King of New York and Joe Barton of Texas – introduced bills allowing Internet gambling.  It’s coming folks!  Internet gaming is getting a toehold in 2013.

All the above is just a few examples.  I could tell you a lot more, but I think you get the point.  The already competitive gaming industry is getting even tougher in 2013.  Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Marty Baird

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com
208-991-2037