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.
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.
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?
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