Consumer Value Kudos

Dennis Conrad

Dennis Conrad

I have often harped on the overall declining value of the casino playing experience at too many casinos, and suggested strongly that “ restoring player value” would be a profitable counter strategy.

Well, that got me to thinking about the casinos I have seen in the past couple of years that ARE providing significant player value. I think it is time to “give them some love” in hope that their player-focused value examples catch on at more places.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Even though I am pretty piped-in and visit scores of casinos in an average year, I am pretty sure there are other great examples that I have missed. I would be delighted if you shared other examples with me. It is always a joy for me to hear about casinos “doing right” by their players.

The examples I am about to share about value-restoring casino practices are not all about big programs or even “loosest” gaming. In fact, some may appear rather mundane and not a big deal at all. But from my experience as both a player and a consultant, I find them all as providing real value to real casino players, often for different reasons.

So here they are, my kudos to the following casinos for some specific valuecreating practices to make the casino experience just a little better for casino players.

Kudos to the following teams:

  1. Peppermill Hotel & Casino (Reno, NV) for User-Friendly Kiosks – many casinos have gone to kiosks for players club information, redemptions, and to execute casino promotions. But the Peppermill not only has enough kiosks (a couple dozen), but they have BIG screens with LARGE fonts and work well. And they didn’t put the kiosks in to get rid of staff (they still have a lively Players Club booth operation adequately staffed), but to make the Passport Awards club member experience better. Kudos Peppermill!
  2. Cache Creek Casino Resort (Brooks, CA) for Dinner with VIPs – Cache Creek’s General Manager, Randy Takemoto, is retiring soon, but EVERY WEEK for the past several years, Randy and his wife, Dina, have had dinner with small groups of Cache Creek’s best casino customers. Some GMs do that occasionally, a few even somewhat regularly, but only Randy can say EVERY WEEK. What a loyalty building, personal gesture! Kudos Cache Creek!
  3. Eldorado Casino (Reno, NV) for Premium Wines for Players – Sure, it helps that the Carano family has a top notch Ferrari-Carano winery that makes great wines (trust me, I’ve sampled them MANY times). But by no means are they obligated to serve that great wine as comped drinks on the casino floor. Great value for casino players, great exposure for Ferrari-Carano wine. Kudos Eldorado!
  4. Isleta Resort & Casino (Albuquerque, NM) for Uncommon Dice Value – as an avid craps player, I REALLY appreciate value on the dice table, and the Albuquerque tribal casinos offer some of the best in the country (10X odds, free buy bets on the 4 and 10, etc.). But that value has been trimmed in this market in recent years – except at Isleta, which will get the bulk of my action now when I am in Albuquerque. Kudos Isleta!
  5. Valley View Casino (Valley Center, CA) for Daily Lobster Dinner Buffet – it ain’t cheap (I paid $39.95 when I visited) but it sure is good and it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT. Lobster, crab, prime rib and everything else under the sun for anyone who wants to O.D. on delicious food. The buffet lines and the jam-packed slot floor say it all – there’s value at Valley View – Kudos!
  6. Soboba Casino (San Jacinto, CA) for Outrageous Casino Promos – they were the first casino in the country to give away a “tiny home.” They broke a Guinness World Record for “Most People Panning for Gold” at the casino property. They shot a slot machine into space! And the Soboba Marketing Director promised to shave his head if local newspaper readers voted Soboba as “Best Casino” in an annual poll. This would only be “weird” if Soboba didn’t also pack “value into each promo – giveaways, free play, fun, celebrity appearances, surprises – and everything else that delights Soboba guests. Kudos Soboba!
  7. Barona Resort and Casino for Well, Everything – in good conscience, I couldn’t write a “Praise to Casino Value” column without honoring Barona, the longtime master of providing extreme value to its players. Barona’s ATMs do not have ATM fees. Their managers roam the floor and hand out $10 or $20 slot vouchers to thank guests for coming to Barona or because it’s their birthday, or because “I see you haven’t been very lucky.” Their dealers can comp table game players themselves. They have more than 20% more casino employees on the floor than the average casino – and they are talking to guests and not each other.

I could go on and on about Barona, but suffice it to say, they deserve the highest “Kudos” for illuminating the dimly lit path of customer value that all enlightened casinos should follow. At least if they want happier guests and more revenue.

Dennis Conrad