Recently I had the honor to sit on a panel discussion about the current state of casino advertising. I was amazed how well everyone’s messages linked together to a bigger topic even though we worked independently on our own advertising specialties.
As casino operators, we want gamblers who have the discretionary dollars available and who have a pre-set budget for themselves that is within their ability to spend. Repeatedly, customers tell us a source of satisfaction is how long they can play with their budget. They want to say “in play” for the allotted amount of time they have and within the allotted budget.
If you’ve been a longtime reader, you’ll recall my casino glossary for Agency Post. I defined “hold” as the amount the casino keeps as net gaming revenue. It is calculated by “Total in – amount paid out = hold.” Typically, this is referred to in percentages.
“Hold”. This is a notion we casino marketers have historically loved. Loosest Slots … More Winners … The Most Winners .. Best Slots … Best Payouts. But often these were merely advertising headlines without any relationship to the overall experience. I’m not calling anyone less than truthful. The fact is any of us have used one or more of these lines because there was some bank of slots somewhere on our casino floors that made these headlines true.
Over the years, I’ve been part of way too many heated arguments about slot hold. In general, there are two camps. Camp A feels that customers can’t possibly tell when we raise hold because mathematically, it takes millions of spins to hit the target hold. Camp B (the one I’m in) agrees that a customer can’t calculate the hold (because of those million spins), but they can FEEL how fast their gambling budget takes them today versus how far it went yesterday.
To me, this (hold) experience is part of what the brand delivers which in turn should drive the message you communicate. This is why customers don’t believe the loose slots messages no matter how great your ad is. Nothing kills a bad experience like a great ad.
I’m sure the hold controversy will never be resolved if you think purely in terms of math. However, I think you can find a resolution if you think in terms of the guest experience you want to deliver. Put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Do you really want to take her $20, $50 or $100 in a matter of minutes or do you want her to have a great time and return with another $20, $50 or $100.
At the end of the day, if we’re in the business of entertainment, shouldn’t we entertain?