I received this e-mail in the Raving office the other day. I felt it was important to share it with you; what this casino customer said in a few short paragraphs really speaks volumes about the current state of the gaming industry:
My name is Joseph. I read your column in Casino Journal occasionally and I have noticed that you seem to have an appreciation of the casino customer’s perspective in your writing, so I wanted to share this with you in the hope that it might do some good. Please pass this along to any of your associates in the
“The reason for my… email today is to let you know that I have quit visiting casinos. I haven’t been to one in 3 months and have no plans to do so in the future. I hope you will pass thisalong to others in your industry. Perhaps it will benefit someone.”
gaming industry who you feel truly care about their casino customers. So far they haven’t seemed to listen to me.
I have been going to casinos since one first popped up an hour from my small town here in the Midwest some 15 years ago. I had been to Las Vegas one time before that for a sales convention (I sell farming equipment), but didn’t gamble at all on that trip.
“I have nothing at all against casinos, in fact, I find them to be fun places and worth spending my money there. I have seen good entertainers who I probably never would have seen, and eaten some great meals in my favorite buffet and steakhouse. Believe it or not, I even met my wife at the casino, in a small lounge that was featuring a jazz music night.
I have come to enjoy playing blackjack and video poker, and even playing craps once in a blue moon. I’ll even admit to playing some of those goofy new slot games occasionally.
It may sound a little strange, but I have kept track of all my wins and losses at casinos for the last 15 years. I’ve averaged one to two casino visits a week, mostly at my favorite nearby casino, but with some visits to new casinos that have popped up in recent years, even though they are further away. I have also been to Vegas six times now in that timeframe, and yes, now I gamble every time I go there.
In my unluckiest week, I lost $6,216. In my luckiest week, I won a total of $3,233. My average loss per casino visit has been $409 and since I have been visiting casinos, I have lost a total of $478,530. Don’t get me wrong, I make a very good living, have well been able to afford my losses, and have taken advantage of numerous casino freebies in that time. I am not a bitter loser.
The reason for my (I know, very lengthy) e-mail today is to let you know that I have quit visiting casinos. I haven’t been to one in three months and have no plans to do so in the future. I hope you will pass this along to others in your industry. Perhaps it will benefit someone.
I am quitting casinos because the fun has mostly disappeared. Where I used to see people, now all I see are machines—bill validators, scanned valet parking tickets, free play coupons requiring no human interaction. I can even order drinks right at the slot machine with the push of a button.
I am quitting casinos because no one is giving me more value when I play, only less. Blackjack has continuous automatic shufflers, 15-minimum bets at most times and much more restrictive rules—six to five on blackjack? Really? The video poker paytables have been tightened and many have been removed from the casino floor, in favor of penny slots that I know pay less while allowing me to play more coins. Yes, $4.50 bets on a ‘penny’ machine.
I am quitting casinos because they have cut back on their hours, cut back on their numbers of employees, cut back on my free play offers, even when my play one month, or one year, is as good as the previous month or the previous year. The soap bars in my casino hotel rooms are smaller and I now get one small bottle of ‘Conditioning Shampoo.’ There is no longer free coffee in the rooms and no room service after 11:00 p.m. during the week. The complimentary bottles of water I get when playing video poker are smaller.
I am quitting casinos, Mr. Conrad, because I have spent over $400,000 on an activity that I have previously enjoyed, but have gotten tired of being treated like I am worth 400 bucks.
I hope you will pass this along. Maybe these casinos will wake up before it is too late. And I know I must not be the only one who feels this way.
I don’t think any more really needs to be said.