Managers spend a lot of time motivating their employees. We look to decrease turnover, improve productivity, raise satisfaction, reduce stress and create growth. Interestingly, it does not appear that gaming professionals have given nearly as much thought to what motivates their players.  Why do they choose your casino over your competitors? What is it that your property provides that they don’t get from the other places they’ve tried? Why do they choose to play casino games in the first place?

A recent study from Oregon State University-Cascades published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management suggests that most slot players naturally fall into one of four groups. Those groups are related to the motivation behind the guests’ slot play.

• There are “Utilitarian” players, who are really just looking for something to do. Most likely, these are the folks you see at your property every day. Just as likely to visit with their friends as they are to play, the Utilitarian is already coming in regardless of what is on your calendar of events. These guests are your high-frequency locals with varying levels of gaming worth.

• “Excitement” players are, just as one would expect, looking for excitement. The thrill of the win, even if it’s not a big one, is what they seek. The bonus game on a favorite machine or an hourly drawing is going to be a good draw for this guest. The study suggests they tend to have both money and time on their hands.

• A “Multi-Purpose” player is not part of your core demographic, and they are not at your property just to play. They’re there to have a good time, meaning your entertainment and culinary options are as enticing to them as their favorite themed “lucky” slot machine. These people are younger, less frequent visitors and less affluent than your usual suspects.

• Lastly, there is the “Relaxation” player, who is at your casino searching for stress relief. This player tends to stick to a certain denomination and enjoys the socialization available amongst his contemporaries at your property. They are among your most well-to-do, though they visit with less frequency because they are still in the workforce in some capacity.

How does this information help you? Just as team leaders use their knowledge to efficiently motivate their employees, savvy casino marketers can use their knowledge of slot players’ motivation to efficiently motivate their casino trips.

As a casino operator, we don’t have to worry about the Utilitarians, because they’re likely to visit regularly anyway. The Multi-Purpose player is generally less affluent, so driving a visit from them is not the goal, but it is beneficial. That leaves our efforts focused on catering to the Excitement and Relaxation players. Based on the study, Excitement guests are in it for the thrill.  Relaxation-motivated players want stress relief and social interaction. The ideal promotion, game theme or floor layout would drive them both. Can you think of something you have done or planned that will fulfill the desires of one or both of these player groups?

Are there other things at your property that affect these players and can help determine whether they play slots in your casino or someplace else? The layout of your slots floor should have varied row lengths and carousels to appeal to different kinds of players. Promotions of all types can be run and measured for success to determine which ones drive which players. Team up slot attendants with hosts to identify key guests in each category and determine their favorite machines for reference when reviewing new product choices. Finally, your casino’s host team should know which group their most valuable players belong to in order to provide them the right information when communicating with them.

As a property, I’d want to let my Excitement players know about promotions where there are multiple winners over the course of a day or weekend. They would also like to know when new machines come in, and most especially those which feature a shorter jackpot cycle or have exciting bonus features. I’d alert my Relaxation players first for a weekend slot tournament or when the progressive jackpot has climbed to a big amount. Utilitarian and Multi-purpose players are more likely to either be there every day or visit whenever there is an event or show, so your product is a secondary concern to them.

 Understanding what motivates your players will enable you to appeal to the right players in the right ways to drive more revenue.