Some of the most powerful innovations in the gaming industry have occurred because a person or small team of forward-thinkers dared to ask the question, “why not?” And then when no one could give a response or find a reasonable reason to object to the suggestion, these individuals upped the ante by inquiring how they could make the idea a reality. I believe player tracking, bill validators, progressive slot machines, video poker, and a whole host of breakthrough innovations, were conceptualized during these “why not?” moments.

In similar fashion, I believe that there are many, many more “why not?” questions out there just waiting to be asked.

Below you will find my small sample of “why nots” that I have wondered about, or seen others start to question themselves. And if you want to share your comments on my suggestions, do me a favor in this case: Don’t respond to tell me all the “why nots of the why nots,” give me some ideas on how to accomplish them.

  • Why not have a 24-hour casino hotel check-in policy, where guests can check in anytime and check-out time is 24 hours later? The Palms in Las Vegas has started something like this, and if car rental agencies can do it, why can’t hotels?
  • Why not have Starbucks-quality coffee throughout the casino that creates a real buzz (pun intended) among casino gamblers?
  • Why not have players’ clubs where players know every single benefit (comps, cash back, free play, points, etc.) that they have earned, and what they can spend them on? That seems far superior to having some secret, discretionary, “I’ll bestow them on you when I want to” casino benefit buckets.
  • Why not share with gamblers the mathematical odds and probabilities of all available bets in the casino? Wouldn’t that build some trust in a typically low-trust environment? And do you think many players would change their betting habits anyway?
  • Why not create a revenue stream and have back-of-the-house tours of those “mystical” casino areas, like surveillance, count rooms, entertainers’ dressing rooms, buffet food prep, and other uniquely casino areas? • Why not allow all casino employees to have business cards, a customer offer attached to them, and an employee incentive to use them? • Why not give your best casino customers some comping authority at your property? • Why not have your casino hosts go holiday caroling at the homes of your VIP players? Tropicana Laughlin hosts do this. • Why not take that old slot machine that you were going to throw out or sell for pennies on the dollar, and give it to one of your players who paid for it many times over?
  • Why not have your department heads and shift managers wander the casino floor handing out $20 bills to active players, to thank them for visiting (or returning after a long absence), to wish them happy birthday, to reward them for bringing a friend or just to change their luck? I know one California tribal casino that does this all the time.
  • Why not have the GM walk into the steak house on some random Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m., and pick up the check of all the diners who are there at that time? You think early evening steak house covers would go up if you did this periodically?
  • Why not have every table game dealer double as a retail merchant and sell chips, card shufflers, aprons, dealer shirts, dice, and other paraphernalia that could be used in games at home?
  • Why not use your casino as a live learning laboratory for paid internships to teach interested parties (students, tribal interns, cross-training executives, eager frontline employees, etc.) the way a casino is really operated? Now that would be a Gaming 101 class.
  • Why not surprise 10 of your best employees by having 10 of your department heads one day all walk in and give them the day off with pay, while the department heads worked their shifts for them?

Yes, “why not?” may be the most powerful question that you can ask in your business. Or perhaps “why not now?” Think about it.