Several years ago, I wrote a column on my experience with gathering win/loss statements—those year-end records that casino players request from casinos to help them with their taxes and establishing a record of their gambling wins and losses for the prior year.
It was not a pretty picture in 2008, and except for Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars), I was extremely frustrated gathering records of my tracked wins and losses at numerous casinos throughout the United States.
But I am here today, after going through the same process of asking for my win/loss statements from numerous casinos for the year 2014, to bring you some good news. Casinos have greatly improved the delivery and accessibility of win/loss statements for their casino players!
Again, I realize you may be thinking that win/loss statement execution is an accounting issue or an operations issue, and its inclusion in a column about casino marketing is rather curious.
But trust me—being “easy to do business with” on behalf of your real casino players, when they have a real need as important as harvesting their gambling records from you, is one of the most important “marketing” outcomes you can strive for.
My experience with the 20 or so casinos (in all parts of the United States) where I attempted to request and receive my win/loss statement for 2014, was not perfect. I had situations where my phone calls were endlessly transferred, where employees had no information, where the process required a formal request and proof of identification (and in one case a notarized statement), where the information was not ready yet, and a variety of other player-frustrating roadblocks to getting a simple piece of information.
But… probably half or more of my win/loss statement experiences, in this admittedly small but instructive personal research sample, were delightfully simple, quick and problem-free. It was great to see that many casinos have convenient online access to win/loss statements on their websites, and with just a few clicks, a player can print out the information on their home printer. And many had the information available in the first week of the new year. Kudos!
I am not sure if this win/loss statement progress is the result of technology advances, capital spend, or just a commitment to this important player issue. Doesn’t matter to me, I can only stand back and applaud, as well as encourage casinos that still have problems issuing timely and hassle-free win/loss statements to their players, to redouble their efforts and take a good look at all the successful win/loss statement examples that now abound in CasinoLand.
With that in mind, and understanding that issuance of player win/loss statements may still be problematic for some casinos, let me at least make these suggestions to address the most frustrating experiences that I encountered with “win/loss statement harvesting” in 2014:
- Don’t leave win/loss statement issuance responsibilities to a third party accounting firm and put it on the guest to deal with them.
- Make sure all of your players club team members are very clear about what a guest has to do to receive a win/loss statement and when the information is (or will be) available.
- Don’t put out any messaging to “just come by the players club to receive your win/loss statement.” I know most of your guests are locals and you would like them to make a trip, but for “out-of-towners” (like me) it is very unrealistic and ignorant of my traveling situation.
- Become your “players’ friend” as it relates to win/loss statements and understand that gathering this information is extremely tedious for your players, but also essential for them to not get socked with a tax bill because they couldn’t document their casino-recorded losses.
Most importantly, players seeking win/loss statements are doing so because they likely have won a taxable jackpot, probably at your casino. Take the opportunity to turn the search for a “win/loss” into a “win/win” for your most avid players. I guarantee a great marketing result.