Reflections on a casino marketing career
This month, Steve Browne and I are being recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Casino Marketing & Technology Conference at the Rio in Las Vegas.
I’ll admit to some deep, mixed feelings about the whole thing.
First, of course, it’s a great honor. Who wouldn’t be proud to join a group of past honorees that includes John Romero, Jack Binion, Phil Satre, Virginia McDowell and other gaming industry heavyweights? And it’s a special treat to be honored along with my best friend and longtime colleague, Steve Browne.
My misgivings come from the fact that I was instrumental in the creation of the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award, and annually had a strong hand in the selection of each year’s honoree. And now I’m being honored—and no, I had no hand in it. Just feels a little weird.
Then there’s the old comedy line from Groucho Marx about “not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”
Anyway, besides indicating that I’m old, the Lifetime Achievement Award is a real honor and I’m going to accept it, along with Steve Browne, on Wednesday, July 15, at the Rio in Las Vegas.
But it has caused me to think about just exactly what I’ve “achieved” with this “lifetime.” And that gives me great pause, sort of like pondering what you want written on your gravestone.
I guess I should really be “achievement judged” by clients, partners, fellow team members and associates. But as this may be one of my only chances to personally share what I feel my biggest achievements have been in gaming (God, this feels like smoke-blowing!), I’ll do that now. Perhaps I’ll do a column later on all of my personal failings, like impatience, being slow to embrace technology, lack of listening skills, etc.
So here’s what I’d like to feel I might have achieved in this crazy industry:
Casino Marketing Conference (now Casino Marketing & Technology Conference)—Charles Anderer of BNP Media might have had the original idea for an annual gathering of international casino marketers, but I’d like to think I shaped its direction, as well as its brand as a pertinent and honest casino marketing discussion.
Raving’s Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference—we’ve done 17 of them now, and those of you who know me, understand that this event gives me the most personal pride, and that Raving’s work in Indian country gives us the most personal satisfaction.
Raving Consulting Company itself –I had no idea what I was doing when I started Raving some 17 years ago. Knowing how many marketing consultants and consulting companies have come and gone in that time span, I’m proud we are still around, even thriving.
A Raving Player Development Model for the Gaming Industry—Raving Partners Steve Browne and Nicole Barker have made it all happen, but I’ll take some credit for stimulating the casino industry discussion on player development and changing the hosting function from backslapping and comp writing to professional, accountable, relationship-based sales.
Casino Journal Columns—I’ve been proud to be writing this column for over 15 years, with a bare minimum of editing from my publisher and editor. And my Annual Best (and Worst) Casino Promotions column (and subsequent franchise) is the most fun I’ve ever had in gaming.
Table Games Conference—when I started it, I wasn’t sure it would sprout. But thanks to BNP Media, it has. And now table game executives have their own meaningful annual gathering in Las Vegas, with a vibrant Best New Table Games Competition as its centerpiece.
Charitable Support—I’ve always been one to focus my charitable work on one deserving charity at a time. I am honored that the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, and now the Notah Begay III Foundation, have all graciously allowed me to be a part of their organizations and their fundraising.
The People I’ve Worked With—I’ve learned much more from them than they have learned from me, but it has been a joy to watch the growth of so many co-workers, team members, bosses, friends in this industry.
And I will accept this Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of all of them, for being the wind beneath my wings. Especially my wife, Becky, who has put up with me for 40 years.
Now there’s someone who really deserves an award.